Offering Activities

Offering Activities

The following resources have been created for your use. Feel free to print, adapt, and use them in your setting as needed to promote the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. If you have the opportunity to video the activities you decide to do, send them to oghs@ucc.org and we will share them with our wider audience. Enjoy!

Dramatic Reading
Skit
Children's Activities
Youth Activities
Inter-Generational Activities
Offering Reminder
Sharing Calendar Instructions

 

      

ARTISTIC INTERPRETATION: Dramatic Reading, Matthew 25:35-40

ALL: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

LEADER: Can we hear with the ears of Justice? Hear the clattering sounds beneath the pots and pans in kitchens where more than hot meals are stewing. Can we remember those who are themselves hungry and starving for a world where there are good opportunities for all. Where those with overstuffed bellies share from their abundance with those who need it, without judgement, pity, or indifference.

All: I needed clothes and you clothed me…

Leader: Can we be moved by Justice? To clothe the factory worker with fair wages as she mends garments for major brands that profit from her toil?

All: I was sick, and you looked after me; I was in prison, and you came to visit me.

Leader: Can we escape the prevalence of injustice? When will we truly see men, women and even children who are deprived of liberty, freedom and independence because of the color of their skins, their zip codes, and a lack of access to good education and employment.

All: “Then the righteous will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’”

Leader: Where is Love in Justice? It is in the courage of those who use their freedom to fight for the liberation of the oppressed. In the truth-telling of those who use their pens to author policy and legislation, holding accountable those who commit crimes against humanity.

All: “The [Lord] will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Leader: We are the sum of Justice. We are here to be the light of God in the world. We are here to use our voices to expose systems of oppression and suffering. We are here to use our collective strength to be bands of love and witnesses for peace, kindness and good. We are here to use wisdom, knowledge, resources and privilege to advocate for all—no matter gender, race, orientation or affluence.

All: “The [Lord] will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Let us gather ourselves so the sums of our bodies, minds and spirits will speak! So the power of our voices will be a wellspring for love; so the hungry are fed; the naked are clothed; the imprisoned remembered; and the homeless welcomed. So the pounding of our feet will dismantle oppression; and create a spirited rumbling for justice in the land.

Leader: Let us find justice within ourselves. For this is the prophetic Word and Wisdom of God.

All: God is here and comforts the poor, oppressed and brokenhearted. We are here in the midst of the crisis, disaster and suffering. We are here— present, prayerful and purposeful amidst God’s people. We are here because we are the ones we have been waiting for. Amen

               
 

ARTISTIC INTERPRETATION: “You Are Here” Skit

The skit involves two actors; and a large colorful paper map with stickers, paper map pins, or other bodacious markers to indicate places visited around the world. The actors are called Max and Jesse as these names are commonly used as multi-gendered names (Max/Maxine/Jessie/Jesse).

Max:  (Max is standing proudly holding the large colorful paper map. There could be a table next to the person, with large markers, oversized map pins, and miscellaneous items to suggest global travel). As Jesse approaches, Max is just beginning to gleefully place his or her map on the table to place more pins on it.

Jesse: You look pretty happy, Max. What’s up?

Max: I just had the best summer, traveling the world. I am pinning my map so I can recall all of the places I experienced and the amazing people I encountered along the way.

Jesse: You, traveled the world (In a shocking and not so convinced tone)? I saw you in the mall all summer. And when you weren’t there; I saw you at the Starbucks surfing the internet. Did I miss something here? I didn’t even know you had a passport.

Max: Well, I traveled all the way to Ghana and my family and I helped with water irrigation projects so folks can have clean water nearby without having to travel miles to fetch it. There was a young girl there who couldn’t go to school because she had to spend her time hauling water. But now, she can go to school because of our help. That makes me feel wonderful (with great exaggeration and emphasis)!

Jesse: Let me get this straight. You spent your summer helping families in Ghana get accessible water?

Max: Yep.

Jesse: You, the same Max that texts me while I am sitting right next to you? You, the same Max that pays your little brother to finish your chores for you? You did all of that?

Max: Yep. That’s right. I am a changed person.

Jesse: In one summer?

Max: Nope. In one hour?

Jesse: Huh? Ok. Now I am really worried about you, Max. In one hour?

Max: Yes, “One Great Hour of Sharing”. I went to church with my family and we learned all about ways we can help make a difference in the world through our offerings. A gift to One Great Hour of Sharing “enables the church to share God’s love with our neighbors-in-need around the world by providing relief to those affected by natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and helping to empower the poor and oppressed.”

