A Church Family Night in honor of the 200th Anniversary of the Haystack Prayer Meeting
Church goers love to gather around food. Here are some suggestions for a supper and program that will both fill and educate!
1) Invite church members and friends to a potluck dinner with an international focus. Print out some recipes ahead of time for those without an international cookbook. Encourage them to make a place card for their dish so people will know what it is and where it is commonly eaten. (A side note: the cook may also want to identify any dishes that are vegetarian or vegan.)
2) Have some willing cooks prepare an international meal and pay for it through freewill donations. Any funds over the cost may be used for special global mission projects.
TABLES: Colorful Global Ministries placemats to dress up the tables are available free by calling 1-800-537-3394 (item #WCMMAT). In addition a variety of colorful tablecloths may be used. Items from around the world may be displayed on the tables.
WORLD MAP: Post a world map and print out mission letters from GM personnel to frame the map. Connect the letters with colorful yarn to the countries where the letter writers serve. If your conference or region has GM mission personnel, a sponsored child, or a partner church relationship with a church in another country then feature pictures/stories from them.
GRACE: Here are two suggestions:
For the Fruits of This Creation (sung to the tune of All Through the Night)
For the fruits of this creation, thanks be to God
For the gifts of every nation, thanks be to God
For the plowing, sowing, reaping,
Silent growth while we are sleeping,
Future needs in earth’s safekeeping, thanks be to God.
In the just reward of labor, God’s will be done.
In the help we give our neighbor, God’s will be done.
In the world-wide task of caring,
For the hungry and despairing,
In the harvests we are sharing, God’s will be done.
For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God.
For the good we all inherit, thanks be to God.
For the wonders that astound us,
For the truths that will confound us,
Most of all that love has found us, thanks be to God.
This second grace was shared by Dr. Robert Porter, former missionary to Sri Lanka for 17 years.
Bless this food upon our dishes,
As you did bless the loaves and fishes,
And like the sugar in our tea,
May our lives, O God, be blessed by thee.
MUSIC: Before starting the program sing a couple hymns or songs. There are lots of resources for international music in our hymnals.
Possibilities abound for your situation. Here are some:
1) A dynamic speaker who can share something about the work of Global Ministries today. Check with your region or conference office for names of individuals.
2) A video/DVD on the work of our partners and mission personnel around the world. If you wanted to focus on Africa you could ask for food dishes from Africa and then show the GM video on Africa, “Connecting Threads: Beneath African Skies.”
3) A PowerPoint program on the Haystack meeting is available (as are the videos and DVDs) through the GM Mission Education office, e-mail email@example.com.
4) If you are a church group that likes to be challenged, then go to the Global Ministries website and click on Special Giving Opportunities. Projects needing special funding are listed here. A project could be the focus of your program.
END OF THE EVENT: Thank everyone for attending, and especially thank the special help of those who planned, cooked, and cleaned up. Offer a blessing for the work of Global Ministries and all of God’s people.