Thursday, November 02, 2006

My version of the UUSC Mailing your Dinner - Introduction to GaYT

This is such a challenge for me -- using absurdity to make a serious point. No, really! I use sarcasm and absurdity and irony, general cranky-ness and all the other "y's" online all the time, but in worship? My sensibilities are such that I want humor that is open and affirming of members, welcoming of children and avoiding even the appearance of rudeness. So I've given it a shot.

The following is my version of a widely described, (but impossible to find a script for,) skit which many congregations use to introduce the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Guest at Your Table boxes. I haven't been able to find a version to adapt from, so I wrote one myself, lifting copiously and without attribution (other than this comment) from UUSC materials provided for such purposes.

It's about 10 minutes long. I'm posting it here so next year when all the DRE's in North America are looking on our e-lists for a script to cut and paste and copy from, there might be one to find.
We haven't done a run through yet, so I may replace this in a couple of days if it doesn't read as well as it reads, you know?

And yes, I get the fun part.


TV Broadcaster – Tom

UUSC Advertiser – Brenda

Stuffer - Cindy

Stopper – Beth


TV Screen, oversized, made out of Foam Core (that can be passed back and forth between the Voice Over people.) Photos of water, and subtitles as desired

Dinner table set with candle sticks, wine/cider, flowers, GaYT box,

Dinner, (Cooked, de-fatted, frozen turkey legs; raw baby carrots; cranberries; baby red potatoes with green magic marker parsley dots; dinner rolls, bottled water)

Large Tyvek envelope

Rugs for under table to catch spill

Cindy and Beth are sitting at Thanksgiving Dinner table.

The TV is on in the background to UUSC-TV. Cindy and Beth join hands for grace.


Do you have the meditation grace for today?

Beth picks up a meditation guide


We join together with hearts overflowing, grateful for the many treasures of our lives. Traditionally, the harvest season is about storing up, saving, and preserving. It is a quiet, graceful dance.

Emotionally and spiritually, many of us turn inward at harvest time, we turn toward reflecting, quieting, pondering.

But this season also includes quite a different type of movement. As we appreciate the fruits of our labors, our hearts fill up and overflow with gratitude, and our spirits are moved to

generosity. Even as we take in the harvest, we give out thanks. The harvest involves motions of sending out, of giving, of praise and celebration.

There is balance, in the dance of the harvest, between taking in and giving out.



Great. Let’s eat.

Cindy and Beth begin to put dinner on their plates.

TV Broadcaster

This Week in Review on UUSC-TV is brought to you by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, helping people of faith help the world since 1940.

UUSC advertiser

“A Thanksgiving meal, with all the trimmings: $100. Presents for family and friends: $250. UUSC holiday cards: $36. Celebrating with those I love: priceless.”


Aww. That’s a sweet ad. I love being able to show my love to my family and friends by supporting them and giving them nice things. Pass the sweet potatoes with marshmallow stuff on top please.


MMMmmm. I love this stuff.

TV Broadcaster

Our lead story today is about the struggle to end the genocide in Darfur. The violence has continued even though our government has spoken out against it.

The food does not get to Cindy and Beth’s mouths.


I know it is so hard to believe that such terrible things happen, but they do. We've got to find a way to stop these horrible crimes.


Yes, I agree. It’s awful how people are unfair and violent. Also Beth, to tell you the truth, it is very upsetting to me to have to hear about this at dinner. Where's the remote? Is there anything else on tv?

Pass the cranberry sauce, ok?

Beth is somewhat stunned.


Cindy, these are terrible things they’re talking about. They don’t stop just because it’s dinner time. In Darfur, the murderers are supported by Sudan's ruler. He gives them weapons for genocide. They burn houses and ruin the food and water supply.

Cindy takes it a little more seriously.


That's terrible. But, really, I feel so helpless to do anything. It’s the other side of the world, you know? Pass the carrots.

