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Justice as a Family Value
General Assembly 2012 Event 424
Download the video file (MP4)
Speakers: Rev. Dr. Mark Belletini, Pat Kahn, Jessica York, Jolinda Stephens
Passion for justice, and skill-sets for justice-making all begin at home. What did you receive when you were growing up? What are you passing on? Together, we can unpack, with stories and creative examples, the way families of all kinds can deepen the work of justice in the world.
Watch the PowerPoint presentation (PDF, 45 pages) that accompanied this program.
Resources for Families and Congregations
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Resources
- Tapestry of Faith: stories, activities, Taking it Home, Faith in Action
- UU World Family Pages
UUA Bookstore: Family Life/Parenting section has many great resources including:
- Parent Trilogy: especially Parents as Social Justice Educators and Being a UU Parent
- Gift of Faith
- Tending the Flame (also a blog available)
- Social Action Heroes
- Parent Trilogy: especially Parents as Social Justice Educators and Being a UU Parent
- Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), now Quest for Meaning: For Families
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) Materials for Congregations
- Multigen curriculum on Haiti “Beyond the Mountain”
- Multigen Civil Rights Journey
- Standing on the Side of Love
- “Social Justice for the Whole Congregation” (PDF)
Other Website Recommendations
- Harry Potter Alliance
- Institute for Humane Education
- Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) (Gay-Straight Alliances and Safe Space campaign)
- Rethinking Schools
- Teaching Tolerance
- Anti-Defamation League “World of Difference” Institute
- Lifelong Faith Intergenerational Faith Formation, especially “Becoming Intentionally Intergenerational” (while written from a Christian perspective, these are definitely “translatable” to UU congregations)
- Search Institute
- Heifer Project Ranch
- United Planet Family Volunteering
- Family Volunteer Vacations
- Family Vacation Critic
Other Book Recommendations
- Why Are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum
- Can We Talk about Race? By Beverly Tatum
- What If All the Kids Are White? by Louise Derman Sparks (2012 Fahs lecturer)
- Anti-Bias Education for Young Children by Louise Derman Sparks (2012 Fahs lecturer)
- Teaching and Learning Anti-Racism by Louise Derman Sparks (2012 Fahs lecturer)
- Above All Be Kind by Zoe Weil
- The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism by Van Debra Ausdale
- Family Activism: Empowering Your Community Beginning with Family and Friends by Roberto Vargas
- Teaching and Learning in a Diverse World by Patricia Ramsey
- Children Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Values by Dorothy Law Notle
DR. REV. MARK BELLETINI: Family is an interesting word. It's one of the most interesting words in English because of its origin. People kind of assume that everyone knows what it means, and it's used very loosely even in the congregation I serve. I'll hear, "Well, we're one great big happy family." Or the choir that sings at eleven o'clock, which is very, very large, it's about 78 members, they very often call themselves a family. So the word family already is huge.
But the word family comes from the Latin famulus, it's a very clear connection, famulus, and famulus means slave. The reason the word family came out of the word slave was because Roman culture was 50 percent slavery. It was supported by slavery. 50 percent of the population of the Roman empire were slaves, to support the other half.
But in some of the more enlightened homes, some of the famuli, family, slaves eventually became loved. And were adopted formally into the clan, the family, the gens, the Romans would have said. And so family originally had nothing at all to do with biology, it had to do with a connection. I think this is a basic, understandable idea, this business of family as it's developed.
I have an adopted son. Sometimes people will say to me, Is he your real son? Well, yes, he is. Biology has nothing at all to do with family, ultimately. It can. But it's not necessary. My grandfather was my step-grandfather. I was not going to inherit his balding pattern genetically, I got it from someone else.
Family can be a woman living by herself with memories of all of her family who have moved away. Family can be two people living together as roommates who develop a connection. Family can be a large clan. Family in ancient times meant everybody all together.
So when it says Jesus came from a family, modern American people, because of the rigidness of our culture, think of a mother and a father and a child, whereas in ancient times family meant cousins, everybody living in a big household together. Family has had many different meanings throughout history, as has marriage, for instance.
