Iva Greening has always had a special way of making guests feel welcome in her home. As a pastor’s wife of 54 years, she has entertained many church members, pastors, evangelists, and politicians. At age 100, she continues to serve meals for friends and family in her home. In 1997, she offered the following advice in Synergy, a GARBC newsletter for pastors and wives.
- Always welcome guests warmly, even friends who arrive at 2:00 a.m.
- When people are coming for a few days’ visit, plan the meals ahead of time. If you are planning the menus during their visit, your guests will feel as if they are a burden.
- Never try a new recipe for company unless it has been proven.
- For unexpected company, always have at least one special meal to put together in a short time. Keep all the ingredients for that meal on hand.
- If dinner guests are late, keep the food warm and greet the guests in a relaxed manner. Help them feel comfortable by casually dismissing their delay.
- Notice your guests’ food preferences. Prepare their favorites when they return.
- Always fix a nice table. Special tablecloths and place mats add to the celebration of every season. Even for family, it’s good to have an attractive table.
- When you awake, get dressed for the day. You never know who is going to stop by.
- Prepare extra food on Saturday so that you can bring guests home with you from church on Sunday.
- Prepare well-balanced meals, not exotic foods.
- Tell overnight guests to feel free to sleep in. If they join you later in the morning, sit down and have coffee with them as they eat their breakfast.
- If your husband is a pastor, encourage him on Mondays by having a special meal for the family with a well-set table. It is a good “pick me up” after a busy Sunday.
- Have fun around the table. Take time for conversation and laughter.
Iva confesses, “One Saturday night after spending much of the day baking, I thought, Is this what the ministry is all about? The next day in church a distinguished author/missionary and his family visited the services unexpectedly. I invited them over for dinner, and we had a wonderful time. I prayed, ‘Lord, forgive me!’”