Jesse: That’s pretty awesome, Max. I am proud of you. In fact, it sounds a lot like the scripture my parents quote all of the time. In Matthew Jesus is quoted saying...“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…”

Max: Exactly, Jesse. I may not have physically been in all of these places. But through our giving, my family and I were able to touch lives all over the world. When you saw me in Starbucks, I was reading the OGHS stories about these impacted communities on-line and my parents make our family’s offering through on-line giving, too.

Jesse: That makes a lot of sense. I get the full picture now! Matthew also said that Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” So I guess you can say, you not only traveled the world this summer, Max, but you hung out with Jesus, too? Because you are here, God is here, too.

Max: Yeah. I guess you can say that. Because “WE” are here, God is here!

Jesse: I am going to tell my family about One Great Hour of Sharing so we can travel the world, too!

Max: Hey, Jesse, why don’t you help me place these pins on my map and I can tell you more stories about the places I encountered this summer!

Jesse: Sounds like a plan! (With excitement, Jesse helps Max place more pins on the map) Maybe afterwards, we can go to Starbucks!

             
 

CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY 1: Thirsty
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46; focus text: Matthew 25:35

(Pre-K, Lower Elementary)

Objectives: Children will imagine what it is like to be thirsty and use problem solving skills to imagine ways to ensure everyone has enough to drink. Children will learn about real-world situations where people do not have access to clean water.

Supplies: Cups and 2 pitchers of water (1 hidden if possible). Please recyclable cups if recycle bin is available.

Instructions (part 1):
Read the primary scripture (or just the focal text). Focus on the term “thirsty.”
Ask for examples of what might make someone thirsty (e.g. a long walk, climbing a tree or helping to rake a large yard full of leaves). You might act out these example. Help the group imagine being “thirsty” after such hard work.

Ask the children who would like a drink of water by a show of hands. Then invite the children to come forward and receive one of the clear plastic cups, splitting them into two groups as you go.

Once all of the children have their cups, take the pitcher of water and fill only the cups for the children in group #1. Remind them not to drink yet. Leave the cups empty for the children in group #2 telling them there is not enough for the entire group. Invite the children with water to drink their beverage. Ask them to hold onto their cups.

Processing (part 1):
Ask: Group #2, how did it feel not being able to drink?
Group #1, how did it feel drinking when others couldn’t?

Say: Imagine to yourself for a few moments, how could we have helped everyone have something to drink?  Allow the children to respond.

Instructions (part 2):
Now fill the cups in group #2, refilling any empty cups in group #1. Remind them not to drink yet. Invite the children to drink once each child has some.

Processing (part 2):
Ask: I wonder—how did this time feel different from the first time we passed out the drinks?
Group #1, What if we had collected all of the cups, and we asked you to give up some of yours for group #2, then how would you have felt?  Group #2, would you have been happy if they would have offered you some of their water the first time around? 
Can you think of a story in the world about someone who doesn’t have enough to drink? to eat? or to wear?

Conclude with one of the following short stories about access to water:

  • In the city of Flint, MI, chemicals caused a mineral called lead to make the water unsafe to drink. People who lived in Flint tried to tell the local government, but were told the water was OK, even though it wasn’t. Many people, especially children, started to get sick, and so people all across the country decided to help them. OGHS helped provide cleaned water for the people of Flint.
  • After a big storm or disaster—like a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake—people need water. Often, storms damage water systems and pipes so they don’t work. Other times, the water gets filled with mud or trash that makes it unsafe to drink. OGHS partners help provide clean water right after the event, and then they help communities repair their water systems, dig new wells, or filter the unclean water.
  • At an elementary school in Vietnam, there was no running water. The closest water was a long walk away, and the water was not always safe to drink because of chemicals that would get in the river. OGHS partners helped the school install water pumps and filters. Now the children have water to drink, to prepare their lunch, to wash their hands, and to take home with them! It helps them stay healthy so they can learn.

Remind the children that every act of sharing is an act demonstrating God’s love, presence and care for every member of the community. Giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering is one way to share in this important ministry of service to communities in their hour of need.

             
 

CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY II: Soup Pot Parable
(Upper Elementary and Middle School)

Objectives:   The children will begin to imagine ways they can share and invite others to the table and will explore in story how we rely on one another. The children will be introduced to the OGHS offering and its importance.

Supplies:      Printed copies of the story, props or materials to make props for imaginary pots of soup, bowls, serving spoons, eating spoons, tables.

Instructions:
(Variation 1)*

Gather the group to hear the story. Read it aloud once or twice. Discuss as a group what the important parts of the story are and what the message of the story is.

Split the group into “casts.” Invite them to stage their own versions of the story—they might have someone read the story while the others pantomime, or turn it into a script they can act out, or put on a puppet show. If time allows, encourage them to create props; if time is short, provide props for them to choose from. Have each “cast” perform their version for the whole group.

