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Activity 3: WIT Time — Human Chalice (5 minutes), Session 16: UU Me

In "Riddle and Mystery," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Flashlight(s), preferably a durable, larger model
  • Optional: Examples of UU chalices

Preparation for Activity

  • Assess the size and physical capacities of the group.
    • See "Including All Participants" if anyone has mobility limitations.
    • If the group is large, plan to bring several flashlights and invite youth to work in small groups to make multiple chalices.
  • If possible, darken the room.
  • Note that the human chalice is also part of Activity 4, WCUU — UU Youth Speak. Adapt the WCUU script to incorporate the method of human-chalice building you have chosen.
  • Optional: Visit the UUA website Leader's Library to view and print out a variety of images of Unitarian Universalist chalices.

Description of Activity

Participants create a human chalice.

Explain that you will invite participants to think like a group of Unitarian Universalists and collaborate to make a symbol of our shared faith.

Gather youth in a tight circle (or, multiple, small group circles) on the floor, sitting with their legs extended so their feet meet in the center of the circle. Place a flashlight in the center of the circle. Invite the group to work cooperatively to create a common Unitarian Universalist symbol: a chalice. There is a challenge: they cannot use their hands.

Acknowledge the chalice variations found across our faith, including the off-center chalice. Show the group examples of UU chalices you have printed out. Invite the group(s) to design and construct a human chalice as they wish.

One way to create a human chalice is for participants' extended legs to represent the bottom of a chalice bowl, and their upper bodies the wall of the bowl. The flame is represented in the center by the flashlight. Using only their feet and working together cooperatively, they can raise the flashlight so it points upward. For an additional challenge, see if the youth can light their chalice using only their feet.

After the youth create the chalice(s), ask if this work had anything in common with the work the group has done in Riddle and Mystery. Affirm that the program has asked them to work together, to find common answers while acknowledging we won't all agree on everything, to explore our faith which is co-created by all the individuals who choose to be part of it.

Including All Participants

Consider the physical capabilities in the group.

If any youth who cannot sit on the floor with their legs stretched out, have the group form a tight circle of chairs. They can form a human chalice in a few different ways: For example, they might turn their backs to the center of the circle, allowing their raised arms and upper bodies to be the side of the chalice bowl, their upper legs the bottom of the chalice bowl, and their lower legs will be the pedestal.

Another option: choose a few volunteers to form a human chalice in silence. Invite others to work together on a plan and coach the volunteers to implement it.

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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