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Alternate Activity 1: Sharing Affirmations Ritual (15 minutes), Session 4: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

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

Materials for Activity

  • Votive candles or tea lights, and a lighter and extinguisher; or, a set of LED/battery-operated votive candles, enough for all participants
  • Optional: A large, clear bowl and a selection of stones on a large plate (at least one for each participant)

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide whether to use candles or stones and obtain needed materials. The clear bowl of water and the plate of stones from the Session 3 Opening may serve very well.
  • Set up the candles, the tray of sand, and the lighter and extinguisher (or the bowl of water and the stones) near the chalice.

Description of Activity

This sharing ritual is an adaptation of the candle-lighting ritual conducted in many Unitarian Universalist congregations known as "sharing of joys and concerns."

Invite participants to come forward and either light a candle or select a stone to drop in the bowl of water. Encourage them, as they do so, to share a few brief words about how and when they feel affirmed (for example, "I feel affirmed when I know I am being listened to"). To conclude the ritual, light one final candle for "all the affirmations we will receive or give to others until we gather again in community."

Including All Participants

Make it clear that sharing is voluntary; participants who feel uncomfortable sharing in the group may choose to pass. If any participant is unable to move forward to light a candle or drop a stone in the bowl, invite one participant to light each candle or drop each stone as thoughts are shared. Setting the candles or stones in the center of a circle rather than on a table up front might make it easier for someone with limited mobility to participate.

As with any activity which involves sharing personal thoughts, some participants may feel uncomfortable. Remind the group that it is always okay to pass and that it is important to respect the person who is sharing by listening to their words without interruption, comment, or judgment.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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