Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Altar or centering table
  • Cloth for covering altar or centering table
  • Chalice, candle and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
  • Handout 1, Blow in the Wind
  • Copies of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition
  • Optional: Small votive candle
  • Optional: Narrow taper candle
  • Optional: Objects for the altar or centering table. You may include natural objects such as rocks, pinecones, seashells, plants, or flowers; little plastic animals, or figurines of religious figures like St. Francis or the Buddha, or pictures of environmentalist heroes like Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, or Aldo Leopold
  • Optional: A recording of "Spirit of Life" and a music player

Preparation for Activity

  • Review and make copies of Handout 1 for all participants.
  • Prepare the altar or centering table with the cloth you have brought, a chalice and candle, a votive candle, a taper candle, and matches or a lighter.
  • Gather copies of Singing the Living Tradition, enough for all participants. Obtain large print and/or braille copies for participants who need them.
  • 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.
  • Optional: Place additional items you have brought for the altar or centering table.
  • Optional: Arrange for musical accompaniment or set up music player.

Description of Activity

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 experienced in nature. We'll remember moments of beauty, awe, and oneness in nature. We'll share some of what we are learning of the cycle of birth and death and the ways we want to live in relationship to the earth. I'm so glad you are here.

If you have added objects to your altar or centering table, explain that you have added them because this workshop focuses on our spiritual connections with nature.

Distribute Handout 1. Indicate the unison chalice-lighting words on the handout. Invite a participant to light the chalice while you lead the group in reciting the unison chalice-lighting words.

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

Begin name sharing with these or similar words:

Please share your name, and also name for us a geographical feature of your past or current hometown, such as a hill, a river, a valley, or a bay. As we listen to one another's names, let us hold each person in our good will.

Invite participants to take turns speaking.

Explain that this workshop focuses on the line "blow in the wind, rise in the sea."

Invite participants to rise in body or spirit and sing "Spirit of Life," by Carolyn McDade, Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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