Study Groups and Suggestions for a Group Trip

The materials on this website can be used for groups about to embark on a trip or for individual sessions with adults or youth.

For a group of people going on a trip

Session 1.
A. Getting to know each other.  Let people talk about:

  • Why they are going.
  • What is worrying them the most.
  • Expectations for the trip.

B. Go over the itinerary and briefly note information about people and places you will see.

  • Look at maps to trace the journey. Note the mixed geography in a small country and the climate you will encounter. 
  • Give out Tips for Trips

C. Today's issues and how they will affect the trip

  • Look at some current newspaper articles and ask how this will affect the group.
  • Learn to read and listen critically - see material in Media Watch. Have people monitor media during the next few weeks.
  • Let each person volunteer as to which TV news and which newspapers they will watch and how they will grade it for balanced reporting.

Session 2
A. Discuss what you have learned from watching the media.

B. Use Words,Words,Words to explore vocabulary in small groups and then in the whole group.  (Be sure you have information to define words before you use this exercise.)

C. (If time) View a video about the situation in Israel/Palestine and discuss.

D. Learn about your denomination's position on Israel/Palestine and goover resolutions passed.

E. Hand out and go over the responsibilities of group members and tell them about what you as leader will be doing (see responsibilities of groupleader).

F. Give out the pieces on Christianity, Islam and Judaism and have members read them before next session.

Session 3
A. Prepare a chart on newsprint to compare the three monotheistic religions

  • Put columns for Judaism, Christianity, Islam across the top. 
  • Write down the left side categories such as Scripture; prayer and worship; daily life; food and fasting; charity; pilgrimage; organizations and leadership.  Have the group help fill in the chart together. You might also give out a piece of paper with the categories so people can take notes.

B. If your group is especially interested in Islam, show a video on Islam.

C. Pass out sheet on Cultural Sensitivity and go over the ideas.

D. Plan for worship opportunities with the group and assign tasks
Give out piece on a Westerner Encounters Eastern Christianity

E. Go over last minute preparations and getting to airport.
Will you be taking extra things in a special suitcase? Clothes for a refugee camp, medical supplies, baby formula etc.  Contact the Middle East & Europe office to find out what is needed.

Individual sessions for youth and adults

1. Compare the three religions
Pass out the three pieces about Judaism, Christianity and Islam in advance.  Work on a chart as above in session 3.  Follow up with research on questions you are uncertain about.

2. Watching the media
Using the material in the Media Watch section, learn how to read and listen critically.  Pass out and go over the piece about what to look for in watching media.  Plan a program of paying attention to the media for a week or two assigning several people to focus on specific news programs or newspapers.  Re-gather and compare notes focusing on when you saw balanced news and when you saw biased news.  Plan to contact media sources and tell them of your findings.  Set up a permanent group to do this regularly.

3. Start a book discussion group
Read one or more of the books listed at Israel/Palestine recommended books.

4. View one of the videos listed and discuss.
Ask such questions as
   What did you learn that was new?
   What questions do you still need answering?

5. Set up a course on Islam
Use the study guide in the 2001 edition of God is One to hold a course on Islam.  This can be done as a workshop or retreat instead of a single session.  Invite an articulate Muslim to speak to the group and answer questions.

6. Learn to understand Arabs and Arab culture
We have been taught to view Arabs and Muslims in a negative way by movies and television.  Use Arab World Notebook: Secondary School by Audrey Shabbas and Ayan al-Qazzaz (eds.) and The Arabs: Activities for the Elementary School Level by Audrey Shabbas et al. There is enough material to do a weekend retreat.

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