3rd-5th Grade‎ > ‎


Toolbox of Faith: Expression

Materials for Council Circle

  • Tool of the Day — a paintbrush
  • Chalice, candle, and matches
  • One tea light or votive candle of a different color
  • Glass bowl, water, and polished pebbles (for all participants, plus one extra) for alternative to council candles in tray
  • Toolbox of Our Faith poster

Description of Activity

Light the chalice and Offer these words:

We are Unitarian Universalists

with minds that think,

hearts that love,

and hands that are ready to serve.

Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Invite participants to share important things in their lives. What they share may or may not be related to the session topic and discussion.
Invite participants to drop a stone into the bowl when they share. End the sharing by adding one last stone for unspoken joys and concerns.
Introduce the Tool of the Day
Hold up the tool of the day, tell the children what it is called, and pass it around the circle. As the children pass it, invite them to share their own experiences with paintbrushes.
Lead a discussion to introduce the paintbrush as a symbol of the value of expressing our inner selves. Ask, "What do you think makes this a Unitarian Universalist tool?" Allow participants to share ideas. Affirm that there is no one answer.
Explain that the paintbrush represents the expression of our inner thoughts and lives. Say, in your own words:
Unitarian Universalism is a faith that that will help you express your inner voice and your inner thoughts. This is a key part of growing in faith and deepening in religious understanding. One of the sources of our faith comes from the direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life. One of our Principles says that Unitarian Universalism values acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. We use personal expression as a way to grow spiritually. (copied and pasted from the opening activity)
Read or retell the story attached. Discuss the story using the following questions.

Invite participants to reflect on their own experiences of personal expression. Ask them to pass the Tool of the Day as a talking stick. You may offer these questions:

How might you express your inner thoughts or inner life if you were very sad? Very happy?
What are some other ways that you express yourself? (copied and pasted from the council circle specific to the week).
Read this benediction:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.
— Christian scripture (Romans 12)
Extinguish the Chalice.
Continue with the following activities:

Word Bodies

Responding to Music with Paint