But the idea that you learn something in the family is obvious, to me. You learn patterns of anger, you learn culture. At Thanksgiving I make tortellini, which is the culture that I grew up with. It didn't just pop into my head. I learned it by watching my mother and my grandmother fold them, make the stuffing, roll the pasta out, my grandmother sticking the pasta under my nose and says, when it's ready, it smells like this.
I learned everything from my family, about so many things. So it seems to me, in some ways, this is obvious. That it's central. And as a tradition that comes out of Universalism, as well as Unitarianism, Universalism stressing, so strongly, that they wrote book after book after book showing that the idea of hellfire was a fiction and ethically wrong. Ethically wrong.
They taught their kids that, and as time went on and people began to realize there was a meaning behind the idea that there should be no hell. People looked out and they saw Hell with their own eyes. People on the street with nothing to eat. People after the Civil War, lying there with their limbs blown off. People without the vote. People disenfranchised. All of that is Hell, to anybody who's got the capacity to sense anything.
And they began to realize, if we don't believe in Hell after death, then we cannot believe in Hell before death, and that we have to do something about that. That's all justice work. Justice work is the abolition of Hell, in this life.
So it's part of our tradition. It makes perfect sense that it should be part of family life because that's where we learn everything, both negative and positive. And none, also. All of that comes from whatever kind of family upbringing you had. And it's a matter of fortune, what kind of family we had, how we're born, and so forth, but still, we do learn.
And adjusting to that is part of our religious and spiritual work. Taking what we've learned, and not learned, and figuring out how to move forward with that into our Universalist heritage and bringing it forward.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Let's talk—excuse me, I'm Jolinda Stephens from Columbus also, I'm a religious educator there, and I have to apologize for my voice. When I woke up on Wednesday morning in Columbus I had no voice. It's getting better.
I've been a DRE in three different districts in three differently sized congregations. When I went as a new DRE to the religious education leadership school at the Mountain, I remember very vividly the bishop who ran it, saying to us religious educators that even if it isn't in our job description, our job description is to do justice. And I was so excited, I thought, Wow! This is a great job. I get paid for doing what I like to do.
And over the years I've experimented with various ways of doing justice with children and with youth, and with parents, and in partnership. So I want to talk a little bit about the best practices that I see for awakening and strengthening the urge to do justice.
Really basically, values are both caught and taught. Children can't catch what they don't experience, so they judge our values by how we live our lives and how we run our congregations. Let me ask you just to take a moment, and look at your daily life, either now or in the past, from your child's eyes. What do you think your child, or your children, concluded about your values? Then look at the parts of church life that the children and youth see. What do you conclude, what would they conclude, about your bishop, as a congregation? The First Unitarian Universalist has a pretty short mission statement, and a lot of it has to do with justice. I wanted to, just as an example, focus for a moment on the one that says to claim our diversity as the source of our strength. And I would ask, in what ways are we as a congregation becoming more diverse, or evaluating diversity. Or are we? What do we do that increases or augments diversity? And I thought of some things with interfaith work, with BREAD, our CBCO, we've had a number of unity worship services where we brought together on one chancel people who'd never been together in the same place before.
This year we're going to have Peace Camp. We've had Peace Camp for eight years now. This time we're inviting in children and youth from outside our congregation, from outside our immediate neighborhood, so we're working on diversity there. We do a fair amount of immigration work. We just expanded in-campus ministry. We will be once again offering sign language during services. So we're working on diversity on a number of fronts.
So once again I'd like to ask you to name a value within your mind that's widely shared in your congregation that you think is an important justice value. And think about what your congregation is doing to help children and youth experience that value. And what your congregation might be doing to support families in living that value.
So this is just a slide using diversity as an example of a small checklist that families might use to determine how they might be honoring diversity, assuming it's one of their values. I want to tell you a story before we go any further. A couple of years ago I talked with a young woman who was new to our congregation. She had moved here from Baltimore, with her husband and her one-year-old child. When I asked her what had brought her here, she said that she really was looking for the congregation to serve as a bridge for their family to more diversity. She said that she had grown up in a very racially diverse neighborhood in Baltimore, and that she had really valued that, that had been an important part of her growing up.
