Activity time: 13 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Leader Resource 3, Letter to Parents - Ritual of Love and Remembering
- Heart-shaped stones, gems, or beads (or, any smooth stones)
- A decorative, shallow bowl
- A decorative vase
- A small table and a decorative cloth cover
- Chalice and matches, or battery-operated LED chalice
- Participants' memory flowers, made in Activity 3
- Optional: Photos or objects to honor dead loved ones
Preparation for Activity
- Download, adapt, and distribute Leader Resource 3 by mail or email at least one week before this session.
- Create an altar by draping the cloth over the table. Place the chalice, vase, and bowl on the centering table. Fill the bowl with heart-shaped stones, gems or beads.
Description of Activity
If you invited participants to bring in pictures or other objects to honor dead loved ones, have them place them on the centering table. Then, gather the children in a semi-circle, with their memory flowers. Say, in your own words:
One of the things we do together in this congregation is share our feelings with each other-when we are especially happy and when we are especially sad. When someone has died, we have special rituals for remembering them and celebrating their life.
Now we are going to have a ritual here. It is a time for us to share our memories of someone who has died or a time when we were especially sad. One at a time, we will each have a turn to put our flowers in the vase. Only one person should be standing at a time and everyone else should be listening. When it is your turn, you can tell us anything you want to about your flower and your memories and what you loved about the person or pet that died. If you do not want to say anything, that is okay, you can simply put your flower in the vase. After you put a flower in the vase, please sit back down and the next person will have a turn.
Ask if there are any questions.
When every child and adult has put a flower in the vase, say, in your own words:
We will keep this vase in our meeting room to help us remember that love is stronger than death and lasts long after death. Now, one at a time, we will each take a heart stone (or gem or bead) from the bowl on the table. When it is your turn, please go quietly to the table and choose a stone that you will take home with you.
When everyone has a stone, hold a stone up and say, in your own words:
Whenever someone loves us, that love stays alive in our hearts for the rest of our lives-even if they die. Take the heart you chose home with you, as a reminder that love lasts forever.
Including All Participants
Children will have had a variety of experiences with death. In addition, children will have varying levels of comfort in sharing their thoughts or feelings about death. Allow children to share as much or as little as they wish.