Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Chalice, candle, and matches or LED/battery-operated candle
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Heart ornaments cut from card stock (see Welcoming and Entering)
- Pens, pencils, or markers
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
- Set heart-shaped ornaments, and pens, pencils, and markers by the chalice. If you will not do the Welcoming and Entering activity (where the early arriving participants create heart-shaped ornaments), make some in advance and set them by the chalice. Make one for each participant, plus a few extra.
Description of Activity
The opening activity brings participants together for a chalice-lighting ritual which honors the coming together of this community in the spirit of love, and reintroduces the Blake covenant.
Invite a participant to light the chalice. Lead the group to read aloud the Blake covenant. Suggest participants begin thinking about what is meant by "spirit of love." Continue by saying something like:
We started our session by saying the covenant created by the Unitarian James Vila Blake. It starts with the words, "Love is the spirit of this church." Today we will explore the idea as love as the spirit which ties us together in our community. Let's consider ways we can show love for another person.
Ask a volunteer to start, and invite them to select a heart ornament, share verbally an example of how someone might show love, and briefly write the words or a symbol for the words on the heart ornament. Or, model this by selecting a heart ornament yourself. Allow anyone who would like to write on an ornament to do so, whether they choose to share verbally or not. Remind the participants that anyone who does not wish to participate may pass.
Ask participants to attach their finished heart ornaments to the group wall hanging. Show them how to tie the yarn which is looped through the ornament onto the wall hanging.
After everyone who wants to write on a heart ornament and attach it to the wall hanging has had a chance to do so, if your chalice contains an actual candle flame, gather around the chalice and blow it out together.
Including All Participants
Invite participants who are unable to write on a heart 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 show love to another person. This may help them prepare an idea before the sharing time; they can also pass if they choose.