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

Faith In Action: Peace Vigil

Materials for Activity

  • Tapered candles, paper cups or plates, lighter and extinguisher
  • Poster board or card stock and thick, bold markers
  • Handout 1, Peace Vigil Permission Form
  • Hymnbooks or lyrics to songs to be sung at the peace vigil

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide when and where to hold the peace vigil. Reserve the space you want to use and apply for permits, if necessary.
  • If the peace vigil will take place off your congregation's property:
    • Distribute permission slips to participants' parents and guardians well ahead of time. Ask your religious educator for a permission form, or adapt Handout 1.
    • Arrange for transportation; you might ask parents/guardians to bring their children directly to the vigil site and either join the vigil or return at a designated time to pick children up.
  • Send detailed reminder postcards or emails to parents and participants a week before the vigil.
  • Invite some participants to create a speech or poem that they can offer during the peace vigil or invite some guests to do so.
  • Prepare to lead the group in singing peace songs. If you are not comfortable as a song leader, invite a musical adult volunteer to take that role.

Description of Activity

Punch a hole through the paper cups or plates and slip the tapered candles through. Encourage participants to make signs to show what the peace vigil is about. At the designated time, light the tapers and ask the speakers to present their words or their poems. Then, lead some songs about peace such as Hymn 95, "There is More Love Somewhere" and Hymn 100, "I've Got Peace Like a River" in Singing the Living Tradition. You might create a display of the lit candles and the signs (make sure candles will be monitored throughout the vigil). End the vigil by blowing out the candles.

After the peace vigil, invite group reflection with questions such as:

  • While we were together, did it feel like we were "dwelling together in peace"? Why?
  • What message did the songs we sang have for us about "dwelling together in peace"?
  • What places that need peace do the songs make you think about? It might be a place where war is happening someplace in the world. It might be a place you know personally that needs peace. Are these messages meaningful to you personally? Why or why not?
  • Were these messages realistic? Why or why not?

Including All Participants

Have an extinguisher handy as well as a first aid kit whenever you are using an open flame.