In "Creating Home," a Tapestry of Faith program
Children will learn about and help to practice faith home hospitality by making materials that will be used to welcome newcomers. Most congregations acknowledge and thank those who visit for worship services, religious education programs, and other events. You can help by preparing postcards to be sent to people who have visited.
Explain – or have your guest from Activity 3, Ways to Welcome, explain – what the children will make, how the postcards will be used, and why your faith home uses this hospitality practice.
Invite the children to each decorate the blank side of a postcard. Ideas for decorating might include a picture of the Creating Home group doing something together, or a worship scene including happy, smiling faces. Tell the children that they should leave the other side blank, so one of the adults in the congregation can write a personal welcoming message to the person or family who visited your congregation.
This activity gives you an opportunity to explain how a postcard works: a picture on one side, and greetings on the other side alongside the address and a postage stamp.
Children will observe one context in which Unitarian Universalists practice hospitality by learning about one or more Unitarian Universalist camps and conference centers, of which there are dozens in the U.S. At these sites, young people and families can attend conferences and retreats where they may meet Unitarian Universalists from all over the U.S. or abroad and possibly people of other faiths. Some camps offer interfaith programs for young people. Whatever the event, attendees are sure to meet strangers in a safe place and have opportunities to practice both giving and receiving Unitarian Universalist hospitality.
The site where Thomas Potter built his chapel is now the Unitarian Universalist Camp and Conference Center in Murray Grove, New Jersey. Show the website of the Murray Grove center to the group and explain the kinds of activities and events that happen there.
If any individuals in your congregation, especially young people, have visited one of the Unitarian Universalist camps, invite them to come and tell the group about the experience of meeting new people and being welcoming. Invite your visitor(s) to bring photographs from their time at the camp. You can also download photographs from websites, or set up a computer with an internet connection and explore some Unitarian Universalist camps and conference centers’ websites with the children. Use flyers and brochures that your congregation already has or request materials from the camp or conference center in your region, in advance.
As you look at photographs together, invite the children to point out examples of hospitality “in action” that they can observe. After a visitor shares about his/her time at a Unitarian Universalist gathering, call attention to specific instances of hospitality. Remind the children about the hospitality John Murray received, and how important it turned out to be in bringing his life into a new direction. Perhaps a trip to a Unitarian Universalist camp may blow winds of hospitality toward children in the group. Ask:
Who knows which way the winds will blow? If you go to a UU camp or conference center, you might make a new friend.
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Last updated on Friday, May 17, 2013.
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