A place will express itself through the human being just as it does through its wild flowers. — Lawrence Durrell
In Session 12, children explored how we make a faith home. This session goes more deeply into that topic, focusing on the realm of worship. Worship is an expression of faith. Our worship together as Unitarian Universalists is a communal expression of faith that plays a very important role in most congregations.
As the quote that opens this session, from 20th-century novelist, poet and travel writer Lawrence Durrell, suggests that for members of a Unitarian Universalist faith home, the place of worship expresses itself through the people who gather there. Each time members gather for worship, it evolves into a new expression of faith based on the people who attend and respond together.
This session offers opportunities for participants to explore some elements common to faith home worship. Children will experiment with artistic and written expression of their own worship experiences. You may decide to incorporate their creations into a congregational worship experience. Most activities can be adapted to your own faith home worship expressions, and all honor the particular stages and places where children are in their lives. Remember that the diversity that brings richness to Unitarian Universalist worship embraces differences in the age as well as the beliefs and experiences of every worshipper. Children are co-creators of our faith homes and the future of our Unitarian Universalist faith. This session introduces a role for them in our worship.
Worship has infinite expressions. In a Unitarian Universalist context, people can share worship anytime, anywhere — not necessarily in a church sanctuary, not necessarily on Sunday morning. Worship can be intergenerational, yet frequently in our congregations children leave a worship service for religious education time. Be prepared for a child in Creating Home to ask why. You might ask your director of religious education or your minister why that is the practice of your congregations.
Mary-Ella Holst says in the Unitarian Universalist pamphlet, We Dedicate This Child:
Communities need children. Children remind us of our own vulnerability, our mortal journey, and the role we play in each other's lives.
In Activity 4 of this session, children will learn about the dedication service that takes place in your worship home when a new child arrives. In connection with Creating Home, you may want to explore additional ways your congregation can be open to the wonderful diversity that children can bring to shared worship.
This session will:
- Guide participants to recognize the need community worship fills at their faith home
- Help participants translate their faith into communal worship experiences
- Give each participant an opportunity to identify two of his/her unique gifts or talents
- Introduce the rich Unitarian Universalist worship heritage
- See the gifts others have to offer
- Identify two of their own special gifts
- Learn an abbreviated version of opening words from the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook, Singing the Living Tradition
- Learn about the child dedication worship service
- Recognize the worship space as shared by those in the faith community
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