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Opening (5 minutes), Workshop 2: Sing In My Heart: Celebrations and Rituals

In "Spirit of Life," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Altar or centering table
  • Cloth for covering altar or centering table
  • Chalice, candle and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
  • A dripless candle in a heatproof holder or LED battery-operated candle that can be safely passed around the room
  • Handout 1, Sing in My Heart
  • Optional: Small votive candle in holder
  • Optional: Objects for the altar or centering table, such as rocks, pinecones, seashells, plants, flowers, figurines, little plastic animals and people, or statues of religious figures like St. Francis or the Buddha

Preparation for Activity

  • Review and make copies of Handout 1 for each participant.
  • Prepare the altar or centering table with the cloth you have brought, a chalice and candle, a votive candle, a dripless candle and its holder to pass around the room, and matches or a lighter. If you are using an LED battery-operated candle, place it on the altar or centering table.
  • Optional: If you have brought additional items for the altar or centering table, place them there.
  • Optional: Light the votive candle in advance and place the taper nearby so that chalice lighter can use the taper to carry the flame to the chalice.

Description of Activity

Distribute Handout 1. Indicate the unison chalice-lighting words on the handout.

Welcome participants and offer a brief introduction to this workshop. Use these words, or your own:

Welcome to this program on Unitarian Universalist spirituality as expressed in the celebration and rituals we use in our congregational life and in our home lives. Celebrations and rituals are ways to appreciate life, face grief and sorrow, share joy and gratitude, and deepen relationships and core commitments.

In this workshop, we will explore how celebration and ritual can support our spirituality and spiritual growth. I am so glad you are here!

Tell participants that the opening for this workshop includes some additional elements to enrich the group's investigation of celebrations and rituals. If you have added objects to your altar or centering table, explain that you have added these objects to provide an example of how someone might personalize an altar for ritual.

Light the dripless candle from the votive candle flame, and secure the dripless candle in its heatproof holder or prepare the LED battery-operated candle. Say:

Unitarian Universalists believe the flame of truth, the spark of divinity, the light of knowledge, the warmth of love, and the energy of action are present in every person. In celebration of that affirmation, we will pass this candle around the room to each person.

When the candle comes to you, please call out your name clearly and slowly, so we have time to hear each name and see each face. After this candle has been passed among all our hands and connected to all our voices and faces, we will light our chalice and join together in a unison chalice-lighting reading.

Allow participants to pass the candle, each saying their names. After all participants have said their names, invite a participant to light the chalice using the dripless candle or to place the LED battery-operated candle in the chalice and lead the group in reciting the unison chalice-lighting words.

Invite participants to read silently with you as you read aloud the Unitarian Universalist Principle and Source that this workshop highlights.

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 Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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