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 card or post-it, bold marker, and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Review Hymn 1008 in Singing the Journey, "When Our Heart Is in a Holy Place." Decide whether you prefer to have the children sing or recite the chorus words to close this session. If you will need the words and/or music to lead the group, place a copy of Singing the Journey near your chalice.
- Customize, print out, and photocopy the Taking It Home section for all participants.
- If you have a Word Wall, write the word "homecoming" with bold marker on an index card or post-it.
Description of Activity
Gather the group in a circle around the labyrinth. Relight the chalice. Invite the children to take their stones from the labyrinth, place them in the basket, and return to the circle.
Then, ask the children to help you carefully fold the labyrinth and put it away.
You may like to add something new to the Closing. Ask the children to stand together in a circle holding hands. Invite them to take a deep breath together and try an easy circle dance by walking counterclockwise in a circle as they begin singing the Closing words. Have the group switch direction at each new line of the chorus to "When Our Heart is in a Holy Place," Hymn 1008 in Singing the Journey. The circle dance will also work if the group recites, rather than sings, the song:
When our heart is in a holy place, (circle left slowly)
When our heart is in a holy place. (circle right slowly)
We are blessed with love and amazing grace. (circle left slowly)
When our heart is in a holy place. (face inward and look at each other)
If you have a Word Wall, say:
The word for our World Wall today is "homecoming."
Show the group the index card or post-it on which you have written "homecoming." Talk about what the word means, referencing the story, "The Lost Son."
Post the word on the Word Wall, or ask a volunteer to do it.
Say in your own words:
Today we talked about a special family, just like all of your families are special. We learned that families love us even when we are not at our family home. People cannot be lost from our hearts when we love them. We hope that you have wonderful days ahead with your family and that you return to us at our faith home 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.