"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
— Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman, an American pacifist, and peace activist
This session introduces the intangible gift of acceptance, a particularly important gift because it makes sharing other intangible gifts possible.
Unitarian Universalists are proud of our tradition of accepting people marginalized by other communities. Our congregations strive to welcome people who have felt unwelcome in other faith communities, perhaps because of their sexual orientation or their rejection of religious doctrine. Unitarian Universalists explicitly embrace and value people who stand outside the mainstream in order to honor to their own truths and heartfelt beliefs.
Children can relate to the idea of "acceptance" on a personal, concrete level through their experiences of feeling accepted and accepting others. The simplicity of a child's understanding is not superficial, but deeply rooted in our Universalist heritage that includes the belief — heretical in its time — in a divine force which accepts each of us as we are. Built into our faith, too, is the belief that acceptance of others begins with acceptance of self.
This session will:
- Introduce the intangible gift of acceptance
- Illustrate the importance of belonging to a faith community that is accepting.
- Affirm our fourth Principle of free and responsible search for truth and meaning
- Affirm our first Principle, the inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Demonstrate that every person has valuable gifts to offer
- Engage participants in the spiritual practices of opening and closing rituals.
- Reflect on a story about animals that are deemed unworthy by their owners, but are redeemed by acceptance in a group
- Create self-portraits that illustrate how everyone is the same and different
- Engage in the spiritual practices of opening and closing rituals with a focus on how these acts express a sharing of spirit.