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Faith In Action: Giving Thanks in the Larger Community
Activity time: 45 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Paper for thank you cards
- Pens, pencils, and markers
- Envelopes and postage stamps
- Optional: Return address stickers or address stamp for your congregation
Preparation for Activity
- Consult with your minister and/or religious educator to determine a coffee hour or another time when the children can host a gratitude table. Announce your event and invite the participants and members of the congregation to take part.
- Plan to introduce the gratitude table during the worship service. For example, you might tell the story "The Rebirth of the Sun" or share the acrostic poem the participants created in Activity 3. You could model personal expressions of gratitude, using the guidelines in Activity 4, Gratitude Circle, by thanking specific congregational members during the service.
- Compile a list of congregational members and folks in the larger community to whom your congregation might wish to express appreciation and gratitude, including postal addresses. Make a few copies of the list to provide at gratitude tables. (Possibilities include congregational custodian, minister, board members, committee chairs, administrator, music director, and librarian, or community non-profit organization staff or clients, sales clerks, school principals, fire fighters, and others with whom your congregation has interacted or partnered.)
- Set up one or more gratitude tables with chairs. Place writing paper, pens, pencils, and markers on tables.
- Create a sign that says "Gratitude Table" to post near your table(s).
- Optional: Use the acrostic poem the group created in Activity 3 as a template for a thank you card. Make multiple copies for children to use as thank-you stationery.
- Optional: Pre-stamp the envelopes with your congregation's return address.
Description of Activity
This activity fosters a spirit of gratitude by creating a multigenerational flurry of thanksgiving in your congregation, extending into your wider community.
Set up your gratitude tables with materials described above. Invite people to sit at the tables and create thank-you cards. Place postage stamps on the envelopes and mail them.
Gather participants to briefly process the experience with questions like:
- Why do you suppose it is important to say thank you?
- How do you suppose it will feel to receive one of these cards?
- Was it hard or easy to think of something to say?
- Is there anyone else you would like to say thank you to?
- In addition to writing a thank you card, what other ways could you express your gratitude to someone?