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Activity 7: A Time for Worship (10 minutes), Workshop 7: Integrity

In "Harvest the Power," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Table or stand for chalice and worship materials, and a cloth to cover it
  • Chalice, candle and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
  • Four candles or four natural objects such as pine cones, stones or shells and a container to hold them
  • A bell or chime

Preparation for Activity

  • Prepare a visually appealing worship table. Arrange four unlit candles or display the empty container with the four natural objects arranged near it.

Description of Activity

This worship time offers a model for leaders to acknowledge the anxieties and challenges in the congregation while lifting up what supports and deepens the congregation's vision and mission. It is a technique to help congregational leaders intentionally hold space for creative ideas and emerging leadership.

Say:

I invite you to enter into a time of silence, and bring into your hearts and minds all those in the congregation and in our families who are facing challenges—death of a loved one, difficulties with a child or elderly parent, physical and mental health concerns, sadness, job loss, financial difficulty.

Pause a moment. Then, ring the bell. While lighting one candle or putting one of the natural objects into the container, say:

We hold in our hearts and minds and prayers all those in the congregation who are facing difficulties. In this moment, you are invited to speak the names of those we hold in thought and prayer.

Wait an appropriate interval while people speak. Then say:

I invite you to hold in your hearts and minds all those who have offered their gifts of love and service to the congregation. Enter into silence for a time and call to mind those who bring their creativity, their dedication, their labor, their financial support and their passion to support the congregation and its mission and work in the world. Call to mind those who are newly emerging as leaders, both adults and youth, and feel your heart fill with gratitude for the gifts they bring.

After a minute, ring the bell. While lighting a second candle or putting the second of the natural objects into the container, say:

We hold in our hearts gratitude for the many ways in which people bring their gifts to serve the mission of this congregation.

Now say:

I invite you to hold in your hearts and minds the challenges faced by this congregation. Enter into silence for a time and call to mind—one at a time—all the myriad issues facing the leadership at this time. In the silence of your heart, embrace the challenges, knowing these are signs of a living institution.

After a minute, ring the bell and while lighting a third candle or putting the third of the natural objects into the container, say:

In the silence, we number our challenges with humility, rejoicing in the opportunity to take our own turn in guiding this faith community in living the values of our liberal faith.

Now say:

I invite you to embrace your role as leader, understanding that you and your spiritual well-being are crucial to the well-being of the congregation. In the silence, I invite you to honor your own spirit and your own service to your faith community.

After a minute, ring the bell. While lighting a fourth candle or putting the fourth of the natural objects into the container, say:

We honor ourselves and each other as leaders in this faith community and embrace our need to care for our own spirits that we may serve with integrity and with love. So may it be.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Saturday, October 29, 2011.

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