Beth is astounded. They eat in silence.

TV Broadcaster

Water, like air, is a necessity of life. It is also, according to Fortune magazine, "One of the world's great business opportunities. It promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th."

In the past ten years, three global corporations have quietly taken control over the water supplies of almost 300 million people. Enormous wealth can only be gained by a few at the cost of the many. Some people are richer because other people become poorer.

In Ghana, water prices rose 95 percent after private companies took over the water company. Overnight, families that earned less than $1 a day (which is 1/2 of the population) had to pay double for a bucket of water.


Get out! People can't afford water!? The earth makes water, and all creatures need water to live. Isn’t water a basic human right?

UUSC advertiser

This Harvest Time, let us pause to consider some difficult questions. Has our nation taken more than it deserves? Have we? Have we overfilled our pantries and overstocked our shelves? Has it been all about taking, and not about giving?

Cindy and Beth put forks down and turn and look toward the tv.

TV Broadcaster

Today’s Special Comment: People in Unitarian Universalist Congregations all around the country are pondering these questions this month and finding that the answers are all too often “yes.” They have decided that it is time to consider how they can do things differently. They are planning how to give back, thinking carefully about how to achieve the balance between taking in and giving out that makes the dance of a true harvest beautiful, joyful; raining down blessings everywhere.

Cindy is a little verklempt.


That’s beautiful. I feel so convicted. I have to do something. But what can I do? Nothing, there’s really nothing I can do.

I I I’ve got so much. Beth, it’s not fair. I’m so blessed.


Awareness dawns.


Oh my goodness. I AM so blessed. I’m one of the rich people aren’t I? Oh. I’ve got to help. Oh ! Oh!

OH! I know what to do!

Cindy jumps up and starts to put food into an envelope.


What are you doing?


I’m sending food to people who don’t have enough. Give me that bottle of water.

Cindy continues to put food into the envelope.


Stop it, that’s not the way to help people.

Cindy continues


But I’ve got to do something. They’re right. I am not a powerless person, I am a powerful person. I have money and education and I have to use my power for good.

Cindy reaches for a clear bowl of cranberry sauce.

Beth stands up and puts her hands out like a traffic cop.


Stop! Put. The Cranberry Sauce. Down .

Cindy puts it down slowly.


You’re right, you are a powerful person, and when you get together with other powerful people you can make the world a better place.

Picks up the GaYT box and wave it around while talking.


You have strong commitments and ideals of service, but there is a better way to approach those ideals than just making up a solution all by yourself.

You know, one of my favorite hymns we sing at the Unitarian Society says that we can join together and build a land where we bind up the broken and set captives free. We can build up devastated cities, and dissolve all crying and mourning. When we extend our hearts out toward the world, we don’t just have a feeling of love and compassion, but we have the action of combining with others to do what works to help people.

Did you see this box on the table? This is one way we’re helping these people.

This box, with the organizations and systems it represents, helps us expand our circle to a wider sweep of humanity.

Cindy puts the envelope down.


That’s what I want to do, to share and help people in a way that is meaningful and realistic.


There are things we can do that we know will help people, organizations that have been doing this work for years. We are more effective when we join together. The UUSC coordinates that effort on our behalf.

UUSC advertiser

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee invites us to welcome many strangers to be guests at our tables. We welcome the underpaid workers of our country and of our world, the thirsty peoples of developing nations and our own communities. We welcome those whose lives have been devastated by war, famine, and natural disaster. We support programs that provide people with both immediate aid and long term support.


This box is on your table as a reminder of all of these strangers you are welcoming. People of all ages in your household can place coins in it daily over the next few weeks. You may consider eating more simply, and sticking the money you save on groceries into the box.

Cindy gestures to the envelope.


So I guess now this should probably be for soup.


Yes, and this box should be for reminding you that you join with everyone else here to help the people of the world.

Beth puts coins in the box. Cindy does so as well.

The End

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