What's on your plate?

By  Brenda Trigg

 What’s on your plate Sunday evening, January 15, 2012—the night before Martin Luther King, Jr., Day?

Consider devoting it to breaking down the walls that divide your community by breaking bread together on what would have been Dr. King’s 83rd birthday. America’s Sunday Supper will be nationwide conversation, a night of simultaneous dinners and dialogues, shared in churches, homes, community centers, dining rooms, kitchens, and coffee shops from Seattle to Savannah.

In the spirit of the “I Have A Dream” speech, in which Dr. King envisioned “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners sitting down together at the table of brotherhood,”America’s Sunday Supper, 49 years later, welcomes all to participate. The goal of the gatherings is diverse exchange for positive change. Changes are certain to vary from community to community, depending on issues identified, but the suppers are destined to spur new friendships, new community projects, more awareness of needs, greater engagement in civic causes, and a variety of other outcomes.

As sponsors, Rethink Church, HandsOn Network and the Points of Light Institute offer numerous free resources to make it easy for you to host an America’s Sunday Supper in your area. Resources include films that that will provide a focus for after-supper discussions. (Topics relate to education, the environment, the American diet, needs of veterans, housing, and other societal challenges.) A concise toolkit outlines each step involved in planning and pulling off a meaningful evening, covering everything from coordinating the menu to promoting attendance to prompting productive dialogue. There also is a free webinar to boost your organization of a successful event. (November 8, 3-4 pm ET)

Prepare, but don’t panic. America’s Sunday Supper is not about making a presentation; it’s about having a conversation that includes diverse viewpoints and voices on social issues.  It’s not about the size of the group or numbers of people who attend; it’s about the collective focus on key priorities for progress that is needed most. It’s not about “me;” it’s about “we.” It’s about we the people who, by being “other-centered,” as Dr. King said in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, are able to build up what those who are “self-centered” have torn down.

America’s Sunday Supper is not even about the food. Keep it simple by making your event a potluck, providing sandwich fixings, or serving up a huge pot of soup. Breaking bread might just mean passing around the popcorn that sponsors will provide with your movie.

Reserve your webinar seat now at:http://pointsoflight.adobeconnect.com/hostingsundaysupper.

Learn more by visiting www.sundaysupperumc.org and then commit to “doing dinner” the evening of January 15, 2012. 

What do we, as members of America’s communities, dream about? Seeing more families break the shackles of poverty through literacy, higher education, and employment?Reducing violence? Becoming healthier through better diet and exercise? Feeding more of the hungry? Sheltering more of the homeless? Being better parents to our children and children to our parents?Eliminating hate by demonstrating love?


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