QREC Conversation Circle Summary
QUAKER Religious Education Resources for the holiday season
November 13 and 15, 2018
Facilitator: Sita Diehl
Heartland MM, KS, Wichita Friends School
Melinda Wenner Bradley
West Chester PA MM, PYM
Chester PA MM, PYM
Sandy Spring MD MM, BYM
Madison WI MM, NYM
Clearwater FL MM, SEYM
Schoodic ME MM, NEYM
Birmingham MM, PYM
Birmingham MM, PYM
Madison MM, NYM
Donholm MM, Nairobi YM, Kenya
Providence MM, NEYM
Wilton MM, NYYM
Madison MM, NYM
Middletown MM, PYM
Mexico, Released Friend
Oxford MM, Ohio Valley YM
Schoodic ME MM, NEYM
Lexington MM, Ohio Valley YM
Roanoke MM, BYM
- How do we approach these celebrations as Friends?
- What can we share with RE colleagues from our experiences?
- What can we share with families in our communities?
Reverse Advent (Melinda Wenner Bradley) Adapted for Friends from an article by Krista Lovell, Virginia Theological Seminary, http://quakers4re.org/find-resources/reverse-advent-friends, this family activity uses the nativity story to help children focus on giving (vs. getting) through the Advent and Christmas season. Food and supplies are gathered in paper bags and given to those in need. The Meeting can sponsor the activity by collecting donations each week and giving to identified organizations or individuals or families may give as they are led.
A note on respectful giving: (Joan Broadfield, Windy Cooler) When giving to individuals, discretely ask them whether they want to talk about the experience of poverty. Enter with curiosity and respect. What would be helpful? The person may have a specific list of foods or items. They may choose to ‚Äògive back‚Äô to the Meeting or family in some way. Refrain from public displays of charity which may be awkward for the recipient.
Presence in the Midst, Preparing for Christmas (Connie Adams) This lesson, http://www.quakers4re.org/presence-midst-preparing-christmas, begins with wondering about the Doyle Penrose painting, The Presence in the Midst, https://www.flickr.com/photos/qmh/3965607508. Then a small round table cloth is laid. Figures representing winter celebrations are placed around the edge. The class wonders about these symbols. Then a figure of the baby Jesus is placed in the middle. Young Friends are invited to wonder about the presence of the baby Jesus in our midst.
Singing the Christmas Story (Harriet Heath) Long-standing tradition at Radnor Monthly Meeting, PYM. Carols are arranged to tell the Christmas story, www.quakers4re.org/node/55. The meeting room is lit with candles and enough electric lights to see the lyrics. Instrumentation (piano, guitar, strings) is optional, but helpful to lead from one carol to the next. The arrangement of carols can be adapted.
Note: The Quaker hymnal has an extensive Christmas carol section.
Christmas Plays (Sally Farneth, Rebecca Leuchak). Three plays by Nancy Pickering (Middletown MM) are posted on the QREC website, http://quakers4re.org/find-resources/plays-christmas-holidays. At Providence Meeting, adults work with young Friends to write and perform an original play.
Every Day is Holy: A Quaker perspective on Christmas (Kim Millirones) Help children honor the Quaker practice of not elevating any day above another but living one‚Äôs faith each day. When children live in a culturally diverse environment it is easier to say, ‚ÄúIn my tradition we don‚Äôt celebrate Christmas.‚Äù
Christmas at Nairobi Friends Meeting (Judith Nandikove) Carol singing the week before Christmas. The Sunday school performs a Nativity play. The children read the Nativity story in Bible verses, with a pause for silent worship between each verse. There is a feast with enough food for everyone to take some home. For people who do not have enough food, this is a blessing. During the holiday season, youth visit a home for people with spinal cord injuries and give presents to safe homes.
Family Christmas in Mexico (Nikki Holland). The big celebration is on Christmas eve with a feast. Leading up to Christmas, the family reads verses from the Bible and sings carols.
26 Days of Kindness (Ann Nunes) In tribute to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, people in Connecticut (and elsewhere) do an act of kindness each day from November 19 ‚Äì December 14, the anniversary of the tragedy.
Thanksgiving resources from the QREC Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Quakers4RE
Decolonizing Thanksgiving. (Joan Broadfield) When celebrating Thanksgiving, it is important to acknowledge the culture of first peoples and to stay away from the whitewashed ‚ÄòPilgrims and Indians‚Äô story. From Books for Littles, this blog post contains a brief list of children‚Äôs books countering the myth of the ‚ÄòFirst Thanksgiving.‚Äô http://www.booksforlittles.com/thanksgiving/?fbclid=IwAR35go8OkJuxTJO440UQpZDfk6lV4YBzvpsxtuDt4xJXglQBsmp-Mg1PWx0
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message, by Jake Swamp, is a special children’s version of the Thanksgiving Address, a message of gratitude that originated with the Native people of upstate New York and Canada, still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations.
Decolonizing Thanksgiving. From Books for Littles, this blog post contains a brief list of children‚Äôs books countering the myth of the ‚ÄòFirst Thanksgiving.‚Äô http://www.booksforlittles.com/thanksgiving/?fbclid=IwAR35go8OkJuxTJO440UQpZDfk6lV4YBzvpsxtuDt4xJXglQBsmp-Mg1PWx0
Thanksgiving: A Native Perspective, Ed: Doris Seale (Santee/Cree), Beverly Slapin, and Carolyn Silverman (Cherokee/Blackfeet). This sourcebook of essays, speeches, stories and activities will help teachers and students think critically about what has been, and continues to be, taught as the ‚Äúfirst Thanksgiving.” http://oyate.org/index.php/component/hikashop/product/372-thanksgiving-a-native-perspective?Itemid=114