And when she moved to Columbus, she was told that she needed to live in the "right" neighborhood in order that her one-year-old child could go to the good schools. But now she found herself isolated, with mostly only white people. She was kind of young and maybe had not understood the code words she was hearing.
I looked around and wondered how she had concluded that we could be this bridge to diversity. Although our Sunday school is more diverse than the rest of the congregation, it still looks like probably a lot of your Sunday schools look. And I thought about her for a while, and I haven't seen her around for a while, but I thought about her. And about what ways we could help her.
But it still sticks in my mind that she had this value, she had this clear, definitive value, that she valued diversity, and yet, she in the very beginning outweighed that with simple intellect, I guess I would say. And I wonder how we can help families think about these things better.
But if you've thought about how your congregation or how you have examples of living a value, I'd like you to just call them out, and I will enter them. Examples of how you live a value. You might use the example of the diversity that I just showed you, intentionally looking for professionals, pediatricians, and lawyers and all of those. Yes.
SPEAKER 1: We host a homeless shelter for two weeks in our fellowship home, and the kids have opportunities to interact with the children and families that participate in that shelter that moves from various congregations and churches in our area.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Thank you. Any others? Yes.
SPEAKER 2: We decided as a congregation to study food for two years. Everybody. The children, the adults, everybody. And that allowed us to go really deep with understanding how social location, everything, money, access to good food—how where you are drives what you're able to eat, and it opened everybody's eyes to diversity. And what we're able to eat, and how it affects your health, and everything. It's been an eye-opener.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Yes. OK.
SPEAKER 3: We hired a part-time minister for community engagement, and she's black. And we make sure that every week, we never have a vanilla chancel. We always make sure that we have people of color there, so that when people of color come to our church they feel it's home.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Yes.
SPEAKER 4: Half of our bathrooms are gender-neutral.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Yes.
SPEAKER 5: My church acts as a clearinghouse for professional services for nonprofits, so we have a group of volunteers that all work together, and then nonprofits when they need staffing, specifically for things that they can't do otherwise because it's expensive, we can handle that.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Yes.
SPEAKER 6: We serve a hot breakfast to at least 200 homeless people every Saturday morning, and some of the youth can participate in serving the breakfast.
SPEAKER 7: Could I ask that people come to the microphone, because this is going to be lost to the video that we've come to make.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Well, it will be on here.
SPEAKER 7: But the people's faces saying it and everything.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: I'm sorry, I missed the last one. I'm sorry, I have to ask the last person to repeat it, and then we'll take one more. And then we'll have to move along.
SPEAKER 6: We serve a hot breakfast to over 200 people every Saturday morning to the homeless people in our community, we're a downtown church, and the youth can participate in helping to serve the breakfast.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Last one.
SPEAKER 7: We have a community garden. Our children have planted vegetables there for homeless shelters. And also we were very, very active when we were becoming a green sanctuary. We had many projects that we did. And finally, our kids Skyped our partner church in Transylvania. So they built a real relationship.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: OK, thank you. So it's not enough for kids to get it by osmosis, to get values. We also need to specifically talk to them. And there's some benefits from many generational shared experiences that are then explicitly talked about. One of those is that with fresh eyes children and youth make connections from their social action experiences that adults don't. And on the flip side, children and youth may be missing context and history to more fully understand the experience that we all have something to bring to this conversation.
And it's also important for adults to be vulnerable and to show it. Children and youth need to understand that adults doing social action often feel uncertain, awkward, confused and frustrated. And they also need to hear from adults about the personal joy, excitement and satisfaction that they get from this work. So talking about as well as doing more formal education is just really important to this.
Another best practice is to balance all of the social action types. There generally are considered to be five of them. Service work and charity, education, public witness, advocacy, and community organizing. Now, with children we have this tendency to concentrate on the service work, charity, raising funds, doing something for someone. And that can be transformative if it allows us to get to know people who are struggling to survive, under conditions that foster respect. But too often what gets transmitted are feelings of pity and superiority.
