CliF Notes

A curriculum for families and small groups

 

Note: Some of these sessions involve activities which require advance preparation, such as inviting guests for the final session on hospitality. You will want to read through all of the sessions before the beginning of the month to make sure that you have time for (simple) preparations.

 

March 2019

 

Week One – March 3rd     

Charity

 

Supplies Needed: Smooth river rocks, craft paint or ink, small paint brushes, easel, easel paper, marker

 

Note: If you created an opening worship during the Sept. 28th session that you would like to use, by all means substitute that for all or some of what is suggested here and in the weeks to follow.

 

Opening Words

 

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

 

 

Check in

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering

Sing “From You I Receive” by Joseph and Nathan Segal #402 in Singing the Living Tradition

 

“From you I receive,

To you I give,

Together we share,

And from this we live.”

 

See here for tune.

 

Introduction

We’ve been talking for some months now about things religions do – can you think of any of the things we’ve talked about? (e.g. rituals of passage, prayer, religious education) Another of the really important things that all religions do is to try to make the world a better place. We’ll be talking about – and trying – some different kinds of actions that act out our principles about how to live a good life in the world.

 

One of the ways religions encourage people to make the world a better place by living out their values is through charity. Charity is basically sharing some of what you have with those who have less than you. All of the world’s great religions say that an important part of religious life is to share, and to take care of those in need. Jesus described the people who God will honor as being those who fed the hungry, gave clothes to people who had none, welcomed strangers and visited those who were sick or in prison. The Muslim religion requires all families to give 2½ % of their income to help people in need. The Hebrew word which Jewish people use for charity – tzedakah – is also the word for justice. Judaism says that people in need have a legal right to food, clothing and shelter that must be honored by more fortunate people. According to Judaism, it is unjust and even illegal for Jews to not give charity to those in need. Similarly, Hinduism and Buddhism believe that sharing with those in need is an essential religious act, and that no act of ritual or worship means very much if the people do not also care for those around them.

 

Story

This story is from the Jewish tradition:

 ONCE THERE WERE two brothers who inherited their father's land. The brothers divided the land in half and each one farmed his own section. Over time, the older brother married and had six children, while the younger brother never married.

One night, the younger brother lay awake. "It's not fair that each of us has half the land to farm," he thought. "My brother has six children to feed and I have none. He should have more grain than I do."

So that night the younger brother went to his silo, gathered a large bundle of wheat, and climbed the hill that separated the two farms and over to his brother's farm. Leaving the wheat in his brother's silo, the younger brother returned home, feeling pleased with himself.

Earlier that very same night, the older brother was also lying awake. "It's not fair that each of us has half the land to farm," he thought. "In my old age my wife and I will have our grown children to take care of us, not to mention grandchildren, while my brother will probably have none. He should at least sell more grain from the fields now so he can provide for himself with dignity in his old age."

So that night, too, he secretly gathered a large bundle of wheat, climbed the hill, left it in his brother's silo, and returned home, feeling pleased with himself.

The next morning, the younger brother was surprised to see the amount of grain in his barn unchanged. "I must not have taken as much wheat as I thought," he said, bemused. "Tonight I'll be sure to take more."

That very same moment, his older brother was also standing in his barn, musing much the same thoughts.

After night fell, each brother gathered a greater amount of wheat from his barn and in the dark, secretly delivered it to his brother's barn. The next morning, the brothers were again puzzled and perplexed. "How can I be mistaken?" each one scratched his head. "There's the same amount of grain here as there was before I cleared the pile for my brother. This is impossible! Tonight I'll make no mistake - I'll take the pile down to the very floor. That way I'll be sure the grain gets delivered to my brother."

The third night, more determined than ever, each brother gathered a large pile of wheat from his barn, loaded it onto a cart, and slowly pulled his haul through the fields and up the hill to his brother's barn. At the top of the hill, under the shadow of a moon, each brother noticed a figure in the distance.  Who could it be?

When the two brothers recognized the form of the other brother and the load he was pulling behind, they realized what had happened. Without a word, they dropped the ropes to their carts and embraced. Tradition says that this very spot where two brothers each did their best to care for one another in a generous spirit is the place where the great Temple was built.

 

Discussion

How do you think the brothers each felt about sharing? Why would the spot where they met be considered a holy site, when in fact the amount of grain each brother ended up with was the same as if neither one had done anything?

 Do you know what charities your family supports?

