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Opening (10 minutes), Session 7: Democratic Process (Chalk)

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

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice candle or LED/battery-operated candle
  • Lighter and extinguisher, if needed
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Newsprint or chalkboard with participants' tally marks
  • Dark paper, light-colored chalk, and containers for "ballot boxes"
  • Tool of the Day — chalk
  • Optional: Toolbox of Our Faith poster and clear tape

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 the Council Circle space.
  • Display the newsprint, ballots/ballot boxes (and chalkboard) with participants' votes for favorite television shows, flavors of ice cream, etc. (See Welcoming and Entering.)

Description of Activity

Participants will gain a visual introduction to voting processes using tally marks, ballots, and chalk.

Gather the children 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.

Hold up a piece of chalk. Tell the children what it is called and that it is the Tool of the Day.

Pass the piece of chalk around, inviting the children to share their prior experiences seeing or using chalk.

Lead a discussion to introduce the chalk as a symbol for democratic process. Ask, "What do you think makes this a Unitarian Universalist tool?" Allow participants to share ideas. Affirm that there is no one answer. Then explain, in your own words or these:

A piece of chalk represents the democratic process.

Chalk can mark a vote. Chalk is also erasable, so that folks can modify their decisions. 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. We believe that people should have a say in the things that concern them. Voting is one way that people have a say. Whoever gets the most votes wins, because it is the majority vote.

Consensus decision-making is another way to vote. A group might talk about their options until they reach consensus about what to do. Consensus means that most of the people in the group agree. A consensus process gives a way for the group to hear and address any objections of a minority. That helps the group shape a decision that every single person can support.

Call participants' attention to the voting that some of them did before the session (Welcoming and Entering). Invite a few volunteers to tally and announce the votes for "favorites" on the newsprint (or chalkboard) and in the ballot box(es). Allow some discussion as participants react to the voting results.

Tape a piece of chalk — or a dark piece of paper with a vote chalked on it — to the Toolbox of Our Faith poster, and write the words "Democratic Process" alongside. Or, you may do this during the Closing.

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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