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In "Windows and Mirrors," a Tapestry of Faith program
Gather the group for discussion and ask:
If you do not share the same language as someone, how can you communicate and be absolutely sure that person understands you?
Allow some discussion. Affirm or make these points:
Now offer the example of welcoming others to our congregation, family, or group of friends. How might participants communicate "welcome" to someone who:
Allow some discussion. Affirm ideas for welcoming that express awareness of a newcomer's perspective or potential needs, such as asking a blind visitor whether they read braille and would like a braille hymnbook; offering to help an elderly person find a seat for worship, or asking a new child their name, where they are from and what school they go to. Say:
When people come to our congregation, we need to let them know they are welcome here, and we need to be sure they understand. The word "welcome" is not enough, but it would be a good start. It might be especially meaningful to make someone feel welcome who is more comfortable with a language other than spoken English.
Let's explore how to say "welcome" in a few different languages.
Distribute handouts you have prepared or direct participants' attention to the "welcomes" you have displayed. Encourage the children to experiment with these and help with pronunciation as needed. Also, invite participants to share translations of "welcome" that they may know.
Conclude by asking the children if they know of people in the congregation who use a language other than spoken/written English. Plan when children can share multilingual "welcomes" with some people who may especially like to hear them.
If the group includes participants who know another language, including American Sign Language or braille, contact them before the session and ask if they are willing to teach the group the word "welcome" in their language.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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