Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Circle of Trees: A Multigenerational Program about Nourishing Deep Connections with Nature


Part of Circle of Trees

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice and LED/battery-operated candle
  • Cloth for altar or centering space
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape

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 with a cloth.
  • Write the chalice lighting words on newsprint, and post.

Description of Activity

This activity introduces the opening circle and chalice lighting words and gives participants an opportunity to learn each other's names. Always include introductions and encourage the wearing of name tags to alleviate anxiety of people of any age who have difficulty remembering names!

Gather participants in a circle around the chalice. Explain that each workshop starts with lighting the chalice. For this first workshop, you may wish to invite the youngest participant to light the chalice. Say, in these words or your own:

Whenever we light a chalice, we are connected with Unitarian Universalists around the world who share this ritual of our faith. Our chalice lighting words are adapted from words by an anonymous writer which are sometimes attributed to Chief Seattle, a chief of the Duwamish tribe in the 19th century in the area we know today as the state of Washington. These words speak of our connection with nature and all life.

Invite the group to join you in saying the chalice lighting words you have posted:

We light this chalice for the air that is precious . . .

for all things share the same breath-

the beast, the tree, the person,

we all share the same breath.

Welcome everyone to the Circle of Trees program. Invite participants to say their names and to very briefly answer the question, "What brings you to a program called Circle of Trees?" Go around the circle until everyone has introduced themselves.

Briefly describe the program, in these words or your own:

Circle of Trees is a series of workshops designed to help us slow down and connect more deeply with the interdependent web of life by focusing on trees. We'll explore the many roles that trees play in the web of life and what we can do to support and protect them.

Including All Participants

If any participants may be hard of hearing, consider using a hand-held microphone. If participants will sit on the floor, also provide chairs for those who cannot or do not wish to sit on the floor.