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 hymn book, 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 to use, on newsprint, and post.
- If needed, obtain a basket to hold slips of paper with alternate opening words. Download and adapt Session 1, Leader Resource 1, Opening Words. Print it and cut so that each reading is on a separate slip of paper. Place slips of paper in basket.
Description of Activity
This ritual welcoming reminds each participant of the relational nature of the group experience. Gather children in a circle near the table with the chalice. Invite children to take a deep breath and release it, to create a deep silence for a moment.
Ask a volunteer to choose a reading from the Opening Words Basket and read the selection aloud. As the words are read, 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.
You may follow the chalice lighting with a hymn. Invite participants to sing a hymn or refrain commonly done in your congregation. This is a way to help children grow in their understanding of and belongingness to congregational life. Many congregations sing "Spirit of Life," Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition. If you do not sing, use a bell to signal the group to still themselves for another moment of silence.
If you are extinguishing the chalice now, 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 inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop. The bookstore orders from an outside publisher, so order several weeks ahead.