Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Faith In Action: International Forgiveness Day

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • Blank paper and pencils, crayons or markers for all participants
  • Optional: From the International Forgiveness Day website, handouts describing the organization's activities

Preparation for Activity

  • Optional: Prepare a few handouts that describe International Forgiveness Day activities.
  • Read the Truth and Reconciliation Report for the Children of Sierra Leone to learn how an entire society has worked to develop a justice and healing process that includes children. Even though it is written for children, the 62-page report is probably too dense and graphic to share in the session. Glean ideas you can apply to your leadership of this group, perhaps as a model for how your community or congregation could collectively nurture forgiveness.

Description of Activity

Explain that International Forgiveness Day, variously held on August 1 or the first Sunday of August, is a time when groups of people gather to ask and grant forgiveness. We do not need to wait until August to create a forgiveness event for our congregational community. Form small groups of at least four children, each with an adult facilitator if possible. Ask the children to brainstorm ideas for how the entire congregation could participate in a Forgiveness Day.

Give the small groups a few minutes to generate ideas. Then ask them to share in the larger group. Write down all the ideas. If no one has suggested it, propose that the day include a ceremony of writing Forgiveness Letters. Lead a discussion to shape a concrete proposal.

Now ask children to think about all the people they would need to help them organize a Forgiveness Day and write the names on the large sheet of paper. Decide when you might want to hold a Forgiveness Day with the larger church community. Make a commitment to propose Forgiveness Day to your religious educator and minister.