 

Activity

Often we choose to show our generosity and caring to those beyond our families. Today we will try an activity to raise money to contribute to a charity. While we’re working on the activity we can discuss where we would like the money we might raise to go.

 Have children brainstorm values – words that express ways that they think are good to be in the world. Some examples might be kindness, honesty, sharing, love, joy, etc. You may also want to add/include words like “beauty” and “truth” that are positive qualities, if not exactly values. Write the brainstorm words up on easel paper. Let the children know that we will be creating beautiful rocks with these words on them to sell as a fundraiser to give to charity. Younger children can simply paint the rocks as they choose, while older children may be able to create an elegant effect by writing words in ink.

 You may wish to talk as participants are working on their rocks about what sort of a charity they might like to support. Some possibilities might include a local food bank, an animal shelter or rescue organization, the UU Service Committee, UNICEF, a local shelter for the homeless, etc. Write possibilities/suggestions down on a new sheet of easel paper. When the list and the rocks are completed, have participants vote what charity they would like to support. 

Your location, timing and drying time will determine whether how selling the rocks might work best for your family/group. A class in a congregation can sell rocks following the service if they are dry, or may need to arrange to sell on the following Sunday. A family could go out door to door in their neighborhood to sell the rocks. An important part of the selling will be explaining to potential purchasers what you are doing and why, giving them a chance to participate in the act of charity. 

Closing

Have each person say aloud the words they painted on their rocks or what words they would like someone holding the rock to think of. Choose one or more painted rocks to place in your treasure box.


 

 

Week Two – March 9th    

Advocacy and Henry Bergh

 Supplies Needed: copies of form at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B13Eg-B1mcBgSjk1dkM2MDhvdUE/view for creating “If I Were in Charge of the World poems, pencils

 

Opening Words

 

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

  

Check in

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering

Sing “This Little Light of Mine”

 

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. (3x)

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 

All around my neighborhood….

Shine a light for freedom….

Shine a light for justice….

Everywhere I go…

 

See here for tune.

 

Introduction

Last week we talked about how religions encourage people to make the world a better place through sharing – giving charity to those in need. But there are other ways to make the world a more fair and kind place. Imagine, what if you were in charge of the world, and could set the rules yourself – what kind of a world would that be? Here’s a poem by Judith Viorst in which a kid imagines being in charge of the rules for the world:

http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/incharge.htm

 (After reading Viorst poem aloud, if you have time, have children use the form to create their own “If I Were in Charge” poems.)

 Of course, none of us gets to be in charge of the world and set all the rules. But each of us can have an effect on what the rules are, and to try to make the rules and how they are enforced more fair and more kind. It’s called “advocacy” when you stand up for what you think is right and try to get the government to have better rules. One Unitarian who had a lot of success being an advocate was Henry Bergh.

 

Story

The Great Meddler

On an unusually warm evening in April, nearly 150 years ago, a well dressed gentleman with a drooping mustache and a long, thin, face, stood at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-third Street in New York City, watching the tangle of traffic. Of course, in those days all the traffic moved by horsepower—the carriages of the wealthy, the omnibuses that carried those who couldn’t afford their own carriages, and all the drays and butchers’ carts that carried all the goods that trucks transport today. Suddenly the watching man stepped off the curb and threaded his way toward a teamster who was giving his tired workhorse a cruel beating.

“My friend,” he said, “you can’t do that any more.”

“Can’t beat my own horse,” the teamster shot back, “—the devil I can’t,” as he hit the horse again.

“You are not aware, probably, that you are breaking the law,” said the gentleman, “but you are. I have the new regulation in my pocket; and the horse is yours only to treat kindly. I could have you arrested. I only want to let you know what a risk you run.”

“You’re mad!” snapped the teamster, amazed.

This is how Henry Bergh began, quietly and politely, but firmly, a twenty-two-year effort to convince the American people that they must treat their fellow creatures fairly and with respect. Earlier that day, the nineteenth of April, 1866, the New York state legislature had passed a bill punishing an act, or omission of an act, that caused pain to animals “unjustifiably.” It was a historic step forward in the movement toward animal protection.

Henry was born into a wealthy family in New York City. His father was a ship builder who worked for a time for the government. Henry started Columbia College in New York, but didn’t bother to finish his degree. Instead he traveled to Europe, where he tried – unsuccessfully—to have a career in writing. In 1836 he married Catherine Taylor. When his father retired, Henry and his brother took over the family business, but when his father died Henry gave up on working altogether and used the money he inherited to live a life of privileged leisure in Europe.

