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


Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Set up chalice.
  • Write the words of James Vila Blake's covenant on newsprint, and post:

Love is the spirit of this church,

and service its law.

This is our great covenant:

To dwell together in peace,

To seek the truth in love,

And to help one another. - James Vila Blake

  • Print out Leader Resource 1 and cut the Golden Rule sayings into strips. Or, write each saying on an individual strip of construction paper.
  • Place the paper strips with Golden Rule sayings near the chalice.
  • Pre-arrange for one of the participants to be the Golden Rule reader (or invite a guest to join the group for this). Give the reader a copy of the Golden Rule sayings to look over and practice reading ahead of time so they are comfortable with the words.

Description of Activity

The opening activity brings participants together for a chalice-lighting ritual which honors the coming together of this community in the spirit of love, and reintroduces the Blake covenant.

Invite a participant to light the chalice. Lead the group to read aloud the Blake covenant:

Love is the spirit of this church

And service its law.

This is our great covenant:

To dwell together in peace,

To seek the truth in love,

And to help one another.

Continue by saying something like:

Today we continue to explore how we come together in the spirit of love. We will learn a new way to show that "love is the spirit of this church."

Ask participants if any are familiar with the Golden Rule and know what it means. Affirm or explain that the Golden Rule, also known as the ethic of reciprocity, is often stated as:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Ask if participants know what religion this comes from. Some may say "Christian" or "Jewish." Tell them that this wording comes from Hebrew scripture (in the Book of Leviticus), this notion is also central to Jesus' teachings and some form of this ethic of reciprocity exists in all major religions of the world. As a result, we consider it a universal value which is affirmed by people of all religious faiths.

Ask your Golden Rule reader to present each of the sayings, one by one with pauses in between, as participants take turns coming forward to take a strip of paper with a Golden Rule saying on it and hang it on the wall or your wall hanging.

When all the sayings have been posted, invite reflection with questions such as:

  • Which one is your favorite?
  • Are there any you do not like?
  • How does the difference in wording reflect the values of the religious traditions?
  • Why do you think so many religions have come up with the same idea, even if it is phrased a bit differently?

Including All Participants

It may be tempting to select the best reader of the group to be your designated reader. However, if you distribute the Golden Rule sayings ahead of time, a participant who might normally be uncomfortable reading in front of a group can take the time to practice at home and learn the words they need to read. This can be an empowering experience for someone who normally struggles with reading aloud and give them a chance to shine in an area which is usually challenging for them.