So here are some examples of service that fosters respect. This is people from the Union Church of Birmingham, which is where Jessica is from, on a mission trip to New Orleans, and they specifically surround that with understanding of what you're doing. So once again, if you would go to the mic, I would appreciate it. If there are particular actions that you remember doing, services, fundraising, that really increased respect and understanding for the people that you were working with, or on behalf of. Oh, we got one? OK.
SPEAKER 8: We have a project, have had a project for about a dozen years, where twice a year we go from the Los Angeles area to Tijuana, Mexico, to work with the community development and housing co-op, called Esperanza, and what we do is we donate money through our rent in their households, basically, but we also work side by side with families who are building their own houses.
And I think it fosters understanding and respect that people see, that first of all, when they cross the border, they see that there's a huge difference just to go right across the other side of the river, life is different. But then what they see is people who are self-empowering, and community building in a way that they have not seen at home. And that doesn't affect our young children, because they have to be at least 14 to go.
LYNN ALSMEYER-JOHNSON: Hi, I'm Lynn Alsmeyer-Johnson from Mount Vernon—
SPEAKER 9: Can't hear you.
LYNN ALSMEYER-JOHNSON: Lynn Alsmeyer-Johnson, Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, Alexandria, Virginia. We have a community project, the nickname or acronym is VICHOP, which stands for Ventures In Community Hypothermia Project. There's a community shelter in Alexandria, in Fairfax County, and we have a lot of homeless people. It is a shelter that's a per-night, it's not a resident homeless shelter, and they do get repeat people that come in each night freshly. And our church among others, we're responsible when it's open, from November to March every year, we're responsible every Thursday night for providing a meal—and this is for about 30 people—and for having at least two people, stay overnight, preferably one of each sex, to chaperone. And it's something we've really gotten into, and it's a lot of fun, and—
JOLINDA STEPHENS: I'm going to have to cut you off there, we're running out of time.
LYNN ALSMEYER-JOHNSON: OK. Anyway, we serve the meal and the people are so grateful, and we sit down with them.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Thank you. Just two more, we have to move along.
SPEAKER 10: When I was about 17, my church in Massachusetts, we went on a house-building trip to Juarez, Mexico, and I remember one of the best practices that we had on our trip was to always say "people who are from Mexico," and "people who are homeless," to always use the word people first, as opposed to saying Mexican people, homeless people, and that really stuck with me, and that's very accessible to children in learning.
ANNETTE: I'm Annette [? Lester ?] from Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirkland, Washington. We allow our children to choose a social justice program, and one year they chose to earn enough money to buy dog and cat food, to deliver to the local MEOW, which is a Unitarian-based rescue service. They earned that money by making dog and cat food to sell. Thank you.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: I'm told that we have to move along. The rest of these slides will be up. Education is educating about an issue. And it can be very powerful to have children educate adults about a particular issue. And I just really quickly want to show these slides. Let me put this up so you can actually see it.
This is a poster that our kids drew to let the adults know about Senate Bill 1070. They were doing a really standard poster and then one of the kids said, You know what? Santa isn't from the U.S., and I bet Arizona doesn't arrest Santa. So that's how this wonderful piece grew out of that. So I will let it go here, and the slides will be up on the website soon.
SPEAKER 11: What website is that?
JESSICA YORK: It's going to be on uua.org. A great deal of the material from General Assembly is going to be posted on our website. It won't be there immediately, either tomorrow, or it might not be there Tuesday, but certainly within a week or so that material will be posted. If you go there and you look under General Assembly for 2012, you'll find some listed workshops, and you will find this workshop listed, Justice as a Family Value. And you will find the material.
So we've heard so many good ideas and suggestions already, and I want to reinforce a few of the things that we have heard, that Jolinda just also talked about. She mentioned education, and I believe that a triad approach is really important when we're doing justice work, not just for children, not just for families, but with anyone.
The woman who told the story about the socks, I loved the part of the story where she said she had to ask, Why are we buying these socks? And she needed that education piece, and that education piece is missing. And all too often it is missing, we get busy, we all have busy, full lives.
