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The beginning of atonement is the sense of its necessity. — Lord Byron

The level, a carpenter's tool, symbolizes the balance we need to restore when we make a mistake. The session focuses on the meaning of "at-one-ment." Participants will explore the difficulty in acknowledging mistakes and the sense of relief in acknowledging a mistake.

Allow time for participants to engage the issues of personal and community acknowledgments. Emphasize the feeling of being "at one" when there is reconciliation.

In Activity 3, the children make pretzel shapes out of frozen bread dough. Make sure the congregational facility has an oven you can use to bake the pretzels in.


This session will:

  • Help deepen participants' Unitarian Universalist identity, ethical discernment, and understanding of Unitarian Universalist faith through reflection and discussion about these qualities of our faith
  • Show participants that Unitarian Universalism is a faith which believes in learning from our mistakes and working to make things right
  • Teach that Unitarian Universalism seeks acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations (third Principle)
  • Demonstrate how Unitarian Universalism heeds the words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love (second Source)
  • Engage participants in the spiritual practices of chalice lighting, voicing of joys and concerns, and intentional discussion.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn the vocabulary words, "atonement" and "reconciliation"
  • Understand how the tool, a level, symbolizes the restoration of balance that comes with "at-one-ment" or atonement
  • Hear a true story illustrating how some Unitarian Universalists made a mistake and, later, a new generation of Unitarian Universalists tried to restore balance, to atone
  • Play games that illustrate concepts related to atonement, including disarray and unity and the difficulties of assigning blame
  • Express a form of reconciling prayer in the process of handling and baking bread
  • Discuss their feelings on the value of restoring balance, at-one-ment, by making an apology.

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