Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Signs of Our Faith: A Program about Being UU Every Day for Grades 2-3

Taking It Home: Signs of Welcome

Those of us who have come through the great doors, who have made of this place the soul of Sunday on our spiritual journey, share a commitment... to radical hospitality. This is the heart of our faith: love, service, justice, peace. — Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie, Unitarian Universalist minister

IN TODAY'S SESSION... we talked affirmed that being welcoming to others is a sign of our Unitarian Universalist faith. We identified ways our congregation welcomes visitors, members, new members, friends, and people of all ages and life stages. We shared stories of when we felt welcomed and when we felt shut out or not welcomed. We created a welcoming ritual for our Signs of Our Faith community so everyone will feel welcomed. We sang "Come, Come, Whoever You Are," Hymn 188 in Singing the Living Tradition, a song of inclusion and welcome sung in many UU congregations.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... times one or another family member may have felt shut out of family activities. Affirm that in a family, people do not always do everything together. Sometimes when someone is excluded, there is a good reason, although you might not know what it is. Make sure children know that if other family members participate in an activity they want to try, they can ask to accompany.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try... volunteering as "family greeters" at your congregation. Your role will be to greet everyone, while paying particular attention to a new or visiting family. Make a family feel at home by showing them the nursery and RE rooms and explaining routines involving children and youth.

Family Discovery. Share stories about friendship. Ask each family member: Who is your best friend? How did you meet? How were you welcoming to them, or they to you?

Family Game. Play a version of the Welcome Challenge game we played today. Gather in a circle, leaving one empty seat. Take turns imagining a new person who might like to join your circle. Examples: a neighbor who has never been to your home before, the new spouse or partner of an adult family member, someone from another country who is just learning the English language and American customs. How would you welcome that person? What signs—words or actions—would you use? Take care that your welcome does not make assumptions about what a new person needs, but invites them to say how you can help.

Family Ritual. Does your family have a special treat you like to offer visitors? If Dad is known for his banana bread or your stepmother makes a great fruit salad, children can help that person make the special dish for visitors. You might even create your own special welcome food. The treat need not be food. What about inviting every guest to leave a hand print on a special wall in your home?