Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Chalice or LED/battery-operated candle
- Cloth for altar or centering space
- Leader Resource 1, Opening Words for Basket, and a basket
- Symbol of earth, such as a rock, bowl of dirt, crystal, etc
- Optional: A copy of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook, Singing the Living Tradition
Preparation for Activity
- Set up the chalice on the cloth to create an altar area or centering space.
- Print Leader Resource 1, Opening Words for Basket. Cut apart the short readings and place them in the basket. (Feel free to add additional readings throughout the program.)
- Print extra copies of Leader Resource 1, so you will be able to invite children to choose a reading in advance to read aloud in a future session's Opening. Keep some copies on hand throughout the program.
Description of Activity
The opening ritual for this program invites children to practice leadership and experience the power of a group coming together in sacred space.
Gather the children in a circle around the chalice. Invite them to take a deep breath and release it, and create a deep silence for a moment. Explain that today you will lead the opening circle, but in future meetings, members of the group will serve as leaders.
Select a reading from the Opening Words Basket and read it aloud. Then, place the earth symbol on the cloth, saying, "I bring this symbol of earth, the ground on which we all stand together." Light the chalice.
Invite participants to hold hands in a circle. Explain, in these words or your own:
Each time the group meets, we will focus on ways we find and express our power. As part of each opening circle, we will send a pulse of energy, or power, around the circle.
Begin the power pulse by squeezing the hand of the person on the left, who will then squeeze the hand of the person their left, followed by each person in rapid succession, sending the power pulse around the circle several times.
Conclude the power pulse, while still holding hands. Ask the group to take a deep breath together, bringing their hands up as they breathe in, and bringing their hands down as they breathe out.
Return the reading to the Opening Words Basket and extinguish the chalice.
Including All Participants
Participants who are uncomfortable being touched may be given the opportunity to opt out of the circle during the time when participants are holding hands for the power pulse.