- Table or stand for chalice and worship materials, and a cloth to cover the table
- Chalice, candle, and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
- Four candles and a lighter; or, four natural objects such as pinecones, stones, or shells, and a container to hold them
- Bell or chime
- Prepare a visually appealing worship table. Arrange four unlit candles, or display the empty container with the four natural objects arranged near it.
- Optional: Customize the Taking It Home handout for your group before emailing or photocopying it.
- Copy Taking It Home for all participants, or plan to email it.
This worship time offers a model for leaders to acknowledge the stresses and challenges in the congregation while lifting up what supports and deepens the congregation’s vision and mission. It is a technique to help congregational leaders intentionally hold space for creative ideas and emerging leadership.
Distribute copies of Taking It Home.
I invite you to enter into a time of silence, and bring into your hearts and minds all those in the congregation and in our families who are facing challenges—the death of a loved one, difficulties with a child or an elderly parent, physical and mental health concerns, racial or gender-based marginalization or violence, sadness, job loss, financial difficulty.
Pause for a moment, and then ring the bell. While lighting one candle or putting one of the natural objects into the container, say:
We hold in our hearts and minds and prayers all those in the congregation who are facing a difficult time. In this moment, you are invited to speak the names of those we hold in thought and prayer.
Wait an appropriate interval while people speak. Then say:
I invite you to hold in your hearts and minds all those who have offered their gifts of love and service to the congregation. Enter into silence for a time and call to mind those who bring their creativity, their dedication, their labor, their financial support, and their passion to support the congregation and its mission and work in the world. Call to mind those who are newly emerging as leaders, both adults and youth, and feel your heart fill with gratitude for the gifts they bring.
After a minute, ring the bell. While lighting a second candle or putting the second object into the container, say:
We hold in our hearts gratitude for the many ways in which people bring their gifts to serve the mission of this congregation.
I invite you to hold in your hearts and minds the challenges faced by this congregation. Enter into silence for a time, and call to mind, one at a time, all the myriad issues facing the leadership at this time. In the silence of your heart, embrace the challenges, knowing that these are signs of a living institution.
After a minute, ring the bell. While lighting a third candle or putting the third object into the container, say:
In the silence, we number our challenges with humility, rejoicing in the opportunity to take our own turn in guiding this community in living the values of our liberal faith.
I invite you to embrace your role as leader, understanding that you and your spiritual well-being are crucial to the well-being of the congregation. In the silence, I invite you to honor your own spirit and your own service to your faith community.
After a minute, ring the bell. While lighting a fourth candle or putting the fourth object into the container, say:
We honor ourselves and one another as leaders in this faith community, and we embrace our need to care for our own spirits that we may serve with integrity and with love. So may it be.