Touch Groups and Worship

FallCon 2016


A note to the touch group leaders,


Congratulations and thank you for choosing to be a touch group leader at this fall con! Being a touch group leader is an important part of con and is a meaningful position in the community. Because I worked both on touch groups and worships there will be some overlap and the touch groups may get a little content heavy; additionally I encourage you to attend the worships. Because of the heaviness your group may feel a little overwhelmed with the critical thinking and the questions that are asked. Which is why I am giving your group the option of not only responding in discussion, but in art as well. As you lead your group through the activities give them the option or opportunity to respond how they feel is most appropriate for them. Along with your candle you should receive various art materials for your group to create with. All I ask is that you are mindful and respectful of people and your space. If your group members or whole group create something and wish to share it with the rest of con please let me know and I will incorporate it into one of the worships. If you have any questions at all about touch groups feel free to let me know and I will do my best to help you and your touch group have an amazing and insightful time.









Opening words & Chalice lighting: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” - Marcus Garvey

Welcome to FallCon 2016! This touch group is primarily for your group to get to know each other. So if someone in your group hasn’t ever been to a con welcome them and give them a little introduction to what con is and what it means to you in your check in.



  • Name/Pronouns

  • How many cons?

  • Where are you from?

  • If you could have an arm and a hand coming out of your forehead or a foot coming out of your back, which one and why?


Discussion/Activity: Get to know the people in your groups!

  • What do you feel is the greatest accomplishment of your life so far?

  • What is your most treasured memory?

  • Do you collect anything?


Suggested art: make your mailbag


Closing words & extinguish chalice: “All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.” - Saint Teresa of Avila




Chalice Lighting: We come from our past, as much as our past comes from us. Decisions we make both influence the course of our future, and change how we perceive what has already happened.


Worship Etiquette/welcome to worship: Thank you all for coming to this weekend. We are coming together to learn more of where we come from, and who we are. We come from many places, with many lives that are unique and all their own. With all of our differences we all have our own struggles. This is intended to be a place of support, if you have anything that you would like us to help you carry, I invite you to speak it now as you are comfortable. [silence, allow space for people to speak, adjust further plans depending on how long talking takes]


{Pass candles around electric candles}


The flaming chalice has long been the symbol of the Unitarian Universalist church. It means different things for different people. For me it has always symbolized a light to guide the way through hard or dark times. As with all fire the beauty of the candle is that when sharing the light it gets brighter. I will light my candle from our chalice and pass it along- if you like, share what being a part of this community means to you and the symbolism the chalice holds for you as you pass the glow around the circle.


{Individual candles are lit around the circle}


[list of ideals/feelings] Ideals and feelings like these are universal around the world and are sought after and practiced in many ways, traditions, and religions. Where we put our shared meanings and the way we express our shared attitudes towards them are what connects us as Unitarian Universalists and under the wide umbrella of humanity. Let us take a moment to appreciate the connection we have here, in this space, and the meaning that being UU has to us as a group.


Closing Song: Spirit of Life. Say that we will continue in song and that people are free to stay or go as they wish.




TOUCH GROUPS (morning):

Opening words & Chalice lighting: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. - 7th UU Principle


  • How was are you feeling?

  • How is con going for you?

  • Anything you want to share with the group?


Follow up questions from worship:

  • Where do you find meaning in your life?

  • Where do you get your meaning?

  • How long have you thought of it this way?



  • Theme of CON: “Roots”

  • Where do your roots come from? Where is your family from? What do you consider the center of your roots? (discuss)

  • Where do our (as UUs) roots come from? Where do we as UU's take our faith/spiritualism from? (discuss)

  • Please read the six-sources of UUism (as stated by the UUA website):

    • 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;

    • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;

    • Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;

    • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

    • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;

    • Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.


  • Discussion questions: Any sources you were surprised by? Any that spark thoughts? Are any/all/none of these sources of your spiritual journey?


Suggested art: make something that represents you, your roots, and your journey


Closing words & extinguish chalice: “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.” - Victor Hugo


TOUCH GROUPS (evening):

Opening words & Chalice lighting: Each person say a one word emotion that comes to them


  • How was con for you?

  • What will you take away from this con?

Follow up questions from worship:

  • How do you feel connected to others?

  • Who in this community is important to you?

  • Who outside this community is important to you?



  • Let that transform into a freeform discussion and do what you feel like doing

    • Talk, relax, drink caffeine, tell each other jokes, laugh

    • Take care of yourselves, self care is important too


Suggested art: make something that represents your inner connectedness



Chalice Lighting: Have you ever thought of our faith as an ancestral tree? It can be awe-inspiring to see the numerous roots and branches that make up our religious family. The "roots" of the tree are the values we hold dear, such as reason, tolerance, and freedom, hope, faith and love. These roots have brought forth many ancestors, carrying these values out into the world. Though they have passed before us, they are still somehow with the family, kept alive in memories and stories, or the values they passed on to us. This is the trunk, from which the tree gets its strength. It is what unites us, perhaps in name, but also those very stories, memories and values that endure.


{If people created art they want to share with the community this is the time}


I want you to think for a moment about some of the important people in our own lives that have helped shape our faiths.


{Moment of silence}


It is important to remember those people, those connections as you move through your life, valuing and recognizing their contribution instead of mistaking your own luck as your own success. Doing such will help you move forward and keep those connections as well as foster new ones throughout your life.


Please read with me this call and response by Mother Teresa: “Love cannot remain by itself-it has no meaning. // Love has to be put into action and that action is service. // Whatever form we are, able or disabled, rich or poor, is is not how much we do, // but how much love we put in doing; a lifelong sharing of love with others”.


Closing Words: The congregation in which you find yourself is grounded, rooted in values and supported by a history of thoughtful, courageous, and unyielding people. It continues to grow and change, but will always be there to shelter and protect its members. You are the birds in the tree. You have taken in the fruits of the tree. Through music and stories and friendships and conversations and actions, you have absorbed the essence of the UU tradition, been nourished by it and what it has to give. But the time will come for each of you to take flight. The tree and its fruits cannot tell you in what direction to fly. They can, however, give you hope, courage, sustenance, a place to look out and see the possibilities, and of course, a place to which you may always return home. --Author: Greta Anderson





Sunday Morning:



Chalice Lighting: "Humans are part of the web of life. What we do to the planet, what we do to other species and what we do to other people, we end up doing to ourselves."


How are we connected to each other? How are we connected to the earth? The universe? How can keep these connections?  


{If people created art they want to share with the community this is the time}


Closing Words: Our closing words are from Lyn Cox’s Bring Us Close to the Earth

“Spirit of Life, Ground of our being, Root of unified mystery Growing into myriad branches of expression, Bring us together now. Bring us close to the earth, Ear to the whispering grass, Quietly, Attentively, Waiting with slow breaths, Listening for the very stones to cry out With their rocky stories of Tectonic plates meeting and parting meeting. Their mineral memories of Hadean days, molten rocks flowing and joining Their ancient legends of Stars born out of the collapse of other stars Help us to remember. Help us to piece together Our oneness with matter, Our one-ness that matters. With one more deep breath, May we rise, star-stuff walking and rolling. Across the surface of an impossible blue-green planet. May we join together to heal what is divided. May we find wholeness within, without, among, between. Eternal Source, Seed of the Universe, help us to grow peace. So be it. Blessed be. Amen.”