Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Chalice candle or LED/battery-operated candle
- Lighter and extinguisher, if needed
- Labyrinth, with participants' name stones placed on it
- Basket for name stones
- Optional: Index cards or post-its, markers, and tape
- Optional: One copy of Singing the Journey, supplement to the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition
Preparation for Activity
- Relight the chalice before gathering participants for the closing.
- Review "When Our Heart Is in a Holy Place," Hymn 1008 in Singing the Journey. You can listen to the song online. Decide whether you prefer to have the children sing or recite the chorus words.
- Customize, print out, and photocopy the Taking It Home section for all participants, or prepare Taking It Home and email to all parents.
- Optional: Identify a wall space that can accommodate up to 30 index cards or post-its and be visible by participants at their eye level. Create and post a sign to label this space the Creating Home "Word Wall." If you do not have a wall space to use for the duration of the Creating Home program, create a movable wall with poster board or fabric that you can display each time you meet. Print the new words for this session, "threshold" and "ritual," on index cards or post-its and attach them to the wall.
Description of Activity
Gather the group in a circle around the labyrinth. Tell the group that it is now time to share a closing ritual.
Relight the chalice. If you are using a battery-powered light, have a child "light" the chalice.
Explain that a closing ritual marks the end of your religious education time together today. You may want to define the word "ritual" for the group as an activity that is done again and again for a reason. Rituals can be as simple as brushing your teeth every night. Some rituals have a sacred purpose.
Ask the group if they know of any rituals people do in your congregation. You may prompt them that lighting and extinguishing the chalice are common rituals in a Unitarian Universalist faith home. Remind them that every time the group meets, you will also light and extinguish the chalice.
Point out that in this session the children have used the chalice, the labyrinth, and name stones for rituals. Tell them that the group will continue opening and closing their time together with the same rituals.
If name stones are on the labyrinth, ask the children to find their stones and carefully place them in the basket. If name stones are drying after Activity 4: Our Name Stones, tell the children you will return their stones to the basket once they are dry.
Ask a few volunteers to help you fold or roll the labyrinth and put it away.
Invite the children to form a circle and hold hands to sing just the chorus to "When Our Heart Is in a Holy Place ," Hymn 1008 in Singing the Journey.
If you prefer, invite the children to recite with you the chorus words:
When our heart is in a holy place,
When our heart is in a holy place.
We are blessed with love and amazing grace.
When our heart is in a holy place.
If you have a Word Wall, direct children's attention to it now. Show them the words "threshold" and "ritual" that you have printed on index cards or post-its. Congratulate them for learning two new words today, and post the words on the Word Wall or ask two volunteer to do it.
Say in your own words:
Today we have been talking about our family homes and creating our Unitarian Universalist faith home together by all our activities. Each of you is an important part of our group. I'm glad you were here and I look forward to having you cross the threshold again next time.
Extinguish the chalice.
Distribute the Taking It Home handout you have prepared. Remind participants to give the handout to their parents.
Thank and dismiss participants.