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Benedict tells us to offer an open heart, a stance of availability, and to look for God lurking in every single person who comes through the door. —Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. — Christian scripture, Matthew 25:35

This session is based on the notion that justice and goodness require an attitude of radical hospitality towards all others, regardless of race, class, or creed. In their book, Radical Hospitality (Paraclete Press, 2002), Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt amplify this notion, which is also a natural extension of our first Unitarian Universalist principle, which affirms the worth and dignity of all people.

Participants will hear a Middle Eastern folk tale about Mullah Nasruddin, who arrives at a dinner party in farming clothes only to be ignored. After changing into fancy clothes, he is greeted warmly and welcomed wholeheartedly. Nasruddin proceeds to feed his coat, proclaiming it is the garments that have been welcomed, not the person wearing them. "Welcome" is added to the Moral Compass poster.

Goals

This session will:

  • Present welcome without prejudgment as a corollary to the first Unitarian Universalist principle: the inherent worth and dignity of every person
  • Focus participants' attention on the congregation as a place where everyone is welcome
  • Highlight situations of exclusion and help participants develop empathy for those who are excluded
  • Make a connection between justice and the inclusion of all people
  • Foster welcoming of all people regardless of apparent differences
  • Help participants recognize the injustice inherent in prejudgment
  • Build a safe and welcoming Moral Tales community.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Hear a story about a man who is welcome at a feast only when he is wearing fancy clothing
  • Name and act out welcoming and unwelcoming behaviors through participation in a game
  • Build awareness of differences and similarities among people
  • Practice welcoming behaviors through extending welcome to classmates
  • Learn how to be welcoming of others
  • Be introduced to a few facts about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan
  • Learn to sing the hymn, "We're Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table."

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.