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Breaking Bread - resources to get your church involved

Four group activities to help you get others involved in a plan to meet your MP.

Group Activity One: Your Faith and Politics

Use this activity to explore your role as Christians to speak to people in power and bring about positive change. This is a good activity for churches who may be reluctant to get involved in politics. Nominate someone to read aloud the scripture reading and reflection points, allow time for individual reflection then discuss the questions as a group.

Scripture Reading

If I have won your favour, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request

- Esther 7v1-6 & 9-10).

Reflection Points

Esther is an example of someone who used her position to stand up for the most vulnerable in her community, even though it meant risking her own life. When Jewish people were sentenced to death in the Xerxes kingdom, she held a banquet for the King and it was here that she managed to convince him to save their lives. Her actions demonstrate the value of harnessing existing relationships for good, and the power of food to foster both fellowship and dialogue.

Many of us may be thinking “I’m no Esther, what power do I have?” But in the UK, a parliamentary democracy, we have a direct line to power through our MPs who are elected to represent us. Even if we didn’t vote for them, MPs have an obligation to reply to their constituents and can raise their concerns in Parliament. In fact, MPs often say that they don’t hear from churches and constituents enough!

Discussion Questions

Have you ever met or written to your MP or other representatives? Share your experiences with the group.

Group Activity Two: Food and Fellowship

Use this activity to explore the role of food in building fellowship and dialogue between people. Nominate someone to read aloud the scripture reading and reflection points, allow time for individual reflection then discuss the questions as a group.

Scripture Reading

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body".

- Matthew 26 v 26-30.

Reflection Points

Bread is a recurring sign throughout the bible. It is the sharing of bread that breaks patterns of violence that is rooted in a fear of scarcity- whether it is a picnic by the lake, the hospitality of people living in poverty or the great feast of the Kingdom which Jesus so often spoke about.

In the Last Supper, Jesus took the loaves, he blessed them, he broke the loaves, he gave them to the people. Sometimes the narrative of scarcity is sold to us in society as normalising greed and selfishness. But the Last supper reminds us of the abundance among us, offering life in all its fullness, beyond ourselves.

Discussion Questions

Consider the role of food in your church and life. How is food used to bring people together? Does it play other roles? Which activities do you already hold that centre around food? Note them down.

Group Activity Three: Play to Your Strengths

In campaigning, it’s useful to focus on what you have, rather than what you don’t. If we waited until we had enough knowledge, money or time, change would be painfully slow! Use questions to help your church recognise its’ unique strengths, place and power to speak to your MP.

Discussion Questions

  • People – which skills, talents, passions, ideas, experiences, knowledge and expertise do church members hold that could help with an event this year? How can you involve all groups in the church e.g. youth groups or eco-groups?
  • Stories – what’s the historical and cultural story of your church and community that you would like to share with your MP? Do we have stories of local and global poverty that you have experienced, seen or heard? Who is best to share these stories in a dignified, respectful and loving way?
  • Networks – which other groups do you have connections to and could work with you? Are there other churches in your constituency you could link up with?
  • Spaces – which places and spaces do you have at your disposal that could be used for the event? For example, your church hall, kitchen or outside spaces.

Group Activity Four: Get Creative

Use these activities to bring people of all ages together to explore action on poverty in a creative way.