*This variation could be very elaborate and span multiple weeks, if you have a consistent group for Sunday school, Children’s church, or another children’s group.

(Variation 2)

Gather the group and ask for four volunteers. Give child #1 the big pot of imaginary soup (perhaps even have oven mitts and a chef’s apron). Give child #2 the bowls. Give child #3 the four spoons. Child #4 should sit alone at a small table or sit on a community mat big enough for four or more people. The remaining children may volunteer to help read the story aloud. As the story is read aloud, the volunteers will act it out, silently.

 

The Story:        There was once a place called Good Hope. Around supper time, the people of Good Hope would imagine their favorite meal with delicious flavors, and aromas. Alas, no matter how much they imagined, their plates were empty.

One person had a drawer full of spoons but no bowl or soup. Another had a nice bowl, but it was empty. Finally, the third neighbor had a pot and ingredients for soup, but no spoon to stir or serve it.

The neighbor with the soup sat down on his stoop and cried, “I don’t even have a spoon to stir and serve my soup. I will surely starve.”

The neighbor with the spoons sat down across the street and said, “I do not have bowl to eat from nor soup to eat. I will surely starve.”

Lastly, the neighbor with the bowl sat down and wept, “I have been staring at my empty bowl all day and my stomach is growling. I will surely starve.”

As the three neighbors sat with their items, with their stomachs growling, a fourth friend arrived. This friend was known all around as someone who was wise and kind. Without a word, she started collecting sticks to build a fire. When the fire was hot, she exclaimed, “Dear neighbors, you will not starve! Come sit with me by this fire, and you will see that we will all have enough to eat.”

The three neighbors came and placed their items one by one before them. The neighbor with the soup pot set it down on the fire, and soon it was bubbling and steaming and smelling so good. The neighbor with the spoons began to stir the bubbling soup. When the soup was ready, the neighbor with the bowls set them down and they filled each one.

Then the neighbor gave one spoon to the neighbor with the pot of soup, one to the neighbor with the bowls, and kept one spoon for her/him self. The three neighbors were so excited! This soup smelled better than any meal they had ever imagined. Just as they prepared to bless their food and eat, the neighbor with the spoons said to the fourth neighbor, “Dear neighbor, come sit with us and eat.”

But the fourth neighbor said, “I do not have a pot of soup; I do not have any bowls; and I do not have any spoons. I do not have anything to contribute to this wonderful meal.” The friends disagreed and one said, “Oh, but you brought the greatest ingredient of all. You taught us the importance of sharing with our neighbors.”

Another friend said, “You brought us together around this fire. We have one more spoon, so you must join us to make the meal complete.”

The fourth neighbor joined the others and together, one and all, they shared a meal.

Processing:
Ask: What were the important ingredients to make the meal complete?Were there important “ingredients” other than food and dishes? (If you did variation 1): How was it different hearing the story and performing the story? Can anyone give an example of how the story is true today? (Perhaps in their school cafeteria, in a soup kitchen, or at a shelter for refugees) Where is God in the story?

(If you did variation 1): Reflect on the unique ways the “casts” told the story. If they made interesting artistic choices, talk about them! Remind the group that sometimes people experience homelessness, hunger, inadequate clothing or shelter—sometimes because of disasters like floods or tornadoes, sometimes because their jobs do not pay enough or their crops are not growing, and sometimes because they have to leave their homes because of war or violence.

The One Great Hour of Sharing offering helps us make space at the table for our neighbors. Our OGHS offerings allows us how to share the resources we are able to give. Even if our offering appears small, it may make a big difference when combined with the gifts of others. We demonstrate God’s love by being hospitable and compassionate in the midst of suffering. When we give to OGHS, we welcome others to the table and we are also welcoming God to the table to share in our meal with us. Conclude with the focus text or primary scripture.

              
 

YOUTH ACTIVITY 1:

Objectives: Youth will explore, discuss and identify ways to respond to world disasters and crisis. Youth will identify places where they see the presence of God in the world and will envision how they can embody God’s love. Youth will articulate their hopes for the world through vision maps.

Supplies: News articles, push pins, display board, scissors, adhesive, recycling bin and markers. Alternatively, the youth may choose to use digital media technology, if available.

Instructions: Youth are encouraged to find two sets of articles/images from published sources (print or online). One set of articles should identify places in our society where there are “needs,” “hurting and suffering,” and/or evidence of the social challenges mentioned in Matthew 25:31-46. The second set of articles should identify ways “God is here,” “We are here with others,” and “God is present in those with whom we connect.”

