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Before You Start
Establish a registration system for Gather the Spirit with your director of religious education. You will need to know how many participants to expect at your first workshop, their ages, their allergies and their special needs.
Publicize the program in congregational newsletters, website, worship announcements, religious education brochures and bulletin boards. Share the program description and the ages of participants you seek, along with scheduled meeting places and times and registration information. Clearly communicate that Gather the Spirit is a multigenerational program. Make sure announcements are inclusive, particularly of single adults and families without young children.
Meet early with co-leaders to decide what to do, when to do it and what additional help you will need. Agree how you will communicate during the program and set a planning schedule. Will you touch base before every workshop?
Shape your Gather the Spirit program, considering in particular how you will present the River Scene, what you will do as Faith in Action, how you will extend Gather the Spirit and connect the participants between workshops and how you will incorporate music into the program. Closely review the workshops and activities you intend to use. Make supply lists and preparation plans early. For the first workshop, obtain more supplies than you think you will need.
Check your meeting space to see how well it fits your plans. Adjust the space or the plans as necessary. Set up your meeting space early. Take advantage of the Spiritual Preparation offered for each workshop; if possible, engage in a moment of centering immediately before leading the workshop.
You may wish to play recorded instrumental music or songs with water-themed lyrics while participants work on the River Scene mural or during other quiet activities.
Song suggestions include:
- "Gather the Spirit," by Jim Scott, available online and in Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993)
- "Follow the Drinking Gourd," Hymn 152 in Singing the Living Tradition; recorded by Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir on Brown Girl in the Ring: A World Music Collection (Music for Little People, 2001)
- "All I Really Need" on Raffi in Concert (Rounder, 1996) or a version by the Wilkinsons on Country Goes Raffi (Rounder, 2001)
- "The Water Is Wide" and other songs with water themes on Pete, a CD by Pete Seeger and Friends (Earth Music Productions, 1996)
- "Big Beautiful Planet" and "Clean Rain" on the Raffi CD Evergreen Everblue (Shoreline Records, 1990).
- Instrumental suggestions include:
- George Frideric Handel, "Water Music," available in many recordings
- Bedrich Smetana "Moldau," available in many recordings
- Claude Debussy, "La Mer," available in many recordings
- Alan Hovhaness, And God Created Great Whales, CD (Crystal Records, 1993)
- Chuck Plaisance and Suzanne Doucette, Desert Oasis, CD (Only New Age Music, 2005)
- R. Carlos Nakai, Canyon Trilogy: Native American Flute Music, CD (Canyon Records, 1993)
- James Galway, Meditations, CD (BMG, 1996)
- Cesar Fornes Berlanga, "Prelude and Lullaby for an Old Tree" and "A Corner in the Wood" on Music for Relaxation, CD (Relaxation, 2002).