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Opening (10 minutes), Session 3: Love is the Spirit of this Church

In "Love Connects Us," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice, candle, and matches or LED/battery-operated candle
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • A large, clear bowl and a selection of stones on a large plate (at least one for each participant)

Preparation for Activity

  • Set up chalice.
  • Fill the bowl with water about halfway.
  • Set the stones beside the bowl of water.
  • 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

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 "love is the spirit of this church."

If the group has done the Welcoming and Entering activity, you might ask them if they unscrambled any words that also appear in the Blake covenant.

Continue this ritual of welcoming which honors the coming together of this community in the spirit of love, by saying something like:

We started our session this morning by saying together the covenant created by the Unitarian James Vila Blake. It starts with the words, "Love is the spirit of this church." Today we will further explore the idea of love as the spirit which ties us together in our community by considering some of the ways we help each other.

Invite participants to select a stone to drop in the bowl of water, and, as they do so, to hold in their mind one way someone has helped them. Invite them to share a few words about the person and the help they are thinking of, if they wish, or to silently drop their stone in the water.

Conclude the opening ritual with a statement such as:

Just as the stones we dropped in the water caused a ripple effect, so do the actions of others. When someone helps us, we feel the ripple of good feelings which comes from their love for us.

As participants move on to the next activity, a co-leader should remove the stones from the bowl and return them to the plate, if you plan to use the bowl and stones again in Activity 4, Sharing Joys and Concerns.

Including All Participants

If any participants are unable to select a stone and drop it in the bowl, ask one volunteer to drop all of the stones into the water.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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