Youth will then create a “You Are Here Vision Map” using the articles/images collected. These maps show how the youth would like to see the world transform. Push pins or Post-it Notes Strips may be used to label “locations” on the map. The youth may creatively design the map to illustrate their location as a youth group; the location of the church or society at-large. Encourage creative expression designing the map. Recycle.

If using digital resources, consider creating the vision maps on Google Maps or by using the hashtag #YouAreHere on Instagram, Twitter, or other social media. Ask the youth to tag @OGHS and their congregation and friends.

Find ways the youth can share their vision maps—print or digital—with the congregation.

Processing: How do the articles selected speak to the main scripture and One Great Hour of Sharing mission? What can be done as a faith community to affirm and/or re-position our ministries to respond to suffering, hurting and hardships in our society and world? Can the OGHS offering be an action step for the faith community? How can youth be visionaries and share in creating road-maps for justice, peace, and God’s love? Where can the OGHS offering be placed on the vision board?

 

YOUTH ACTIVITY 2: Scenes of Transformation
(High School, or Inter-generational)


Objectives: Groups will work cooperatively across generations, explore situations of conflict or injustice, and envision possibilities for transformation.

Supplies: Printed copies of the provided list of situations.

Instructions: Divide the group into teams of 4-6 people, ensuring that multiple generations are present in every team (dividing by birth month often works well).

Give time for introductions in the teams, with the prompt: when was a time you felt someone was really “there for you?”

Invite the teams to:

  1. Select a situation of conflict or injustice from the list
  2. Discuss the situation: Where is the conflict or injustice? What real situations in your life does this prompt make you think of?
  3. Discuss how the situation could be transformed into a situation of hope.
  4. Create a “human statue” (a still scene or tableau) that expresses the conflict.
  5. Transform the “human statue” to express the transformation to hope.

Have teams share with the whole group by naming the situation they chose then “staging” their human statue—first the conflict, then the transformation.

(Example: A group selects the situation—“a family loses their home in a natural disaster.” In the first tableau, several group members huddle together, crying, around some overturned chairs. In the transformation, two other group members come in to make a “tent” with their arms as a shelter over the family, and the family stops crying.)

Situation List:

  • One of the statements in Matthew 25:35-36 (hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger, sick, in prison).
  • A family loses their home in a natural disaster.
  • A drought is causing food shortages.
  • A war has displaced people from their homes.
  • Missionary efforts have ignored the needs and contexts of the people.
  • A child is unable to attend school because she must collect water for her family.
  • A community does not encourage leadership of women.
  • Chemicals have contaminated a city’s water source.
  • A child is sick with a water-bourne illness because of lack of access to sanitation.
  • A child is being held in a detention center while awaiting an asylum hearing.
 

INTER-GENERATIONAL ACTIVITY: Notes of Presence
(Can be done with children, youth, adults, or mixed age groups)


ObjePeace_Cranes.jpgctive:  In creating origami art for communities in need; the inter-generational group may nurture bonds and creatively discover ongoing ways to partner in One Great Hour of Sharing(OGHS) and affirm solidarity with impacted neighbors. The created items become a tangible symbol of your solidarity—a way of telling others you are here for them.

Supplies:  Colorful construction paper; recycle bin; décor (glitter, stickers, markers, etc.) of choice.

Instructions: Gather groups around tables, ensuring that each table has a variety of generations represented—you might do this by arranging people by birth month.

Invite groups to decorate paper with prayers and messages of peace and encouragement, then to fold the paper into origami cranes and hearts. In addition to (or instead of) origami, the group may choose to make prayer cards, write poetry and/or create other affirmations through art as expressions of solidarity.

While you work, talk about, or have someone read the theme scripture and have conversation about it at your tables. Also discuss the work of OGHS (use the OGHS Mission Report, visit the stories page, and other OGHS Resources). Consider how the offering helps you be present to people who are suffering.

Your creations can be given away in order to build and/or continue relationships of support, symbolizing unity, sharing, and community. Identify an appropriate organization or individual to receive your creations, and talk with them before doing this activity.

  • Contact an appropriate local organization, starting with those your congregation supports—like a nursing home, prison, or children’s hospital
  • Encourage your church members to give their creations to a neighbor or friend, sharing the good news of One Great Hour of Sharing
  • Incorporate a blessing and dedication into your OGHS worship

Background: Peace Cranes are highly popular and have been used by communities across the world to respond to natural disasters; crisis and suffering. In the United States, the Peace Cranes have circulated between cities impacted by gun violence. For example, Cranes from Newtown, CT created following the mass shooting in Sandy Hook were sent to Orlando, FL following the mass shooting in an LGBTQI Nightclub.

 

               

Contact Info

Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org

Contact Info

Mary Schaller Blaufuss
Team Leader, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-736-3214
blaufusm@ucc.org