Materials for Activity
- Flowers and vases
- "The Flower Festival" by Reginald Zottoli
- Handout 2, Flower Festival Readings
- Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey
- Flower seeds or tree saplings
- Planting tools
Preparation for Activity
- For Option 1, lead the Flower Festival: Arrange for a meeting with the congregation's worship leader(s) to propose that the youth lead the Flower Festival and to plan the service. Explain what the group experienced in the workshop on "Hope."
- For Option 2, plant a Hope Garden: Talk with the appropriate people in the congregation regarding planting on the grounds, and ask if there is a place where the youth could plant a Hope Garden. If choosing to plant a tree, research sources for tree saplings, and recruit volunteers from the congregation to help with and witness the planting. Arrange to borrow tools from the congregation for the project.
- A third, more ambitious option, is to do both. Youth can work with worship leaders to craft a Flower Festival service that culminates in the planting of a hope garden.
Description of Activity
The following activities are an opportunity for participants to share a message of hope with their congregation and the larger community.
Option 1: Lead the Flower Festival
This faith in action activity brings the Flower Festival that participants experienced in this workshop to the larger congregation, and is an opportunity for them to take an active role in worship leadership. Many congregations already celebrate a Flower Festival each year, but not all of these include youth involvement and leadership. Collaborate with the congregation's worship leader(s) to plan and lead a Flower Festival for the larger congregation. Try to involve as many youth as possible in readings, music, and actions. Resources include: "The Flower Communion" by Reginald Zottoli; Handout 2, Flower Festival Readings (which draws from the first resource); the Unitarian Universalist hymnbooks Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey; and the traditions of the congregation. If there are neighboring congregations that celebrate the Flower Festival, connect with youth there, find out if they have any resources to exchange, and invite them to be involved in the service.
Option 2: Plant a Hope Garden
Planting a garden is an act of hope. A gardener plants with faith that their efforts will yield new life. While the planters may not get to enjoy the garden in its full-grown beauty immediately, they are planting for the future and for the good of the environment. As a group and in conversation with the congregational leadership, participants can decide where they would like to plant the garden. Recruit parents and other volunteers from the congregation to help with and be present at the planting. As a group, organize a ritual or ceremony to honor the hopefulness of the occasion.
The hope garden could also become part of the life of the congregation. Families with new babies might plant a new seed or seedling to symbolize their hopes for the child. Families that experience a death could plant new life to symbolize the hope their loved one gave to the world.