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Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice, candle, and matches or LED/battery-operated candle
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Peace sign ornaments cut from card stock (see Welcoming and Entering)
  • Markers, pens, and pencils

Preparation for Activity

  • Set up chalice.
  • Write the words of James Vila Blake's covenant on newsprint, and post:

Love is the spirit of this church,

and service its law.

This is our great covenant:

To dwell together in peace,

To seek the truth in love,

And to help one another. - James Vila Blake

  • If you will not do the Welcoming and Entering activity (where the early arriving participants make peace sign ornaments), make some in advance-one for each participant, plus a few extra.
  • Set peace sign ornaments, and pencils, pens, and markers by the chalice.

Description of Activity

Invite a participant to light the chalice. Lead the group to read aloud the Blake covenant. Say something like:

The covenant we said together talks about "dwell[ing] together in peace." The starting place for creating peace around us is creating peace inside ourselves. It can be hard to feel peaceful if we think someone is being unfair or telling us to do something we don't want to do. Do you have ways you manage to find peace inside yourself? Have you ever had a time when feeling peaceful inside helps you act peacefully in a difficult situation?

Invite everyone to select a peace sign ornament and a marker, pen, or pencil. Encourage them to write on their ornament a way they find or use a peaceful feeling inside to help dwell together in peace. Allow participants a few minutes to write. Then, invite them, one at a time, to tie their ornaments to the wall hanging, and as they do so, if they feel like sharing what they have written, read or say it aloud to the group.

After everyone has had a chance to attach an ornament, gather around the chalice and extinguish it together.

Including All Participants

Invite participants who cannot write on an ornament to share verbally while you or another participant serves as "scribe." If you know some participants may feel uncomfortable sharing in a group, let them know as they enter the room that later they will be invited to share about ways we act to build peace. This may help them prepare an idea before the sharing time; they can also pass.

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