Tapestry of Faith: Love Connects Us: A Program on Living in Unitarian Universalist Covenant for Grades 4-5

Activity 4: Sharing Joys and Concerns

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Votive candles or tea lights, and a lighter and extinguisher; or, a set of LED/battery-operated votive candles, enough for all participants
  • Optional: A large, clear bowl and a selection of stones on a large plate (at least one for each participant)

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide whether to use candles or stones and obtain needed materials. The clear bowl of water and the plate of stones from the session Opening may serve very well.
  • Set up the candles, the tray of sand, and the lighter and extinguisher near the chalice. Or, re-set the clear bowl of water and the plate of stones from the Opening.

Description of Activity

This sharing ritual is an important way many Unitarian Universalist congregations bring people together in community. It invites members to voice what is happening in their lives and hearts, and helps listeners understand who needs extra help and support.

Invite participants to come forward and either light a candle or select a stone to drop in the bowl of water. Encourage them, as they do so, to share a few brief words about either an important joy in their life or a recent sorrow which is troubling them. To conclude the ritual, light one final candle for "all the joys and concerns which remain unspoken but which we keep in our hearts."

Including All Participants

Make it clear that sharing is voluntary; participants who feel uncomfortable sharing in the group may choose to pass. If any participant cannot move forward to light a candle or drop a stone in the bowl, invite one participant to light all of the candles or drop a stone as each joy or concern is shared. Setting the candles or stones in the center of a circle rather than on a table up front might make it easier for someone with limited mobility to participate.

As with any activity which involves sharing personal thoughts, some participants may feel uncomfortable. Remind the group that it is always okay to pass and that it is important to respect the person who is sharing by listening to their words without interruption, comment, or judgment.