Activity 4: Community Rituals
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Optional: Stoles
Preparation for Activity
- Write the Opening words used in this session on newsprint, and post.
- On another sheet of newsprint, write the Closing words for this session, and post.
- Post a blank sheet of newsprint.
- In the Description of Activity, read the options for rituals the group might design. Decide whether you will present these options (and/or others) and let the children choose, or simply tell the group the ritual they will design.
Description of Activity
Children create a ritual to use in future sessions.
Our Signs of Our Faith group is a community within the larger community of our congregation. The congregation has many rituals. What rituals does our Signs of Our Faith community have?
Affirm rituals, including your Opening and Closing rituals and the telling of a story at every gathering. Do children have a snack each time they meet? Do they receive a Taking It Home handout? If the children spend time in the congregational worship service each time they meet, perhaps for a Time For All Ages, mention this.
Now say, in these words or your own:
A ritual is an action done the same way every time. However, it is fine for a group to make changes to a ritual. Sometimes a change can help us connect with why we do the ritual in the first place. Sometimes new people in a group have ideas that can make a ritual more meaningful for them as well as for others in the group. Changing a ritual together can make everyone in the group feel even more like they belong.
Lead the group to create a ritual. Solicit suggestions, adding yours if needed. Use newsprint to record ideas. Guide a consensus process. Write the new ritual on paper to share with all co-leaders and the religious educator; make a note of any new materials that will be needed and assign a co-leader to obtain them before the next session. Lead the children to practice the new ritual.
Option 1: Ritual for New Participants in the Signs of Our Faith Group
Children create a simple ritual for new members. It could be signing a scroll and receiving a stole, followed by everyone present introducing themselves and saying, "Welcome." Practice the new ritual by "inducting" all the children who are present. Make sure you tell your fellow session leaders about the new ritual so it will be included in future sessions.
Option 2: New Opening and Closing Rituals
Invite the group to change the Opening and Closing rituals. Remind children that the Opening signals the community coming together and the Closing signals the temporary breaking apart of the community until the next meeting. New rituals need to honor this coming together and going apart. Encourage the children to include their stoles in a new ritual.
Option 3: Ritualizing Snack Time
If the group has a regular snack, brainstorm ritual elements to add. Could they say a grace? Sing a clean-up song? How is the snack usually served? Does one person serve the entire community with participants taking turns? Does everyone serve the person on their right? Would the group like to decorate special plates to hold snack?