Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Activity 5: WIT Time - Inside, Outside Masks

Activity time: 17 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Handout 2, Making Soul Masks
  • Heavy, plain 11"x14" card stock or paper plates
  • Scissors (including left-handed scissors)
  • Fine-point color markers
  • Optional: Single hole-puncher and string
  • Optional: Long wooden craft sticks

Preparation for Activity

  • Place art supplies on work tables.
  • Copy Handout 2 for all participants.
  • This activity invites participants to make simple paper masks. Feel free to create more complex masks if you have the time and experience.

Description of Activity

Youth explore their own souls by making simple masks. Introduce it with words spoken by Reverend Mykel Johnson at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland, Maine:

Each of us has a mask we wear. There is a face we present to the world, perhaps more than one, which is not quite the same as the face inside of us.

Tell the group, when Reverend Johnson said these words, she held up a mask. On the outside were words like "woman" and "man," reflecting what people might see on the outside when they look at another person. On the inside of the mask were more mysterious words reflecting the inner person, words like "wisdom," "healer," "music," "goddess" and "meditate."

Here is more of what Rev. Johnson told her congregation:

It is a central purpose of the spiritual journey to learn to become our true selves, to share our true story and song. Whatever masks we wear, whatever roles we take on with society, we are called to look on the inside of the mask to see what is hidden there, what is waiting to be revealed. In some traditions, this inner side of the mask is called the soul. And even when we have sung our songs, and told our stories, the soul continues to be shy at times, to hide itself or reveal itself in mysterious ways.

Ask the group to think about that. Then distribute Handout 2, and invite youth to decorate the outside and inside of their own, simple masks.

When they have finished, let them put on their masks and walk around and display the outsides to each other. Invite them, if they like, to share some of what they have written on the insides of the masks. (Some may like to share with a few peers near them, rather than with the whole group.)

Re-gather the group. Ask if making the masks is a good way to think about their souls. Do they believe they have an inner side that nobody else sees? Might they, in the future, share the inner side? How, when, with whom?