The idea of a vegetarian dinner for new believers came to me as a means of getting people together for a group picture, and becoming better acquainted with new members, as well as demonstrating a meatless dinner. The local pastor and his wife, together with the Dorcas leader, took up the plan and made it far more of a success than we had even hoped for. With their counsel, we made out the menu, which consisted of gluten steaks, scalloped potatoes, kernel corn, vegetable salad, olives, pie, and milk to drink.
Only those who had had experience were asked to prepare the gluten. We asked every member to bring something. We told each one exactly what to bring, such as a can of kernel corn or a can of olives. All food was to be at the hall by 6 P. M., and the meal was to be served at 6:45.
The gathering was held in the largest available hall in town. The building had a dining room that would seat 150 people. This room was in addition to the main hall. When six-thirty arrived, it was easy to see that the attendance would be large, and that the food committee would have a real task. But we had an abundance of food for the five hundred people present.
The new believers were guests, and were seated at the first sitting. While the meal was in progress, the local pastor gave a short talk on healthful diet, and told of our health foods and the stores where they could be purchased.
Many were the comments on the attractive, tasty-looking plates of food. The former members of the church, as well as the new believers, were all delighted with the service and the food. The kitchen work was organized by the Dorcas leader of the church, and perfect organization helped to make the dinner a success. Every woman in the kitchen knew just what to do. No charges were made; however, $io was handed in by pleased guests. This covered all the expense, with a little left over.
While those who were first seated were being served in the dining room, more than three hundred were listening to one of our doctors, Dr. A. E. Merkel, speak on health in the main hall. In connection with his talk, he used a sound motion picture on a health subject. One of the most thrilling moments of the evening came when more than sixty new believers got together for a flash picture. It was worth the whole effort we made to see all these new members in a group, waiting for the picture.
All had a good time, and I do not remember hearing a single person, old or young, say it was too much work for what was accomplished. One woman among the new believers, who had had much experience in cooking and catering, stood up in church the following Sabbath, and said, "I have never in all my experience seen a more tasty, yet thrifty, meal served than was served at our gathering last week."