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Alternate Activity 2: Personal Mini-altars

Alternate Activity 2: Personal Mini-altars
Alternate Activity 2: Personal Mini-altars

Activity time: 45 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Metal mint tins with hinged tops (one per participant)
  • A variety of materials to cover and decorate the tins, such as fabric scraps, tissue paper, embroidery thread, small beads, sequins, and tiny bells
  • Old magazines (a variety, for cutting out pictures and words)
  • Scissors (several pairs)
  • Glue sticks and/or bottles of school glue
  • Strong glue, like epoxy
  • Tables (see Preparation)
  • Newspaper, plastic tablecloths, or other means of covering the tables
  • Newsprint sheet with list of questions (see Preparation)
  • Easel
  • Leader Resource 3: Personal Altar Questions
  • Optional: Spray-on clear coating (to provide a smooth finish on the collage tins)
  • Optional: Music and music player (see Preparation)

Preparation for Activity

  • Arrange the room - or arrange for a room - so that participants can work at tables. Cover the tables with newspapers or plastic tablecloths. Place a variety of craft supplies at each table.
  • On a newsprint sheet, print the questions from Leader Resource 3, Personal Altar Questions.
  • If desired, choose some relaxing music to play during the activity.

Description of Activity

Invite participants to sit at the tables. Give each participant one of the small tins. Explain the activity using these or similar words:

You will now have the opportunity to create small personal altars. These altars will incorporate symbols and words that you choose in order to remind yourself of the important things you have learned about yourself in these Principled Commitment workshops. You can choose what you would like to reflect in your small altar. It might be an insight, a source of personal strength you have tapped into, or something you learned and want to remember. The altar you build can be used along with a tea light candle to inspire personal reflection, meditation, or prayer in support of personal integrity and your relationship.

I'll begin by giving you some questions to reflect on silently. Then I will invite you to begin decorating your tin to create your personal altar. You might cut out small images and words from magazines and glue them to the tin. You can also decorate your tin with fabric, tissue paper, beads, sequins, or any other craft materials you choose.

Your tin doesn't have to be a "work of art." The goal is simply to use your creativity to express what you want to be reminded of.

When everyone understands the activity, display the newsprint sheet with the list of questions from Leader Resource 3. Invite participants to spend a few minutes reflecting on these questions. You may wish to begin playing soft music in the background.

After several minutes, invite participants to begin creating their altars.

When the participants have finished, invite them to place their altars in a circle on a table. Allow time for group viewing in silence.

Explain that these personal mini-altars can be used with a larger altar that couples will create together in the next workshop.

Allow time for the glue to dry before participants take their altars home. If you have obtained a spray-on clear coating, participants may choose to apply it to their altar in order to create a smooth, protective finish.

Including All Participants

Conducting this activity in a well-ventilated room is better for everyone's health. Some participants might be more sensitive than others to the chemicals in the craft products. Arrange the room so that participants can distance themselves from any "smelly" products if they need to, or provide distance between smelly products and participants by creating a station in a separate room for glue and spray-on coating.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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