Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Chalice or LED/battery-operated candle
- Large, round mirror to hold the chalice
- Reflective materials, such as beads or pieces of stained glass
- Newsprint, markers and tape
- Opening Words Basket and opening words (see Session 1, Leader Resource 1)
- Optional: A copy of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook, Singing the Living Tradition
- Optional: Bell, chime or other sound instrument
Preparation for Activity
- Set up the chalice on the mirror to enhance its reflection. The chalice may be filled with reflective materials, such as beads or pieces of stained glass, to represent the idea of light, reflection and mirrors.
- Write the words to "Spirit of Life," Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition, or another hymn you prefer, on newsprint, and post somewhere everyone can see it.
- Obtain a basket to hold numerous slips of paper with opening words. Print Session 1, Leader Resource 1, Opening Words for Basket; cut out the short readings and place them in the basket. Of course, feel free to add your own.
- Prepare to lead the group in singing "Spirit of Life," or another song commonly sung in your congregation. Optional: Arrange to have someone else who is musical lead the singing, perhaps with instrumental accompaniment.
Description of Activity
This ritual welcoming reminds participants of the relational nature of the group experience. 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.
Ask a volunteer to take a reading from the Opening Words Basket and read it aloud. Invite another volunteer to light the chalice. Then, lead a greeting:
Now we will take a moment to greet the people next to us. If you are next to someone who is new to our group, offer a welcome, tell them your first and last name, and learn their name.
Lead the group in singing the hymn you have chosen. Singing a congregational favorite helps children grow in their sense of belonging in congregational life.
If you choose not to sing, use a bell to signal the group to still themselves for another moment of silence.
Ask the child who lit the chalice to extinguish it. Ask the child who read the opening words to return the reading to the Opening Words Basket.
Including All Participants
If you have a non-sighted participant who reads braille, obtain the braille version of Singing the Living Tradition from UUA Bookstore. The bookstore orders from an outside publisher, so order several weeks ahead.