Toolbox of Faith: Faith

Materials for Council Circle

  • Tool of the Day — a toolbox
  • 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 toolboxes.
During our time together we will discover all sorts of different tools of our faith, things that we learn about and adopt for our own growth. Examples include the tool of courage, the tool of questioning, and the tool of justice. Each session, we will be talking about a different tool. In the  first lesson, we introduced the ruler, which represents our covenant. The toolbox represents the many aspects of our Untiarian Universalist faith because can hold many tools. It also represents our faith in action. Tools don’t work if they just sit there - they have to be used. Today we are reading a story that demonstrates the use of symbols - why symbols are useful ways to communicate ideas.
(copied and pasted from the opening activity)
Read the Story: Beyond the Great Mountains: A visual poem of China by Ed Young
As you read, point out that this is a poem about China, and that the author uses chinese characters, which are symbols,  to describe the many aspects of China.
Sometimes the characters themselves are made of  other symbols put together.
The author’s note at the end is particularly interesting and explains why visual symbols are useful.

Invite participants to reflect about the story of this session as they pass the Tool of the Day as a talking stick. Offer the following questions:
  • How do we use symbols in our culture? What do they represent? Examples: tattoos use symbols to allow self expression. Road signs use symbols to help everyone understand what is ahead. Companies and Sports teams use symbols so people instantly recognize them.
  • Is there a symbol or a number of symbols that you identify with? What do they represent?
  • Can you think of another symbol we use as Unitarian Universalists? What does it represent? Ex: The Flaming Chalice also represents UU Faith - it comes from two tradtional religious symbols, the cup (or chalice) and flame. TheChalices, cups, and flagons can be found worldwide on ancient manuscripts and altars. The chalice used by Jesus at his last Passover seder became the Holy Grail sought by the knights of Wales and England. Sharing, generosity, sustenance, and love are some of the meanings symbolized by a chalice. As a sacrificial fire, flame has been a central symbol for the world's oldest scriptures, the Vedic hymns of India. Today, lights shine on Christmas and Hanukkah, eternal flames stand watch at monuments and tombs, and candles flicker in cathedrals, temples, mosques, and meeting houses. A flame can symbolize witness, sacrifice, testing, courage, and illumination.


In the toolbox of faith, we are using tools to symbolize the many aspects of our faith. Each tool is a picture, a visual representation of an idea that is tied to our Unitarian Faith. The Toolbox itself reminds us that many different tools can be found within it and they represent the many aspects of our faith, and that our faith is a faith in action -as Unitarians we put our Faith to work.

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:

Toolbox of Faith Poster

Toolbox of Faith Matching Game

Create Your Own Symbol