Materials for Activity
- Hardy flowers and/or plants in pots
- Garden tools (ask congregants to borrow planting supplies).
- Construction paper
- Markers and crayons of various colors
Preparation for Activity
- Meet with someone who is in charge of buildings and grounds. If there already is a memorial garden or cemetery on the congregation's property, ask about how the group can best add flowers, or help with a seasonal clean-up, if that is more appropriate and needed.
- Find out the answers to the first set of bulleted questions in the Description of Activity, so you can lead an informative discussion with the children.
- Obtain some hardy, potted flowers or plants that will thrive outdoors in your local climate.
- This activity may take longer than traditional Sunday morning permits. Arrange to either meet earlier and for longer, or on a different day altogether.
Description of Activity
Participants create or help maintain a congregational memorial garden.
Leadership in Action (LIA) activities provide opportunities for children to take the lead in an activity that engages with the congregation. Through these activities, young people begin to see themselves as leaders of their faith.
With the children, create a multigenerational activity that will either start something new in the congregation, or help maintain and enhance an existing memorial garden or cemetery. Lead a discussion about the importance of remembering and honoring those who came before us, and your congregation's traditions for doing so. You might use these questions:
- Does our congregation have memorial services? When was the last one?
- Does our congregation have a memorial garden?
- Does our congregation have a cemetery? If yes, how old is it? Who is buried there?
- Does our congregation have a memorial plaque where the names of deceased members are listed? If yes, who is responsible for adding the names, when the time comes? If not, is this something we can work on creating?
- In what other ways does our congregation remember and honor the dead?
- Why do we have memorials to those who passed away?
Introduce the memorial garden project with these words or your own:
The people in our Unitarian Universalist congregation take care of our place which has been taken care of by others before us. As a way of thanking them and honoring them, we will contribute to the memorial garden.
Lead the children to talk about how to prepare for this activity. What are the steps needed? Ask for volunteers to help with each aspect of the planning. Who would like to speak to the congregation's staff or committee in charge of buildings and grounds? Who would like to help make flyers? Who would like to ask the minister for time during the service to make an announcement?
Encourage participants to choose a way to show leadership. Invite them to do as much of the announcements and engagement with congregational leadership as is comfortable for them. Have participants make signs to post in the congregation to advertise the project and ask for help gathering supplies and plants. Children can ask congregational leaders to announce, print, or post online a request for supplies such as plants, flowers, dirt, and garden tools. Make sure an adult leader partners with participants who volunteer to approach or work with congregational adults.