Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) is a biblical figure described in Acts 9:36-43. According to the text, she was "always doing good and helping the poor," but one day this beloved woman died. The apostle Peter was called. He prayed and then commanded her to get up. She sat up, and Peter presented her to the people. Dorcas' story spread, and many became believers in Christ. Lessons and activities about Dorcas often centre around her charity, faith and good works.
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Dorcas was known for helping the poor, a quality often represented by sharing clothing and food. Bring a large box of old or costume clothing (from the biblical time period, if possible) to your class. Tell the children to pretend that they are poor, and don't have any clothes of their own. Allow them each to choose a few pairs of clothes from the box. Once everyone is dressed, ask them how they would feel about the person who lovingly and willingly shared with them, and how sad they would be if that person died. Ask who shares with them and shows them kindness.
To illustrate Dorcas's charity, give each preschool student a paper doll, with no clothing. Supply paper, such as coloured construction paper or scrapbook paper, and tell the children to create trousers, shirts, dresses and skirts for their paper doll. Preschoolers may need help with the cutting and drawing of clothing. You may even want to bring pre-cut clothing and have the children decorate them. Once all the paper dolls are "dressed," talk about Dorcas's kindness to the poor.
Distribute printed Dorcas colouring sheets to the class. While they are colouring, engage them on the topic of charitable giving and faith. Ask for examples of people in their life that they would describe as "always doing good." Ask them if they fit that description. Discuss how helping someone else makes them feel. Discuss how being helped makes them feel. Talk about how sad the poor people must have been when Dorcas died and how excited and happy they would have been when Peter raised her from the dead.
Give each child an index-card-sized piece of paper, with holes punched around the edges. Have them "sew" the card by threading yarn in and out of the holes. If they think it is difficult, discuss how Dorcas worked hard to help people who were less fortunate than she was. Once the card is "sewn," have them write their name on one side. Write "Dorcas" on the other, or a word such as "charity" or "kindness," and allow them to decorate.
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