Activity time: 10 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-one for each participant, plus a few extra.
- Be ready to model your own brief description of a way you have acted in service to the congregational community.
Description of Activity
The Opening 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. Say something like:
The covenant we said together says service is the law of this congregation. What does "service" mean?
Allow some responses. Then say:
If service means helping, how can that be a law?
Allow responses, if there are some. Then say:
Let's think about what would happen if, in our congregation, no one followed the law of service. What kinds of things would not get done?
Take a moment and think of ways our congregation depends on people acting in service of our community. Perhaps you can think of ways you or someone in your family has given service to help or support our congregation. What service have you done or could someone do?
Pause a moment. Then, ask a volunteer to select a heart shape, tell an example of an action to serve the congregational community, and briefly write or draw their idea on the heart. Or, model this yourself.
Invite participants to share verbally, one at a time. Also, invite anyone who would like to write on an ornament to do so, whether they choose to share verbally or not.
When all who wish to write on a heart shape have done so, ask participants to attach their heart ornaments to the Rainbow Wall Hanging. Show them how to tie the yarn which is looped through the ornament onto the wall hanging.
If your chalice contains an actual candle flame, re-gather the group around the chalice and blow it out together.
Including All Participants
Invite participants who may be unable to write on a heart shape to share verbally while you or another participant serves as "scribe." If you know some participants may be reluctant to share in a group, let them know as they enter the room that later they will be invited to share about ways we act in service to our congregational community. This may help them prepare an idea before the sharing time; however, do not put any participant on the spot to share in the group.