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed him to be a diplomat in Russia. While in Russia, Bergh saw that abuse of animals was an everyday matter. And the more he saw animals treated badly, the more he was bothered by what he saw. Henry didn’t have pets himself—didn’t even particularly like cats and dogs—but his sense of justice was offended by seeing animals mistreated. After all, they gave their effort to helping human beings, and weren’t able to speak out in their own defense when they were treated unfairly. In 1865, on his way back to the United States, Bergh stopped in London to consult with the Earl of Harrowby, president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Animals were routinely abused and neglected in America at the time. Horses were starved, denied regular watering, beaten, and worked no matter how hot or cold it was outside. Mules and horses were typically let out into the streets to starve when they became to old or sick to work. Dogs and cats were often not given regular food or shelter and were sometimes physical abused. Dogfights, cockfights, and bear-baiting were common forms of entertainment.

When he got back to America Bergh decided that he had something better to do with his time and money than just amuse himself. He used his wealth and connections with other wealthy people to raise public awareness of the suffering of animals. Powerful New York businessmen, politicians, and religious leaders joined him in founding of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Among these people was his minister, Henry Whitney Bellows of the First Congregational Church of New York City (now the Unitarian Church of All Souls). In 1866 Bergh gave a lecture explaining why animal abuse hurt people as well as animals. This was the beginning of the ASPCA. Laws granting a charter for the society and punishing cruelty to animals were passed by the State of New York two months later.

President of the ASPCA from 1866 until his death, Bergh walked the streets of New York, stepping in to protect mistreated animals. Wearing a special badge, he arrested and prosecuted people who broke the state anti-cruelty laws. His constant interference on behalf of the animals earned him the nickname 'The Great Meddler.'"

Bergh once noted that "Mercy to animals means mercy to mankind." This idea led him to work for better conditions for humans as well. In New York City in 1875 he co-founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

After long years of witness and action against cruelty, Bergh died in 1888. Bergh was not only a living example of the power of speaking out, his life was also an expression of our seventh UU principle: “respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.”

Discussion

We can’t be absolutely in charge of setting the rules for the world, but Henry Bergh is a good example of someone who changed the rules to make the world a better place. Because of his advocacy, the rules changed to make it illegal to be deliberately cruel to animals or children. If you had just one rule that you would make (or enforce, if it’s already a rule, but keeps getting broken), what would that one rule be?

 

Activity

Option One: Figure out who would be in charge of making your rule happen in the world. Would it be something the president signs into law? Would it be a new rule in your household? Would it be something your school principle enforced? Something worldwide that should be discussed by the United Nations? Write a letter to the appropriate person explaining your rule and why you think this rule should be made law or policy.

 

Option Two: As a group, make up a protest song. First, decide what you want to protest – something that bothers everyone in the group. The easiest way to make up a song is to borrow the tune from somewhere else. You might want to use the tune of “This Little Light of Mine” which you sang earlier. “We Shall Overcome” is another classic protest song whose tune you could fit with new words. 

 

Closing

Sing your protest song – preferably for an audience. Or, if you didn’t write a protest song, sing another round of “This Little Light of Mine.”


 

Week Three – March 17th

Solidarity

 

Supplies Needed: Words for centering song (see below) written on easel paper, tape or easel; props for play—a typewriter if available, note for the duck to carry, costumes for cows and ducks and farmer if desired, script for play at http://www.thebestclass.org/uploads/5/6/2/4/56249715/cowsthattype.pdf

 

 

Opening Words and Chalice Lighting

 

Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning.

Love has to be put into action and that action is service.

Whatever form we are,

able or disabled, rich or poor,

it is not how much we do,

but how much love we put in the doing;

a lifelong sharing with others.

--Mother Theresa

 

Or

 

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

  

Check-in
You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering:

Sing “Step by Step the Longest March,” #157 in Singing the Living Tradition. The words for this song are from the preamble to the Constitution of the United Mine Workers of America. You will probably want to print the words out on easel paper to make the song easier to learn.

 

Step by step the longest march

Can be won, can be won.

Many stones can form an arch,

Singly none, singly none.

And by union, what we will

Can be accomplished still.

Drops of water turn a mill,

Singly none, singly none.

 

For tune see here.

