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First Baptist welcomes all to the table for Supper Club
Gainesville church forming groups of all ages

People of all life stages will gather around the table to learn in the Supper Club, which starts in October.

The First Baptist Church of Gainesville has revamped an old program in which people are put into groups to enjoy a meal together every month.
The Supper Club was formerly known as the Salt Shakers about a decade ago, according to the Rev. Rachel Freeny, associate pastor of discipleship and spiritual formation. 
“The initial idea of doing this again centered on a conversation we were having about wanting to create more ways for people within our congregation to connect with one another, especially people of different ages and people who are newer to the congregation that might not know everyone,” Freeny said.
The Supper Club, though created for the congregation is also for the community at large.
“While it is obviously targeted to people who go to our church already, we are not limiting it to that at all,” Freeny said. “All are welcome.”
Supper Clubs are groups of six to eight people of different ages and life stages who gather with one another to get to know each other over dinner.
“My hope is to start seeing more intentional relationships built through this. I hope we can provide that opportunity,” Freeny said. “I am really excited to see what this grows within our church and even our community.”
Group members decide when to meet, what to eat and where they will eat, whether it be at rotating homes, the same host home or a restaurant. 
“We are a rather large church, so it can be difficult to find your people, find your place to get plugged in,” Freeny said. “We thought this would be a great way to provide that opportunity.”
Supper Club
Registration forms can be found at the Welcome Desk at First Baptist Church Gainesville, 751 Green St. NW, or online. Registration ends Sept. 24. For more information, contact Freeny at or visit

Church staff will put groups together based on sign-ups.

“We ask a number of questions to the people when they sign up, including their age range and their Sunday school class so we can intentionally make sure people who are normally together, we don’t put them all in the same group,” Freeny said. “We are trying to be very intentional by mixing ages and life stages, so that people can get to know different people.”
Freeny said that everyone has “something to learn from each other.”
“Those of us who are younger — maybe we are young families, college students or new to the working world, or maybe we are retired, but especially those younger stages — we have so much to learn from people who are older than us,” Freeny said. “Sometimes you come to people that have walked that road before you and might be able to come alongside you and be that encouraging presence in your life.”
Freeny also said the “older generations have a lot to learn from our younger generations.”
“Because you are in different life stages, you may not naturally have a lot of opportunities to get together, talk and learn those kinds of things,” Freeny said. “We think providing these intentional opportunities benefits everyone.”
Groups will meet once a month from October to March.
“This is a great opportunity to start meeting people at this church. I know walking into a big church for the first time, especially on a Sunday morning, that can be really intimidating, especially when you don’t know anyone,” Freeny said. “This is a great way, on a small scale, to get to know people and get connected.”
Registration for Supper Club ends Sept. 24. The form can be found at the Welcome Desk at First Baptist Church Gainesville, 751 Green St. NW, or online.
For more information, contact Freeny at or visit
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