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Come Into the Circle

Worshiping with Children

Michelle Richards

Come Into the Circle is a comprehensive how-to guide for creating meaningful religious experiences for children. A religious educator for ten years, Richards brings practical experience and a solid understanding of the spiritual needs of children to this useful and imaginative resource. The contents include suggestions on the form, style and elements of worship, plus an extensive collection of opening words and chalice lightings, meditations and prayers, stories, songs, sermons, and even complete orders of service to help you  get started planning your worship. The rich variety of prayers and other resources is evidence of the contribution to these pages made by Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious educators from around the country.

Michelle Richards is a religious education program consultant for the Central Midwest District and a credentialed religious educator. Previously, she was the director of religious education for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart, IN, for seven years and the chair of the Central Midwest District’s Religious Education Committee. 

Praise for Come Into the Circle

“Richards has taken the worry out of planning children's worship and replaced it with wisdom and joy. From setting worship goals, to choosing child friendly-hymns, to finding stories that illustrate our Principles, Come Into the Circle is a resource I'll be turning to again and again.”
—Phil Lund, lifespan program director, Prairie Star District

“Richards has gathered the best of the best, putting together theory and practice in a way that is accessible both to people with a lot of experience at children’s worship and those just putting their toes in the water.”
—Ann Barker, director of religious education, Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Appleton, WI

Come Into the Circle is both practical and inspirational, theoretical yet down-to-earth. Even after three decades in religious education work with children, I found myself eagerly turning the pages and alternately saying to myself, ‘Of course,’ and then excitedly, ‘Now there's something new I need to try.’”
—Randolph Becker, minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Key West, FL

“A gem for the bookshelves of every minister, religious educator, worship leader and church library, Come Into the Circle taps many different Unitarian Universalist voices, utilizing our Principles and Sources to invite our young people into a sense of their greater connection with one another and the universal.”
—Makanah Morriss, president of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) (2002-2005), director of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Religious Education Department (1992-1998)

“The extensive collection of chalice lightings, prayers, guided meditations and other child-friendly worship resources is a goldmine.”
—Colleen McDonald, minister of religious education, Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL

“The outline for a ‘Workshop on Setting Worship Goals’ alone is worth the investment.”
—Jeanne Nieuwejaar, author, The Gift of Faith

“Thank you, Michelle Richards, for Come Into the Circle.”
—Barbara Hamilton-Holway, co-minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, CA

For more information contact skinnerhouse @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

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