Food: Small Group Guide

Set up:

  • Ensure that all technology is in place and ready to view the video. If your church does not have adequate WiFi, this may mean that the facilitator will need to download the video before arriving for the session. Facilitators will also need to ensure that everyone will be able to hear and see the video as it is being played. Facilitators may wish to turn on closed captioning.
  • Create a welcoming space to have a conversation.
  • Place a table in the center or near the conversation space to create an “altarscape” of items that will help set the tone and keep the conversation focused on each Sign of Life.

What you need:

  • Video viewing capabilities
  • Conversation guide for the facilitator
  • Practicing Signs of Life and worship handouts for each participant
  • A table for the altarscape
  • Specific items to create altar scape. For food, you will need a crusty loaf of bread, some fruit, a bowl, and a cloth.

Gathering Prayer/Setting the Altarscape: (5 minutes) 

Gather participants into the conversation circle. Invite a few moments of stillness, and then pray this collect:

O God, who by the abundance of your Son all Creation is nourished and satisfied: Grant us, we pray, a holy hunger to be filled with your good things, and food for the leanness of our souls; through the bread of eternal life, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

After the prayer, create a still life scene. Place the cloth on the table, and then the bowl on the cloth, and arrange the bread and fruit attractively. Sit together in silence for a few moments with this scene as your focal point.

Check-In (15 minutes):

Orient participants to the rhythm of this session. Let them know that you will do check-in, watch the video, have a conversation, and then close with worship.

Invite participants to answer the following question:

Last week we discussed water. How did you notice the presence of water this week?

Facilitators may wish to practice mutual invitation (see Small Group Facilitator Guide) or they may wish to simply go around in the circle. Participants who pass should be invited to share after the other participants have shared. 

Watch Video  (15 minutes):

Before you start the video, read this script:

“As you watch this video, pay attention to the various ways food is explored, and think about how food is present in the life and liturgies of your worshiping community”

Play video to the end. Invite the group to come back together for conversation. 

Small Group Conversation  (40 minutes):

Open the small group conversation with the following question:

“Where is food present in the life and liturgies of your own worshiping community? How are these symbols and practices similar or dissimilar to what you heard and saw in the video?”

After the opening question has been discussed, choose any of the following questions to discuss with your small group. The facilitator should use their best judgment to select the questions that they believe will elicit meaningful conversation for your context. The small group may spend the entire time on one question, or do several. How many questions the group moves through is less important than fruitful conversation for the group. 

  • How has food inspired you? How has food been a part of your spiritual journey?
  • Tell a story about a time that you connected with another person while sharing a meal.
  • Brother James notes that Jesus feeds us both with the Eucharistic meal, but also with Scripture. How doesScripture feed you?
  • Brother Luke says, “There is always more to receive of God…but a piece of bread each day is helpful as ahelpful reminder that I’m given what I need as opposed to all that I crave.” How does the Eucharist sustainyou? How do you know when you have enough?
  • When we receive communion, we become more like Jesus. But during the eucharist, the body of Christ isbroken so that it may be given to us. Have you experienced a brokenness that was a gift to others? 

When there are about five minutes left for conversation, ask the following question:

“What do you understand differently about food because of this conversation?”

Wrap Up/Weekly Practice   (5 minutes):

Remind the participants of the weekly practice. Distribute the Practicing Signs of Life handout for Light. Reiterate the instructions from the video:

“Here is a reminder of the daily practice for this Sign of Life. As you eat this week, give thanks to God for your food and also your feelings, whether hungry or full. Remember that Jesus is the Bread of Life; Jesus is food that nourishes us, body and soul.

This is also the time when the facilitator should remind participants of housekeeping details for the next session.

Worship (10 minutes):

Pass out the worship handouts to each participant. The facilitator may wish to lead worship, or may invite another participant to lead worship. Groups may wish to use the altarscape as a focal point during their worship time. 

After worship, the small group session has ended.

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