Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Large mirror, and a cloth to cover it
- Handout 1, A Faithful UU Leader Is...
- White ribbons and safety pins
- Recording of the song "We Are the Ones (We've Been Waiting For)" by Sweet Honey in the Rock, and a music player
Preparation for Activity
- Adapt the ceremony as needed. You may wish to download the Description of Activity to your own computer to insert the names of the leaders and any guests who will read particular parts. You can also insert the names of the children and notes about actions such as distribution of the children's stoles. Make a copy of the ceremony for each person who will have a role in leading it.
- Invite participant's families to take part in the ceremony or invite a few congregational elders and younger children to the ceremony. Schedule the ceremony for after worship to ensure a good turnout. If one of the congregational elders is also a leader (such as the religious educator, minister, or board president), consider asking them to read part of the words of the ceremony (Leader Resource) and give them their part ahead of time.
- Obtain a recording of the Sweet Honey in the Rock performing "We Are the Ones" (2:51). You can purchase the song from an online music store such as iTunes. Set up and test the music player. Cue the song.
- Arrange the room for the number of participants and guests you expect. Make sure everyone seated will be able to see the centering table and chalice, and the mirror, and that individual participants can easily come forward to receive their stole. Place stoles near the centering table. Take care that anyone with mobility challenges or using crutches or a wheelchair will be able to navigate the space.
- Position the mirror, then cover it with a cloth.
- Set out refreshments.
- Optional: Plan to teach participants and guests to sing "We Are the Ones." You might invite a song leader to help. The song has simple lyrics that can be sung in one, two, or more overlapping melodies. Hear Sweet Honey in the Rock sing it here.
Description of Activity
Participants and guests celebrate the end of the program. Participants are recognized as UU leaders.
Gather the group.
Welcome everyone. Thank visitors for joining in a closing ceremony that celebrates the participants' work in the Signs of Our Faith program.
Conduct the ceremony:
We have shared many stories together-stories about different Unitarian Universalists and the signs of their faith. Our participants discovered there are many ways to show our UU faith-as many ways as there are UUs.
Today's story was about Antoinette Brown, one of our first Unitarian women ministers, and Olympia Brown, the first Universalist woman minister. They are part of our UU legacy. They are two of our UU ancestors. But we have many more: people of all genders, all ethnicities and races, all cultures, all affectional orientations, and all economic classes. Because our UU ancestors kept the faith alive, we have inherited it to keep alive, too. The children have learned to recognize the signs that we are living our faith, and keeping it alive. Signs like the activities we do and the ways we act in our congregation, the ways we relate to one another and the world as we live our daily lives, and how we treat ourselves.
The children wear stoles in our group as a sign that they are UU worship leaders. The stoles show our dedication to being faithful leaders not just in our UU faith community, but at home, at school, with friends, with newcomers we must welcome, and in the world community.
Signs group, do you remember the story about the birds that were looking for a leader, the Simorgh? At the end, the birds discovered that they were the leaders. [Session 9 story, "The Journey of the Birds"] It's possible something like that has happened in our very group.
[LEADER 2 uncovers the mirror.]
As we call your name, please come forward, accept your stole, and look into the mirror. Envision yourself as part of a long line of UUs: a line that extends into the past and into the future. It is the signs of our faith that hold us together.
As each child looks into the mirror, I will lead us all to say together: "Thank you for being a faithful UU leader."
[LEADER 1: Call each child by name, place their stole around their neck, and turn the child to face the mirror. As each child faces the mirror, lead the group to say "Thank you for being a faithful UU leader." LEADER 2 may assist by handing stoles to LEADER 1 and, as the last child receives a stole, distributing Handout 1, A Faithful Leader Is... ]
Please join in reading together from the handout: A Faithful UU Leader Is...
[Alternately, direct volunteers to each read a line from the handout.]
We have one last item to add to everyone's stoles. White ribbons. In the story today, we heard how Antoinette Brown wore a white ribbon to remind her to be strong and courageous in her faith journey. May the white ribbons we give you today remind you to be strong, courageous faithful leaders in Unitarian Universalism.
[Play the recording of Sweet Honey in the Rock's "We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For." Invite the gathering to sing along. You might invite or lead participants to dance once they have received their white ribbon. Pin a white ribbon on the stole of each participant.]