Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of the story, "Flame of Learning, Chalice of Love"
- A copy of Leader Resource 1, Unitarian Service Committee Chalice
- Item(s) with images of the Unitarian Universalist chalice symbol including the two connecting circles
- Optional: A copy of the story, "Circles of Light"
- Optional: “Circles of Light” coloring sheet, and crayons
Preparation for Activity
- Read and print out the interactive story, "Flame of Learning, Chalice of Love." Be prepared to present the story.
- Print out Leader Resource 1, Unitarian Service Committee Chalice, which shows the original, one-circle chalice symbol of the Unitarian Service Committee.
- Gather items such as a hymnbook, a congregational newsletter, or an order of service that show the Unitarian Universalist chalice symbol with two connecting circles. If you will also do Activity 2, Connecting Circles, keep these items handy to show participants again.
- Optional: Print the coloring sheet and copy for all participants. Place coloring sheets and crayons where children can use them when invited but will not be distracted beforehand.
- Optional: Read the story, "Circles of Light," and/or other background materials to learn more about the creation of the chalice symbol during World War II. You can find additional resources about the chalice symbol in the Find Out More section of this session.
Description of Activity
In this activity, children explore the importance of the chalice symbol. Although some participants may have already heard the story of the Unitarian Universalist symbol, and you will return to it later in this session if you do Activity 2, Connecting Circles, the story has a special purpose here. Use the story to build children's understanding of symbols of faith - why we need them, and what makes a good symbol.
As children sit in a circle, tell the story slowly, so they have time to put the words they hear into images.
When you finish the story, lead a discussion with these questions:
- Why did the Unitarians need a symbol?
- What are some other reasons it might be useful for a faith community to have a symbol?
- Can you think of other symbols for faith communities? (You may prompt participants by mentioning the Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David, or another faith symbol that you are comfortable explaining accurately and simply.)
- Does a symbol have to always be a picture?
- What did the circle symbolize when the Austrian artist drew the first symbol, during World War II?
- Why do you think a circle is used to show protection? Why is a circle used to show love?
Including All Participants
Offer children the opportunity to color the illustration provided for “Circles of Light” to engage different learning styles and to help children focus on or relate to the story. A coloring activity can be a "preview" of a story. It can work as a quiet activity to help children physically settle. You might use it afterward to help the group recall and respond to the story.