Follow this Order of Service as you lead the opening of Workshop 11, Faith and Celebration.
Welcome everyone and explain that this workshop is a celebration of participants' hard work and effort over the past weeks. It is a time to glean and articulate what they have learned or gained over the group's time together. It is also a time to talk about faith and covenants — those things that can sustain a couple for the long haul.
Light the chalice while reading the following words:
We light this chalice as a symbol of our faith: to seek truth and honesty, to build respect, and to foster greater trust among all people, beginning with ourselves. May we dedicate our time together to these purposes.
Introduce the guiding Unitarian Universalist Principle for this workshop: all seven Unitarian Universalist Principles.
We covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
This final workshop is a culmination of all that has been explored and learned during the program. Here you will explore your faith, naming those things on which you "place your hearts." You will also be able to celebrate your part in a shared identity made up of two lives that have come together in a healthy and whole relationship. It is a well-deserved celebration of life and love among the community.
Lead participants through the following guided meditation to center them for the rest of the workshop. Read the words slowly, pausing between phrases.
I invite you into a time of silence. Try to sit with your spine straight, with your feet flat on the floor. Perhaps close your eyes. Take a deep breath, inhale . . . and exhale. Take another deep breath . . . and exhale. Again; this time, as you exhale, let go of all the pressures of the day. Let go of the "to dos," the "should haves" . . . just let them float out of the room. You can return to them later. Take another deep breath. As you inhale, take in the energy of this place. As you exhale, let go of any tension or stress you might be feeling.
Come into this place of connection. Envision yourself celebrating your partner. It is a gift you are giving each other. What does it feel like? What does it look like?
[Sit in silence for two to three minutes, then say:]
Please maintain this spirit as I read the poem.
Read the following adapted excerpt from "Song of the Open Road" by Walt Whitman.
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune —
I myself am good fortune;
Strong and content,
I travel the open road.
I inhale great draughts of space;
The east and the west are mine,
And the north and the south are mine.
All seems beautiful to me;
I can repeat over to men and women,
You have done such good to me,
I would do the same to you.
Whoever you are, come travel with me!
However sweet these laid-up stores —
However convenient this dwelling,
we cannot remain here.
However sheltered this port,
and however calm these waters
We must not anchor here;
Together! The inducements shall be greater;
We will sail pathless and wild seas;
We will go where winds blow,
Waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by
Under full sail.
Forward! After the great Companions!
And to belong to them. They too are on the road!
Onward! To that which is endless,
As it is beginningless,
To undergo much,
tramps of days, rests of nights,
To see nothing anywhere
but what you may reach it and pass it.
To look up or down no road
but it stretches and waits for you —
To know the universe itself as a road —
As many roads —
As roads for traveling souls.
Sit for another minute of silence, then say,
When you are ready, please bring your focus back into this room and join our check-in.