An organization or project (often supported by Mission & Service) is identified, and churchgoers are encouraged to bring in appropriate gifts to share. These gifts are often wrapped in plain white paper. That way they all look the same, so there’s no urge to compare the gifts’ value or worry about the economic means of the giver or the receiver.
The simple gifts of the congregation are meant bring some joy to the recipients. It brings to mind the joy that Mary expresses in the Magnificat—that God sees the needs of the people and desires us to respond to them, in whatever way is possible.
When White Gifts are offered in a worship service, it’s a chance for people of all ages to contribute. The Sunday school might prepare information for the congregation a few weeks in advance. They can learn about the chosen recipient and then, with that organization’s help, suggest appropriate gifts.
Worship planners can find White Gift services in the worship section of the United Church website.
Waiting with you,
Alydia Smith is Program Coordinator, Worship, Music, and Spirituality for The United Church of Canada.