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Activity 6: The Welcome Table Feast (15 minutes), Session 6: Welcome One and All

In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Special foods, and juice or milk
  • Serving trays
  • Plates, cups, napkins and any necessary utensils
  • Clean dish towels or aluminum foil
  • Optional: Tablecloths
  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • A copy of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition
  • Optional: Music CD or tape, and music player
  • Optional: A guitar, piano. or other instrument

Preparation for Activity

  • Set up tables and chairs, preferably in a horseshoe or square shape so everyone is eating together. If your meeting space does not have room for you to pre-set the tables and chairs and still do storytelling and circle activities as usual, consider setting up the feast in another room.
  • Consider giving the feast a Middle Eastern theme, to extend the mood of the story and reflect its Islamic roots. See Leader Resources for ideas and online resources.
  • Purchase paper dishes, cups, napkins and other necessary items for table settings. Online, find a list of companies that sell disposable dishes that biodegrade by typing in "biodegradable plates" into the Ecology Center's "search" field at the top of the page.
  • Prepare food and place on serving trays. Cover with clean dish towels or aluminum foil and leave with beverages, and dishes in a room outside the meeting space, so children do not see them before this activity.
  • Look up Hymn 407, "We're Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table," in Singing the Living Tradition. Write the words on the newsprint and post where children can see it during the feast.
  • If the hymn is unfamiliar to you and you do not read music, consider asking your music director to teach it to you.
  • If you are uncomfortable teaching or leading the song, invite a musical volunteer to do it for you, or you can ask your music director to record it on a tape, or even record the choir singing it.

Description of Activity

Say:

In our story today, Nasruddin was judged by the other townspeople for his clothing. He was not welcome at the feast when he was wearing dirty clothes. We are going to have a feast where everybody is welcome without prejudgments.

Have the children line up and walk over to the tables, with a co-leader or volunteer at the front of the line. Say, in your own words:

Each person is going to welcome another person to this feast using the welcoming methods we just talked about.

Be the model by welcoming the first person in line to the feast. This person now turns to welcome the next person and then sits down at the table while that person extends a greeting to the next person in line until all have been greeted and are sitting at the table.

Once children are seated, teach the song, "We're Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table," Hymn 407 in Singing the Living Tradition. Sing the song once through together and then enjoy the feast.

You may wish to sing this song again, as the closing song in this session. The lyrics are:

We're gonna sit at the welcome table.

We're gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days, hallelujah!

We're gonna sit at the welcome table,

Gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days.

All kinds of people around that table,

All kinds of people around that table one of these days, hallelujah,

All kinds of people around that table,

Gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days.

No fancy style at the welcome table ...

This activity builds community in the group while extending the message of the story into a real-life setting as the children practice what it means to be welcoming and to feel welcomed.

Including All Participants

Before serving food to children, check with parents about food allergies or other food sensitivities. Find out from your director of religious education if a food policy exists, and follow it carefully. If anyone in the group has a severe allergy, be sure to read all ingredients labels including any notes as to whether an item was prepared in a facility that also processes tree nuts. If volunteers will prepare food in their homes in advance, require them to list all ingredients and provide any product labels that provide food allergy-related information.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, June 20, 2012.

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