 

Introduction

Last week we talked about “advocacy,” a way that religions (and other people/organizations) make the world better by speaking up and working for better rules. This week we’re going to talk about a way to make the world better that is similar, but not quite the same. This kind of social justice work is called “solidarity.” Solidarity means sticking together. Unions practice solidarity when workers come together so that they can bargain with the people who own the companies they work for. But people can also practice solidarity by understanding the problems that someone else faces, and standing up with the people who are being treated badly. For instance, when workers who picked grapes were being treated very badly by the people who owned the vineyards where they worked, the agricultural workers banded together in solidarity to fight for better working conditions. But they also called for a boycott on grapes, asking people not to buy grapes until the people who picked them were treated better. All the people who boycotted grapes and didn’t buy them during that period of time were working in solidarity with the grape pickers.

 

Story

Here’s a story about some very unlikely animals finding solidarity with each other:

 

The Mice and the Elephant

Once upon a time there was a colony of mice who lived in fear. They never knew when their land would be crossed by a local a herd of elephants, and whenever the elephants walked through the mice’s land with their enormous feet many mice were harmed. Many mice lost their tails or their toes as they tried to scurry away from the giant beasts, and some were flattened altogether.


One day, the Mouse King gathered up all his courage went to the King of the Elephants to beg for the lives of his people. But he was also a proud little being, leader of a great many animals who refused to bow before the great Elephant King. Although the mouse was too small to see the Elephant King’s eyes as he spoke, the little mouse climbed up on a stump, pulled himself up to his greatest height and said, "Please tell your people to be careful of mine. If you spare our lives, I promise we will help you in a time of need."  



The Elephant King lifted up his trunk and laughed, spraying the little mouse off his stump in the process. “You? Are going to help us? That’s the cutest thing I ever heard!”  

“Mice make good and valiant friends, Your Majesty. There may come a day when you will be glad of our help,” said the tiny Mouse King. 

The great elephant was impressed with the mouse’s bravery commitment to his people.  He ordered the elephants to be careful never to step on a single mouse. 

 From that day forth the elephants paid attention and lifted their huge legs carefully, never harming their tiny friends. If they entered the land of the mice, they lifted their trunks and trumpeted a warning; "We are walking. We are walking."  

One day, elephant trappers came to the forest. They were seeking many elephants for the human king’s soldiers to ride into battle. Day by day more and more elephants were caught in great rope traps.  

The Elephant King was very sad—for all of his strength, there was nothing he could do to fight the rope traps. Then, he remembered the promise of the mice and sent for his little friend, the Mouse King. The king of the mice arrived and listened to the elephant’s story.

Then the Mouse King called all the mice together. Thousands and thousands of mice gathered to discuss how they might help the elephants. No one had forgotten how their huge friends had spared their lives. One clever mouse made a plan. All the mice rejoiced.

The mice formed into little groups. Each group gnawed the ropes of a single trap with their tiny sharp teeth. By morning, all the elephants were freed. Frustrated, the trappers left the forest.

 

Discussion

Do you think the elephants only looked out for the mice because they believed the mice could help them at some point in the future? Do you think the mice would have stood up for the elephants if they were still dangerous to the mice?

 

Activity

We’re going to do a play based on a story that you might have heard, “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type”

 

http://www.thebestclass.org/uploads/5/6/2/4/56249715/cowsthattype.pdf

 

(Note: This play has roles for five narrators, Farmer Brown, Cows and Ducks, as well as a role for the audience/whole group. If you have a small group you may wish to reduce down to one narrator, Farmer Brown, and one person who plays the animals.)

 

Discussion

Do you think the cows will support the ducks in their bid for a diving board? Have you ever gotten something you wanted by banding together with other people?

 

Activity

Discuss what things people in the group wish were different – in your congregation, in your neighborhood, in the children’s school, in your city or town. Choose a subject for a petition drive – either one subject for the whole group or one per person. Have each person create a sheet which explains why they are collecting signatures, and which has spaces for people to sign. Either help children figure out to whom they might deliver their petition, or ask the children to bring back the signed petitions next week so that you can help them send the petition to the appropriate party.

 

Closing

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” --  Margaret Mead 


 Week Four—March 24th     

Spring Equinox

 

Supplies Needed: “The Everything Seed” by Carole Martignacco either in print form or the text at http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/loveguide/session1/sessionplan/stories/168158.shtml

Terra cotta pots and saucers, craft paints and paint brushes or permanent markers or various items and hot glue, potting soil, large seeds such as nasturtium or bulbs, newspaper for protecting your painting and potting surface, pitcher of water, MP3 player or CD with “Would You Harbor Me?” and boom box/speakers to play it.

