3rd-5th Grade‎ > ‎


Toolbox of Faith: Power

Materials for Council Circle

  • Tool of the Day — a hammer
  • 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 hammer. Tell the children it is the Tool of the Day. Ask, "What do you think makes this a Unitarian Universalist tool?" Allow participants to share ideas. Affirm that there is truly no one answer. Then offer the explanation that the hammer can represent power. You might say:
Unitarian Universalism is a faith that values using our power to work for good. Unitarian Universalists support the importance of questioning as part of the democratic process. This is a key part of growing in faith and deepening in religious understanding. Unitarian Universalism values the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large, as our fifth Unitarian Universalist Principle states.
Another Unitarian Universalist Principle, the seventh, affirms that we are part of an interdependent web of all life. When one part of that web suffers injustice, the entire web suffers injustice. That is another reason we believe we should use our power for good. (copied and pasted from the opening activity)
Read or retell the story attached. Discuss the story using the following questions.
  • When are some times when you have used your power to do good?
  • When are some times when you could have, but did not? Why?

You may say:
Questioning authority is part of the democratic process. Sometimes, people break laws in order to prove that the laws are unjust. This is called "civil disobedience." When people decide to break a law that they consider immoral and unjust, they also choose to take the consequences for breaking the law. Taking the consequences � such as arrest and even jail � is part of the ethical use of civil disobedience.
An example of civil disobedience is stepping into the yard of a nuclear power plant to protest nuclear power, knowing you will be arrested. When many people choose to be arrested for a cause, the injustice receives attention in the news media, and it causes others to join the fight, or at least to think about the issues, and ultimately change laws or practices.
Throughout the history of the United States, questioning authority and civil disobedience have helped bring about change and make laws more just. Some examples are laws that protect civil rights, including voting rights, and laws that give working people a bigger say about their jobs by empowering labor unions.
Ask the group:
  • Do you think there are times when it is right to use violence to fight against injustice? Why or why not?
  • If you lived in Boston in October of 1850, and you knew where the slave-catchers from Georgia could find Ellen and William Craft, what would you do? Would you act differently if you were white than if you were black? Would you act differently if you were a grown-up, or a child?

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:

If I Had a Hammer

Games of Strength and Power