Frequently Asked Questions
The Great Banquet Weekend
What is the basic format for the weekend?
The weekend consists of a series of talks given by clergy and fellow Christians. The talks focus on faith issues and personal testimony. Guests meet in small groups to discuss the talks and summarize key points. Communion is served daily. The team running the weekend and guests live as a self-contained Christian community, away from commitments, distractions and responsibilities we all face in the outside world.
What makes the weekend special?
Ask someone who has attended a banquet! It is hard to put into words as to how inspiring the experience can be! When Christians have the opportunity to spend 3 days concentrating on their faith and personal relationship with God, many truly wonderful things can happen. From seekers who are new to their faith, to Pastors, everyone seems to be moved by the experience. The best advice we can give is to ask someone who has attended the banquet. The description provided above (in response to the basic format question) might not seem dynamic, but the weekend certainly is dynamic.
Where will I sleep and take showers?
Luxurious accommodations are provided in Vienna Presbyterian Church, located in Vienna, VA. We turn several rooms into sleeping areas, using Aero mattresses for bedding (they are comfortable, really!). The church has showers that we use during the weekend.
What should I bring to the weekend?
Your sponsor will have more information on what to bring. In general, though, pack casual clothing, as layers are often the best choice. You will also need to bring bed clothes, toiletries, towels and any medication you need to take during the weekend. Bringing a Bible is not necessary, but many guests do so to mark passages discussed in the talks.
I don't have much background reading the bible or engaging in church activities. Is this for me?
Definitely. Please don't feel shy or intimidated at all. The weekend is not a formal educational experience, but instead an opportunity to focus on your faith and personal relationship with God.
What if my family needs me during the weekend? Will someone check in on them while I'm away?
A sponsor is assigned to every guest (typically, it is the person who has introduced you to the banquet) who helps transport you to and from the weekend activities and makes sure any needs that your family faces while you are away are met. We hope this will free you from any worries you have concerning your family so you can focus exclusively on your faith and personal relationship with God.
Can I sleep at home?
No. Everyone, the team running the events and guests spend the entire weekend together as a Christian community, isolated from the outside world. This includes sleeping at the church. However, if you require special sleeping arrangement, please let us know. We will likely be able to accommodate your needs.
I am on a special diet, or need to take medication. Can I still attend the weekend?
Most likely, we haven't turned anyone away yet! The Reservation Request form has sections for you to indicate any food allergies, special diet or medication needs. Please provide this information and we'll contact you to make sure we understand your needs and can accommodate them during the weekend.
I have additional questions. Who can I talk to? Can I talk to someone who has recently attended a weekend?
You can also contact the Community Lay Director at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will respond to your question.
The Great Banquet Movement
Is the Northern Virginia Great Banquet Community under the guidance of any particular church or denomination?
No, The Great Banquet is a non-denominational movement which is governed by an ecumenical board. All Great Banquet Communities are hosted by churches that provide facilities for the community. So while Northern Virginia Great Banquet Community events are held at Vienna Presbyterian Church, we are not a Vienna Presbyterian Church, or Presbyterian-only, group.
I'm not a Presbyterian, nor do I attend Vienna Presbyterian Church. Is this for me?
If you are a Christian, no matter what flavor, then The Great Banquet is for you! The Great Banquet is a non-denominational movement. In fact, a particular focus of the movement is to draw Christians from a variety of backgrounds and faith experiences together so we can learn and grow from each other.
What is a reunion group?
A reunion group is a group of 4-6 people who meet on a weekly basis to share faith issues, hold each other accountable and generally discuss how God is moving in each other's life.
What is a Gathering?
A gathering is a monthly praise and worship service. In addition to providing another opportunity for worship,
Gatherings help members to stay in touch with each other and the community in general.