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Georgia makes jam. She preserves blueberries, elderberries, chokecherries – whatever’s ripe in her part of Maine. For 40 years, these jars of homemade goodness would end up in her neighbors’ homes at Christmas. It was Georgia’s way for the Basko family to spread around neighborly cheer and God’s love.

For a long time, though, she’d wanted to connect with more neighbors in deeper ways that could lead to spiritual conversations. Georgia had been challenged through her completion of the Loving Your Neighbors Stonecroft Bible Study (SBS). I really need to know my neighbors, she thought. As she mixed the jam, something stirred inside Georgia to pray about a way to meet new people.

A young woman across the street just had a baby, giving Georgia the opportunity she sought. Georgia created invitations for a gathering at her home that read, “Come Meet the Women of Our Neighborhood (and the newest member of our neighborhood).” She attached invitations to mailbox posts, a simple way to distribute them without knowing all the names and addresses.

The small gathering allowed for meeting neighbors and plenty of baby holding. When warmer weather arrived, Georgia held an outside event with more in attendance. There was even talk of starting an SBS!

At both events, Georgia learned of the health needs of two neighbors. She and her husband responded with prayer, acts of kindness, and deeper connection with both couples.

And she’s making plans for another get-together!

Any secrets to planning a neighborhood gathering? Keep everything simple. The simpler it is, the more likely you are to carry out your plans, Georgia says. She offers these tips:

  1. Use paper napkins, cups, plates, etc.
  2. Purchase your treats; don’t do a lot of food prep. If guests offer to bring something, say “yes!” (This also gives them a reason to come if they hesitate at the last minute.)
  3. Hold the gathering outside if the weather is warm. Let nature be your decor. Cleaning before and after is easier.
  4. Make simple invitations. Don’t worry about adding names and addresses if you don’t know them. Place in plastic sandwich bags and tack to or hang with a paperclip on mailbox posts. (Don’t put inside the box; you’ll need a stamp.)

To hear Georgia give more details about her story, listen to the “New Ideas Women’s Connection Call.” Find it at stonecroft.org.

A fillable PDF of a door hanger/invitation can be downloaded at stonecroft.org/womens-connection.

Robyne Baker

Robyne Baker

Writer, Editor

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