Unitarian "Universe Focus"

Spring 2001 / Milton, Massachusetts, USA / Bonita Penfold, D.Min.

Celebrating the wonder of the universe

This project took place at a Unitarian Universalist church in Milton, Massachusetts during the one hour children's programming in the spring of 2001.

For three weeks before our "Happy Birthday-Universe Focus" occurred, the 3rd through 8th graders were divided at random into three groups. Each group walked our canvas labyrinth, prepared group mandalas using the process described on The Mandala Project website, and made personal mandalas during the three weeks. We talked about microcosm to macrocosm in nature, walked the labyrinth with a meditation on finding our personal gifts, and used those two ideas to prepare personal mandalas.

We used pictures of nature and natural objects and showed the children mandalas from the book, Mandalas of the World, by Rudiger Dahlke. We emphasized two of our Unitarian Universalist sources, that of science and nature and wonder and awe, and celebrated our place as part of the Universe.

We had about 50 children participating over the three weeks. The finished group mandala was displayed on our bulletin board and the individual mandalas were hung as part of the final church service for the project. Several of the children commented that this part was their favorite activity during the year.