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Opening (5 minutes), Session 1: Faith (Toolbox and Ruler)

In "Toolbox of Faith," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice and candle or LED/battery-operated candle
  • Lighter and extinguisher, if needed
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Tools of the Day — a toolbox and a ruler

Preparation for Activity

  • Print the opening words on newsprint. Post the newsprint where the children will be able to see it when they gather in your Council Circle space.

Description of Activity

Participants will learn about the tools for life that we can gain from our faith, such as courage, questioning, and love.

Participants will learn about making rules together, and learn the meaning of covenant as promises we make together.

Invite participants to sit in a circle in your Council Circle space. Light the chalice.

Indicate where the opening words are posted for any children who are unfamiliar with them. Lead the group in reciting:

We are Unitarian Universalists

with minds that think,

hearts that love,

and hands that are ready to serve.

Introduce the Tools of the Day — a toolbox and a ruler. You might ask, "What do you think makes these a Unitarian Universalist's tool and toolbox?" Allow participants to share ideas. Affirm that truly there is no one answer, and then explain that the toolbox represents our faith, Unitarian Universalism, and it is the name of the program, Toolbox of Faith.

You may say:

During our time together we will discover all sorts of different tools of our faith, things that we learn about and adopt for our own growth. Examples include the tool of courage, the tool of questioning, and the tool of justice. Each session, we will be talking about a different tool.

In this first session, the tool is a ruler. The ruler represents how we make our rules. Someone decided to use this measure of twelve inches as a standard. It may have been the length of a particular king's foot. Then, everyone agreed to use the foot as a measure.

Unitarian Universalism is a faith that values the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. Just as a ruler was once agreed upon, we try to make our rules together and vote on them together. We also try to make promises to each other. This is called a covenant. A covenant answers the questions, "Why are we Unitarian Universalists? What is it that binds us together as a congregation and a faith?"

Read or share the words that introduce the Unitarian Universalist Principles: "We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote . . ." Then tell the group, in your own words:

This is a key part of growing in faith and deepening in religious understanding. One of the sources of our faith is "direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life." This means that each of us has experience with the Spirit of Life. Because of that direct experience, rather than needing to rely solely on the experience of someone else, we each can contribute to making the rules and promises. Once again, the covenant that our congregations adopted gives us a say, or a vote, in the things that concern us. That's a tool of our faith, that ruler that each of us helps make.

Pass around the tools. As children pass them, invite them to share an experience they have had with a ruler and/or toolbox.

Collect the tools and extinguish 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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