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Opening (5 minutes), Session 8: Memorial Rituals

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

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice, candle and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
  • Centering table
  • A chime or bell
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Optional: Cloth for centering table
  • Optional: Stoles, including extras for visitors

Preparation for Activity

  • Prepare to lead the Opening described below: Set a chalice table with a cloth, a chalice, candle, and lighter or an LED battery-operated candle. Write the opening words on newsprint, and post.
  • Optional: If children will wear stoles during the session, make sure you have extra stoles for visitors. A child who has begun to attend regularly can add their initials to a stole during today's session.

Description of Activity

If the children wear stoles for Opening and Closing rituals, distribute stoles. Invite the children to put on their stoles. Offer any visitors a stole and explain that they may wear it during the Opening time and the Closing time if they wish. Remind the children their stoles are a sign that everyone in the group is a worship leader.

Welcome all participants. Gather everyone in a circle around the chalice table. Ring the centering chime. Ask a volunteer to light the chalice together. Lead the group to say these Opening words:

We gather together as Unitarian Universalists and members of the Signs of Our Faith community.

Together, we celebrate reverence for all life by honoring the dead. Together, we celebrate their lives and comfort one another for our loss.

Remind participants that as Unitarian Universalists, we revere life; if the group has done Session 5, remind them of an activity they did together which made this point. Then say:

Because life is sacred, the end of life is an important event. Today we will talk about the end of life, death.

Ask children to think of words or phrases that describe death. Prompt if needed: passed, gone to heaven, no longer with us.

Say, in your own words:

Some religions give people an answer about what will happen after they die. Our Unitarian Universalist religion does have an answer about that. Unitarian Universalists come to our own beliefs about what happens after we die, and we may each believe different things. One thing all Unitarian Universalists DO believe is this: How you spend your life—your time here on earth—is important.

After someone dies, we remember what they were like, and how we loved them, and the good things they did. We use our memories to keep our connection with someone, even though they have died.

For more information contact web@uua.org.

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Last updated on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

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