 

Opening Words and Chalice Lighting

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

 

 

Check-in

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering:

Sing “I Know this Rose Will Open” by Mary Grigolia, #396 in Singing the Living Tradition”  You may wish to print the words out on easel paper

 

I know this rose will open.

I know my fear will burn away.

I know my soul will unfurl its wings.

I know this rose will open.

 

See here for the tune.

 

Introduction

This week we celebrate the spring equinox, the point in the year when the light and the dark are equal, which marks the start of spring. The spring equinox is the time of new beginnings, of seeds sprouting, trees budding out, chicks hatching. It is a time to celebrate what is possible, the seeds that hold the potential to become ideas or friendships or talents as well as the seeds the hold the potential to become new life.

 

Story

“The Everything Seed” by Carole Martignacco – available through amazon.com or the text at http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/loveguide/session1/sessionplan/stories/168158.shtml

 

Discussion

What do you think that original seed of the universe was like? Does looking at a seed tell you very much about what that seed might grow into?

 

Activity

Cover your work area in newspaper or other protective paper. Paint terra cotta flower pots and saucers– and/or decorate with found items such as small stones, feathers, acorns, etc and hot glue. Avoid using glitter glue, as it takes too long too dry. Colorful permanent markers are easy to handle and dry instantly. Fill pots with potting soil (very carefully if the paint may not be dry).

 

Ritual

Have each person sit with their pot, filled with potting soil, in front of them. Give each person a seed or flower bulb, or let them choose from a bowl full of seeds/bulbs. Ask everyone to hold their seed and to think about what they hope to have grow in their life in the year to come. What do they want more of? What do they hope will happen that has not happened so far. Invite participants to plant their seed in their decorated pot. Have each person pour a little water onto their seed and say: “I invite _________________ to grow in my life.”

 

Closing

Sing “I Know this Rose Will Open” again.


 

Week Five—March 31st     

Hospitality

 

Supplies Needed: plates, cups, napkins, ingredients for snacks/drinks for your celebration of hospitality. Green Man story at https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/welcome/session10/green-man

 

Opening Words and Chalice Lighting

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

 

 Check-in

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering:

Sing “We’re Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table” #407 in Singing the Living Tradition

 

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….

No fancy style at the welcome table….

We’re gonna sit at the welcome table….

 

See here for the tune.

 

Introduction

There are many more ways to make the world a better place than those that we’ve talked about this month. We’ve talked about charity—sharing what you have with others, advocacy—speaking out on someone’s behalf to change the rules to make them better, and solidarity—working together with others to accomplish a shared goal. There is also social service—doing things to help people, like cooking for the homeless; protest—like marches or rallies; civil disobedience—breaking the law to make the point that a law is wrong and more. But there is another form of caring for the world which is particularly important in a lot of religions. Hospitality—welcoming, feeding and caring for others, especially strangers—is important to religions from Judaism to Sikhism. For instance, part of the Passover Seder, the ritual celebration of the start of the Jews as a free people, involves opening the door of the house and saying “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” The both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles are full of stories about the importance of welcoming the stranger and providing for their needs. The gurdwara, the Sikh house of worship, is not only a place for prayer and singing, but also for cooking and sharing meals. Hospitality is an act of welcoming, an act of caring, an act of acknowledging that we are part of a larger community. 

Story

https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/welcome/session10/green-man

 

Discussion

How does the Green Man practice hospitality? How does practicing hospitality with the animals and people of the forest change him? How do you think he might act differently when goes back to his wealthy home? 

Activity

Prepare a tea party for an honored guest or guests. Ideally this could be a visitor who belongs to another religion who might like to learn about Unitarian Universalism. But your guests could be grandparents, neighbors, members of an older or younger RE class, etc. You will need to arrange for your visitor(s) in advance. Or you could set up a stand in front of your house to give away snacks to strangers. Preparations could range from putting cookies or crackers out on plates to preparing a feast. Probably something in between will work best, depending on the cooking resources in your RE space. You could make quesadillas (folded tortilla with grated cheese heated inside) in an electric frying pan and serve with homemade guacamole (avocado squished together with salsa, lemon juice and a little salt), or make deviled eggs, or Chex party mix, little sandwiches…the possibilities are endless. Just make sure that you time the invitation to your guest(s) so that you have time to prepare for their arrival. 

Closing

Listen to the song “Would you Harbor Me” by Sweet Honey in the Rock (you can purchase the song to download or use YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp7JD5DP5FQ ) Have participants share aloud who they would like to welcome/harbor.