Everyone has to eat. Meals are a time of connection, fellowship and often lively conversation. Many families and friends try to plan meals together. Churches, businesses and schools hold special banquets and gatherings around food. As Canadians, we are blessed with enough to eat that we can share our blessings with others.
Through the experience you will learn more about refugees, pray for those who have been displaced, and give from your blessings to help provide shelter, food, water and other crucial support to refugees supported by Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
Simply set an extra plate at the table as a reminder of the needs of refugees. A tent card, smart phone, tablet or page on the empty plate tells the story of a refugee “guest.”
Before the meal, those gathered learn the guest’s story. Following the story, participants say a prayer for blessing and comfort for the refugee and to give thanks for the food. You could also include one of the biblical stories related to refugees and meals (See below).
Biblical tie-in: Key biblical tie-ins include the parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:15-24) and wedding feasts (Matt. 22:1-14), and other verses comparing the kingdom of God to a banquet to which all are invited.
Those gathered for the meal could be encouraged to give $15—the cost of an average restaurant meal—each time they participate in Make Room at the Table.
Good ways to offer your support include the:
You can visit www.clwr.org/donate to make your gift.
You can add another dimension to Make Room at the Table by having a “ration meal.” Preparing and eating a simple meal reminds us that many refugees rely on rations or food vouchers to have enough to eat. You can find two “ration meal” recipes HERE.
Gracious God, open our hearts to
what we are about to receive.
Bless the farmers, the delivery people,
the cooks and all those who have had a
hand in the meal we are about to share.
Keep us mindful of those who seek
a place of safety and new life;
may our arms open wide in welcome
that they may feel at home in our midst.
May we work together towards a day
where all have a place at the table,
and live in peace.
This we pray through the one who
brings peace, Jesus Christ.
The key focus for Make Room at the Table is World Refugee Day, on June 20. Perhaps the month of June could be a general target.
However, you can always make room at any time during the year, or for any event or occasion. Family meals at festive occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries could take on new significance, or Make Room at the Table could be a monthly tradition or annual remembrance for World Refugee Day.
Churches could set one or more extra places at the table at church suppers or picnics, following a World Refugee Day service or at other special occasions (please visit clwr.org/WRD for a worship resource).
Schools and businesses can participate when they hold special meal-oriented events.
Materials needed for Make Room at the Table include:
Click on the image or title to download the refugee story
Seeds of Hope appeal (South Sudanese refugees)
Where is CLWR supporting refugees and internally displaced people? We are currently supporting refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq, Uganda (for South Sudanese refugees) and Jordan (for Syrian refugees).
*statistic is from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)'s Global Appeal 2015 Update