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Opening (5 minutes), Session 4: Thinking of God

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

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice or LED/battery-operated candle
  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • Bell, tingsha chimes or other sound instrument
  • Leader Resource 1, Today's Big Question and (optional) a plain envelope
  • "Today's Big Question" sign
  • Kid for the Day bag or box, card stock cut into uniform size pieces for all participants and pencils or markers
  • Optional: Nametags and markers
  • Optional: Quiet background music and music player
  • Optional: Group covenant from Session 1

Preparation for Activity

  • Retrieve materials from Session 1 (or if needed, make new ones):
    • "Today's Big Question" sign
    • Kid for the Day bag or box, filled with participants' names on card stock; extra card stock and pen/pencil for newcomers' names
    • Optional: Nametags and supplies to make new nametags
    • Optional: Group covenant
  • Post the "Today's Big Question" sign and post a sheet of blank newsprint beneath it.
  • Write the chalice lighting words on another sheet of newsprint, and post.
  • Print out a copy of Leader Resource 1. Fold it to conceal the text. To increase mystery, you might place it in an envelope and address the envelope to "Kid for the Day."
  • Optional: Set out nametags and supplies for new participants to make their own.
  • Optional: Choose soft background music to play during the Opening. Obtain and test music player. Begin playing the music before participants arrive.
  • Optional: Post the group covenant, generated in Session 1.
  • Optional: Post an agenda for the session.

Description of Activity

Have quiet background music playing if you like. Greet youth as they enter, and introduce yourself to any you do not already know. If your group is using nametags, invite everyone to wear one. Retrieve your bag or box of names. If new youth have joined this session, add their names on cards to the bag or box. Sound the tingshas or bell to call for silence.

Reach into the Kid for the Day bag or box and randomly select one name. Ask the selected youth to light the chalice while the group reads the posted chalice lighting words: "May this chalice light show the way as we search for answers to our biggest questions and seek to understand life's deepest mysteries."

(If the Kid for the Day is reluctant to take on the role, allow him/her to pass, and to draw another name from the bag or box. As the sessions go by, a youth may be chosen more than once. This possibility will be discussed in Session 8 when the group considers whether life is fair. If the youth object now that the practice is unfair, ask them what they would like to do about it. One possibility, of course, is removing from the bag the name of each youth who has already been chosen. The group's decision, too, can be discussed at a later session.)

Ask the group to be silent for a moment. End the silence by sounding your tingshas or bell.

If new participants have joined the group for this session, ask participants to introduce themselves.

Announce that it is time to hear the question of the day. Hand the Kid for the Day a copy of Leader Resource 1. After the Kid for the Day reads the question, write it on newsprint under the heading "Today's Big Question" ("Does God exist?")

Add the following comments: "Today we are going to talk about God. That can be a difficult topic. We do not always mean the same thing when we say "God". Some people think of a God or Goddess who shapes human destiny. Some people think God is Love. Some think that God is a word that means some force at work in the universe that is greater than us. Others don't find the word "God" useful at all. As we talk about God today, feel free to use the definition and the words you are most comfortable using.

Ask the Kid for the Day to extinguish the chalice.

Including All Participants

If your group includes youth who have difficulty reading, be sure to allow the Kid for the Day a chance to pass on the reading but still choose to light the chalice.

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 Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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