A coffee hour brouhaha
has erupted over at the Mere Comments blog. While the original post had a very negative view of them, the majority of responses (37 at the point I looked in) were positive. It seems to me that the possible abuses (cliques forming and some people being left at the sidelines) can be avoided by becoming aware of them, and then striving to eliminate them.
In addition, if it is a problem that some people might be left on the sidelines at such events as after worship receptions, I don't see how banning such receptions will solve the problem. People who are shy and who don't easily break into exisiting social networks are not going to find it easier to do so if there are no opportunities provided to meet with people. Such folks will simply attend to worship and then go away. If fellowship outside of worship is something they need, they won't get it by banning receptions. The cure is the harder task of making receptions truly welcoming to the newcomer and the shy.