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Leader Resource 2: Creating the Closing Worship
In this program, the closing worship circle offers a time for the group to come back together to enrich each other's understanding of the story and of their own life experience. This is not a show-and-tell experience, but rather a participatory, co-created worship experience. You will need to do just enough planning to provide a container for participants to share with one another and grow in spirit. You cannot script a co-created worship service, but you can guide it so that all participants feel heard and valued, and all hear and value the voices and experiences of others, regardless of age or life stage. With practice, you and the participants will become adept at co-creating worship to end each workshop.
Here are suggested elements for the closing worship for Workshop 8, Creation. Add, subtract, and adapt to fit your situation:
Share Beauty is before me, Reading 682 from Singing the Living Tradition.
Use chalice lighting words familiar to your congregation or use Reading 452 from Singing the Living Tradition.
Hymn 21, "For the Beauty of the Earth"
Invite the drama group (Activity 6) to offer a dramatic retelling of the creation story.
Call attention to the mural and its painters (Activity 7).
Invite the composers of the kinship litany to lead it, inviting all to respond in unison to each day's list with, "All these are connected to me."
Invite the discussion group to share some of their comments and insights about what the practice of Sabbath means to them personally and to Unitarian Universalists.
As a meditation/prayer, offer these words, written by the Reverend Kathy A. Huff:
Praise the sun, the moon, the stars,
Praise the ant, the tree, the shining leaf.
Praise every child large and small,
Praise the one within us all.
Praise the swimmers, crawlers, and creepers.
Praise the flower and the winding weed,
Praise each blade of grass and every dewdrop.
Praise dark moist earth.
Praise rock, sand, and shoal.
Praise wind -- nature's breath.
Praise those with fin, fur, and finger,
Praise the winged ones, the tiny ones,
and all the ones that live unseen.
Praise brightest morning and darkest night.
Praise the prickly and the unpopular.
Praise the crow's cry and the beggar's sigh.
Praise the dancers, the doers and the dreamers.
Praise those that give, those who love, and those who heal.
Praise to wanderers, weavers and seekers.
Praise sounds of thunder, crashing waves,
and shouts for justice.
Praise all colors.
Praise all acts of compassion.
Praise all. Praise all. Praise all.
End the meditation or prayer as you normally would in your congregation.
Choose an appropriate hymn. Possibilities include Hymn 25, "God of the Earth, the Sky, the Sea," Hymn 26, "Holy, Holy, Holy," Hymn 123, "Spirit of Life," Hymn 395, "Sing and Rejoice," and Doxology, Hymn 379.
Use words familiar to your congregation, or Reading 456 in Singing the Living Tradition.