Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Chalice Children: A Program about Our Unitarian Universalist Community for Preschoolers

Leader Resource 2: Special Worship Service Basic Elements

Materials for Activity

  • Items needed for the service
  • Service altar items
  • Materials for a supplementary, sensory activity
  • Optional: Digital camera or smartphone

Preparation for Activity

  • Choose an activity to supplement the special worship service, ideally one with a sensory component (sight, touch, taste, smell). You can search the Tapestry of Faith online curricula for ideas (use the search feature with keywords such as "blessing of animals," "building dedication," etc. and choose "activity" for "type of resource"). Remember that these activities will need to be adapted for preschoolers.
  • Gather the materials for the supplementary activity you have chosen.
  • Choose a short reading or simple hymn for the service. Consult the Topical Index of Readings/Hymns in the back of Singing the Living Tradition for suggestions. You could also use a reading from your own congregation's special worship service resources. If the words of a reading seem too sophisticated for preschoolers, revise as needed.
  • Decide where to hold the special service, and set up a service altar with the items you will need.
  • Adapt each element of the session to reflect your special worship service. You will need to add new language to Activity 3, Circle Time; Activity 4, Story; the final words of the Closing, and Taking It Home. You may also wish to introduce a new song or game in Activity 6, Circle Games.

Description of Activity

Invite the children to join you at the area you have set up for the ceremony. Have them sit in a circle. Tell them that they are going to role-play a special worship service. Say what the service is called (for example, "a blessing of the animals"). Briefly describe what happens in the service and state in simple terms how the ceremony connects to our Unitarian Universalist faith.

Role-play the special worship service. Include a reading or hymn in your ceremony. Give the children opportunities to participate in the service.

Wrap up the ceremony with closing words, and invite the children to participate in the sensory activity you've chosen on the special worship theme, to reinforce their experience. Engage everyone to help with clean-up.

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility challenges, you could conduct the role-play in a circle of chairs to make it easier to include a wheelchair or for a child to sit while wearing leg braces. Consider accessibility issues for any activity you choose.