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Opening (10 minutes), Session 1: Signs, Symbols, and Rituals

In "Signs of Our Faith," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Name tags and markers, and (optional) decorations for the name tags
  • Chalice, candle and lighter or LED battery-operated candle

Preparation for Activity

  • Set name tag supplies on work tables.

Description of Activity

Invite children to decorate a name tag to use each time the group meets. Help children get started on their name tags, as needed. While they work, say:

Who knows what a "sign" is? A sign can be a picture or an action that shows an idea. A stop sign shows a driver when to stop their car. A wave of your hand shows you are greeting someone. What other kinds of signs can you think of? [Affirm responses.] Our group is called Signs of Our Faith. It is all about the ways we show that we are Unitarian Universalists.

I have a question for you: Are you UU just on Sundays [or whichever day your group meets]? [Take responses.] You are right: Though we meet at the congregation on Sunday, we are UU all the time—not just on Sunday or just when we are at the congregation. We live our faith every day, in many different ways. In this program, we are going to talk about the signs that we are UU. We will name the ways we show we are Unitarian Universalists in our everyday lives. We will explore ways we mark special occasions as Unitarian Universalists. If you are new to Unitarian Universalism, you will hear many ideas for ways you can grow in your UU faith.

This program will help you build your leadership. You may be young, but you can still be a leader in our congregation, in our faith, and in the world. Leadership means knowing your behavior sets an example to others, and stepping up to be a good example. We will discover UU ways to be leaders.

Have the children put on their name tags and invite them to gather around the chalice. Say:

Lighting our chalice is a sign that we are UUs. It is a UU ritual that you might see in religious education meetings like ours, and in worship. Did you know that the chalice is the most common symbol of our UU faith?

Light the chalice. Then, explain that everyone will introduce themselves by saying their name and something they like to do at the UU congregation or at any other religious home they may have visited, such as a church, a temple, or a mosque. Start by introducing yourself by the name you want the children to call you and sharing something simple you like in your congregation, such as seeing friends on Sunday morning or hearing the choir. Have the children and co-leader(s) introduce themselves.

After introductions, affirm that there are many different ways we live our UU faith. Say, in these words or your own:

Sometimes, we know that what we are doing is a sign of our faith. An example is lighting a chalice as we just did. Sometimes, we may not be aware. For example, if you see a new child in your class or group, and they do not appear to know anyone else, you might sit next to them, talk to them, and introduce them to your friends. You may not think, "I am doing this because I am Unitarian Universalist," but maybe you are. As UUs we think it is important to be welcoming. Acting with kindness toward the new child could be a sign of your faith.

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 Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

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