Religious Ceremony Observance
Your task in this assignment is to observe a religious ceremony (any ritual, festival, or worship) and write a reflective paper about that experience.
You may observe a ceremony of a different denomination or sect of your religion as long as the ceremony is different in some way from what you are used to. For instance, if you are Roman Catholic, you can observe a Pentecostal worship service, as the liturgy is vastly different.
This assignment is about observation, not participation. You may observe a ceremony in video form, if necessary, but it is better to witness the ceremony first hand so that you may use all of your senses to describe the event.
Reflective writing is very similar to journal writing, but there is less focus on you as the writer, and more focus on the event and an academic reflection of that event. You are more likely to use readings from the course or other outside sources to support your analysis of the event.
Reflective writing consists of two main parts: a description and a reflection. The writer must first describe the event or situation that is the topic of the writing. The description should be objective—facts and detailed observations. Then the writer reflects on the experience with personal feelings and opinions, followed by an analysis of those feelings.
What is the point of reflective writing in an academic setting? Reflective writing helps you examine why you think the way you do and thereby provides a learning experience. By careful analysis of the facts of an event or situation, and then the same careful analysis of your own preconceived ideas and whether they are strengthened or changed by the experience, you will be able to gather and observe practical and personal evidence to support or challenge what might be an abstract idea in your profession or in the area of academics being studied.
This is one of the few times in academic writing when it is appropriate to write in the first person.
Checklist for reflective writing:
Detailed description of event or situation
o Use as many of the senses as appropriate in your description.
o Is there any background information known that would be relevant to share?
Analysis of the situation and of your feelings
o What were your initial thoughts?
o Are there any connections to be made between this experience and previous experiences?
o Has this experience changed your assumptions/values/attitudes/beliefs on the subject matter?
o What do your changed feelings/understandings about the topic imply for you personally or professionally?
Identification of future learning opportunities
o Reflect on how the insights you gained from creating this Reflection Paper might affect the way you view your actions and thoughts in the future.
It is important to understand that reflective writing is not a simple descriptive essay. It is an exercise in critical thinking and a method for creating meaning out a seemingly abstract concept.
Your response should be at least 400 words in length and use APA format (to include a title and reference page). No abstract is necessary. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.