Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the Grounds

Chefs & Experts

Dinner on the Grounds


Ah, church suppers.

My church recently held its annual picnic on a Sunday afternoon. Although I had another commitment and didn’t attend, I did drive by the park where it was being held. To my surprise, the party had already broken up, and it was only about three hours after service ended!

Not in my day, no siree. In my day, church picnics, church suppers, dinner on the grounds—whatever you called it—lasted pretty much all day.

Where I grew up, the picnics were mostly on Saturday, and involved lots of dry ice and warnings to us kids to not touch it or we’d burn our hands. There were gunny sack races, and peanut tosses, and lots of pushing each other as high as we could go on the park swings.

When it came to the food, it was quite simply abundant. There were lots of homemade macaroni dishes, sandwiches, casseroles of all kinds, and Jello® salads. We drank lemonade poured out of big plastic coolers, and then went back for seconds on everything. For dessert, we had watermelon slices and hand-cranked ice cream.

By the end of the day, we had fellowshipped to our heart’s content. The pastor had prayed, the kids had played, and the parents had solved all the problems of the world.

Want to recreate those days? The Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, MO, recently celebrated the old-fashioned ‘Southern Gospel Church Supper’ in its Culinary Center, where they featured some great recipes to help us all bring back the good old days. You’ll find them at the links below – and feel free to send us your church supper stories and recipes. Who knows, maybe a few more great dishes will make the picnic last a little longer!


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