“I really enjoyed the Guest at Your Table service. . . . Thank you for bringing this to our congregation.”
—Judith Weatherbie, Magic Valley UU Fellowship, Twin Falls, Idaho
The boxes are back! If you are new to Guest at Your Table, the box (pictured to the right) is a key component of Guest at Your Table. Typically, boxes are
handed out at your programkickoff and kept at participants’ dinner tables (or other gathering space) throughout the program. While the box is there to collect your loose change and bills, it also serves as an important physical reminder of the work UUSC and our partners are doing to defend human rights around the world.
Stories of Hope is the other key component. This booklet is where you’ll find inspiring stories about UUSC’s partners and their amazing work! Keep a copy near your box. Each time you gather near the box (for dinner, as an example) read through one of the stories, discuss it, and consider the profound ways a Guest at Your Table gift will help advance human rights.
We encourage volunteers to look for ways to keep waste to a minimum. Interested in doing Guest at Your Table without ordering a new box? Here are some suggestions:
- Try using this free template for making a box from recycled materials, from PlanetPals.com. You can paste images from Guest at Your Table, or do your own artwork, and then assemble.
- Reuse a large box, decorate with images from the Guest at Your Table poster, and cut a slot on the top. Use this box for participants to put their Guest at Your Table envelopes.
Getting everyone engaged
Each year, we ask Guest at Your Table coordinators to share with us any events or activities that made their program stand out. The creativity and commitment that goes into these activities is impressive. How do you make your Guest at Your Table program special?
We hope that the partial list of past activities will inspire you to try something new during Guest at Your Table. Share your own ideas and pictures by e-mailing ebartlett @ uusc.org. Thank you for your time, support, and creativity!
- The religious education director at First Universalist Church in Denver, Colo., prepared a social justice youth workshop, including a play she wrote based on Stories of Hope, which some of the youth performed for the other children. Then the youth wrote their own plays!
- The religious education classes at First Unitarian Church in Rochester, N.Y., advertised in the congregation’s newsletter to do “Chores for Change”; throughout the month, they did odd jobs and put the proceeds toward their Guest at Your Table collection.
- The UU Church of Palo Alto, Calif., created a hope calendar, similar to an advent calendar. It drew from Stories of Hope and listed activities and ideas for each day from Thanksgiving through Christmas that families could use during Guest at Your Table.
- Members of the UU Society of Grafton and Upton in Grafton, Mass., created and reflected each week on “wondering questions” about the guests featured in Stories of Hope.
- Children at the UU Society of Grafton and Upton created a mural of the guests from Stories of Hope. The mural served as a visual reminder to congregants throughout the program.
- The River Road UU Congregation in Bethesda, Md., has an annual alternative gift market and included items related to the work being done by our featured partners, including smaller-scale items so children could participate. For example, one option was “$5 share of materials for a groundnut sheller,” which helped teach about appropriate technology used by partners in Uganda.
- The fifth- through eighth-grade classes at the UU Church in Barnstable, Mass., made bean soup mix and sold bags of it at coffee hour, while helping to distribute boxes.
- North Shore Unitarian in Deerfield, Ill., recognized the top two contributing families in the worship service with a small open-hands statue and featured their names in the weekly bulletin. (Note: be sure to get permission before recognizing people publicly for the amount of their donation!)
- Children at the UU Church in Springfield, Vt., started a fundraiser with a microloan: using primarily recycled and natural materials, they made door swags and centerpieces to sell at coffee hour.
- In Golden, Colo., Jefferson Unitarian Church volunteers held a youth religious education class during services, with a slide show of UUSC and Guest at Your Table featuring pictures and stories. Students role-played being guests and hosts.
- A couple from First Parish Church in Duxbury, Mass., pledged to match their congregation’s Guest at Your Table contributions up to a maximum of $5,000.
Questions about organizing Guest at Your Table? We are happy to help! Contact Elyse Bartlett at ebartlett @ uusc.org or 617-301-4397.