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Alternate Activity 1: In Poetry and Prayer
Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Handout 3, Words of Wonder and Reverence
- Writing paper and pens or pencils
Preparation for Activity
- Make sure each participant has a seat at a table where they can write.
- Place paper and writing implements on a common table or within your own reach for distribution to all participants.
- Copies of Handout 3 for all participants.
- Optional: Write a short song, poem, meditation, or prayer using words of wonder and reverence that speak to you, to share with the group as an example. Try not to make it too polished, so as not to raise an unconscious expectation that participants' works be highly polished-they will only have twenty minutes to work on them.
Description of Activity
If your group has done Activity 5, Words of Wonder and Reverence, ask each participant to find their copy of Handout 3. Explain that they may use the phrases they have already chosen as ones that speak to them about the sacred, or they may choose new words to explore.
If your group has not done Activity 5, distribute Handout 3. Tell participants that these are some, but not all, of such words from hymns in the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition.
Ask participants to scan the handout for words they would like to explore in a creative exercise. Distribute paper and writing implements.
Now, invite participants into a creative space with this instruction:
Try writing a song, poem, meditation, or prayer that incorporates some of these words of wonder and reverence or others of your own creation or choice. You might begin with your chosen words and then move on to express your thanks, regrets, hopes, fears, worries, joys, longings, and more. Express yourself naturally. You can imagine writing a letter to someone you love and trust with whom you can share your self.
If you have composed a sample, share it with the group now.
Tell participants they will have twenty minutes for writing. Then, they will each have an opportunity to share the song, poem, meditation, or prayer they have written with another person.
After twenty minutes, invite participants to form pairs. Encourage them to pair up with people whom they do not know well. You may create a group of three if your group has an odd number of participants.
Offer these instructions for sharing in pairs:
In pairs, one of you speaks or reads what you are willing to share with the other. The companion listens attentively, openly. After the first speaker finishes, let there be a moment of silence between you. The listening companion can then say something to affirm the experience you have shared. Perhaps you can say "May it be so" or "Amen" or "Thank you." Then, switch roles. These are moments of precious sharing and confiding, and we offer one another our mutual trust and regard.
Allow two or three minutes for pairs to share their writing. Then, invite pairs to rejoin the full group. Lead a discussion using these questions:
- How many people wrote songs? prayers? meditations? poetry? something else?
- What was it like to write something with your words of wonder and reverence-what were some feelings that came up for you?
- How was it to listen to someone else's poem, prayer, song, or meditation?
- What will you carry forward from this experience?