To such an occasion, who to invite?
You should ponder, who you might
Offer to receive at your table
Then proffer the invitation, as you’re able
To associates, neighbors and friends,1
These are the people the Guardian recommends.
Perhaps it’s significant he seems to omit
Family and strangers. It might be best to remit
Family members to another’s care2
They are often too close, and painfully aware
Of your failings or afraid to lose
Your love and support over a difference of views.
Every stranger is a potential friend,
But it’s natural to know someone before you intend
To invite them to the intimacy of your own place
To force things too quickly might seem off base
Best to establish a basis for affinity
Let friendship bloom, then gradually
Teach what you can of a Cause so great
It’s beyond our power to estimate.
So, it is for the host to decide,
Who shall attend each fireside,
Which new people to invite
And which believers, if any, would be right,3
Congenial to the group, and a help to confirm4
Budding belief, this, the host must discern.
No one has the right to intrude
To presume to be invited would be rude5
There is no requirement to open your house
In some cases this might upset your spouse,
Or be more than you can sustain,
A standing invitation is hard to maintain.
While a few hold a large open meeting
Week in, week out, it bears repeating
That the Guardian’s letters do not require
A large gathering, a formal talk or a printed flyer,
But rather something almost all can do:
Host a little group6, a friend or two,
To an intimate informal conversation,
A private meeting where personal attention
Can be given to each one’s doubts and fears
In such a home the most effective teaching appears.