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Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice and matches

Description of Activity

Use the Opening designed by your group or the one provided below.

Gather around the chalice. As a volunteer lights the chalice, ask the group to focus on the word "faith" in silence. After about fifteen seconds, invite participants to speak freely into the space a word or two that they associate with the word "faith." When everyone who wishes to speak has had a chance to do so, close by saying, "May the space we create here today be wide enough to hold all our individual ideas and deep enough to allow those ideas to grow, to fruit, and to provide seeds for new beginnings."

Introduce today's workshop by saying, "At the end of The Wizard of Oz, a perplexed and somewhat irked Dorothy finds out that, from the very start of her difficult journey dodging flying monkeys, the Wicked Witch, and laced poppies, she possessed the power to return home. She needed only to click together her fabulous ruby slippers. When Dorothy asks why no one told her sooner, she is met with an essential truth: even if someone had told her about the power she possessed, Dorothy would not have believed it and could not have used it. Like Dorothy, we each need to experience each step in our journey-including our crises of faith and our wonder-before emerging stronger on the other side.

"Faith of some kind seems to be an essential ingredient in the spiritual wholeness for which humans yearn. You, personally, may have faith in an entity greater than humankind, in the connectedness of all beings, or in a worldview that is uniquely your own.

"Unitarian Universalist tradition embraces both the doubt and the inherent wisdom we each bring to the development of our own faith. When it comes to faith, poetry and Unitarian Universalism have some things in common. Both can help us pursue spiritual wholeness, and both provide more questions than answers. Poetry appears often in Unitarian Universalist worship, and some renowned American poets have a connection with Unitarian Universalism. A poem has the power to celebrate faith, capture our difficulties in keeping faith, present a challenge to faith, or all three. The poems we share today will help us ask ourselves how our faith informs our spirituality and how our spirituality informs our faith."

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