Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Chalice and LED/battery-operated candle
- Cloth for altar or centering space
- Group Covenant (Session 1)
- Chalice-Lighting Words (Session 1)
- Leadership Chart (Session 2)
Preparation for Activity
- Select an area where the group can comfortably sit in a circle.
- Create an altar or centering space for the chalice using a small table and a cloth.
- Display the Group Covenant and the Chalice-Lighting Words. Display the Leadership Chart from Session 2.
Description of Activity
The opening circle rituals reinforce the theme of interdependence and the web of life and provide leadership opportunities for participants.
Gather participants in a circle around the chalice. Using the Leadership Chart created in Session 2, assign roles for this session. Briefly describe each job. Explain that next time you meet the jobs will change and anyone who did not get a job today will have a chance during another session. Throughout the session, prompt those with leadership tasks at the appropriate times.
Remind the group that each session starts with the ritual of lighting the chalice. In these words or your own, say:
All around the world, Unitarian Universalists of all ages light chalices when they gather together. With this ritual, Unitarian Universalists are connected to one another, even though they might never meet each other. Now we will light the chalice, the symbol of our Unitarian Universalist faith; then say together our chalice-lighting words.
As needed, help the designated leaders light the chalice and lead the chalice-lighting words:
We light our chalice to honor the web of all life.
We honor the sun and earth that bring life to us.
We honor the plants and creatures of land, water, and air that nourish us.
And we honor each other, gathered here to share the wonder of our world.
-adapted from words by Alice Anacheka-Nasemann
Point to the covenant the group created in Session 1 and briefly review it. Invite any newcomers to sign their name. You might have the Welcoming Leader or Justice Leader invite newcomers to sign the covenant, if those roles have been assigned.
Remind the children that each time we meet, we will explore something about our seventh UU Principle: respect for the interdependent web of life. In these words or your own, say:
Today we will learn about kindness in our interdependent web of all existence. What do you think kindness is? [Invite responses.] Kindness is when you care about a person or animal who is sad, hurt or scared and you want to help them feel better.
Can you think of a time when an animal showed you kindness?
Including All Participants
At this age there is a very wide span in terms of reading abilities; point out words as you read them to the children, but do not expect them to be able to read.