And we know that young people in particular like to do things, and so we're very good at the action piece, we're very good at finding things for them to do. But we're not always telling them why there's a need for them to do those things, and we don't always have that reflection piece at the end, too. So the education part is important, and the course of action is too, but the reflection is where faith development's really going to happen.
And that reflection can be something as simple as simply asking yourself, What does this mean for me, that I did this. How has this changed my life, now that I've done this. The person who just mentioned talking about people first and then identities second, that may help them understand that we are all basically the same, in some ways. That could be a reflection that could come out of that learning.
Some of this has come home to me not just as a religious educator but also as a parent. I have done for many years clinic protection, at abortion clinics. And one time my daughter, who was at the time about 17 or 18, heard me telling someone about some protection I had done on a Saturday morning, and I was kind of joking about there being sharpshooters on the roof.
And she stopped me, she goes, Why were there sharpshooters on the roof? What were you doing? And I thought she understood what I was doing, she knew I did clinic protection, and we had talked about it before, but we had really talked about it years before when she was younger, and I had given her a very age-appropriate answer at that time. Now she was a teenager, and she needed to know a little bit more about what I was doing, and I wasn't conscious of that.
So you have to talk about it, and you have to educate them not just once, but when it's young people, you've gotta do it several times, you've gotta repeat it. You've got to do it when they're little and toddlers, you gotta do it again when they're in elementary school, you've gotta do it again when they're youth, because their understanding of the situation changes.
Just a couple of other things. Talking to children about some of these issues and talking to young people about them is important not only because it educates them, but it also really builds a level of trust amongst the people that you're talking with. And they begin to understand, too, that they can come to you and they can talk to you about things that may be justice-related. If when they have questions, when they see something in the world and they need someone to process it with, if you've had some of these conversations their whole life long, they're going to come to you and they're going to ask you these questions and ask you to help them process what they see happening.
In terms of some sexuality education, for instance, my daughter, who is 22, has gone through our whole lives, and I'm a [INAUDIBLE] trainer, so we talk about sex and sexuality a lot. She feels very comfortable talking to me about issues, so much that one time we were sitting at a restaurant, a fairly small little Muslim-run restaurant, and she says to me, So Mom, I don't remember, what again is fellatio? And I said, I think maybe we should have this conversation on the walk home. Well, we do have those conversations. And I was happy that she was comfortable enough to ask me that, and that she didn't see anything wrong with that, also, in the environment which we were in.
Also it's important to do family ministry, I think, because every generation is a teacher. If we had time, everyone here could tell us a story about someone younger than them who taught them something important in life, and someone older than them who's taught them that. So having those conversations and doing that work together, it enables us to mine the wisdom of the various ages.
John talked a little bit about some of the risk that's involved, and sometimes for parents that's a real issue. And they have to find safe ways to work with their children. They have to voice, with the religious educator, with the person who is designing the program, what some of their concerns are. And sometimes you may even need to ask, What concerns do you have as we go into this situation? Particularly if you see families not bringing their children to activities you have sponsored that are age-appropriate for them.
Some of the other risks that may be involved are here on this slide. Justice work always takes courage. Which is about supporting people who are sponsoring events, supporting religious educators, ministers, lay leaders as they sponsor events. Safe congregations policies that hopefully you have in your congregations that make this a little bit easier. And about being an ally. So we're going to talk a little bit more now about what it means to be an ally to families doing justice work.
PAT KAHN: I was really glad to see the wide span of generations in this room, because sometimes when you start talking about families, people equate that with, OK, we're just talking to people who have young children. And in fact, I was really intrigued to learn the origins of the word family. But I think when Mark talked about the connections, that really solidified with me what our congregations need to be, because parents cannot do this work on their own. And our congregations need to be places that can support all of this kind of learning.
One of the stories that I had shared initially was, when I first started as the Director of Religious Education, this is about 12 years ago, the congregation I used to serve, one of the things that I had been told coming in to that position was that I was charged with the responsibility of trying to make this congregation be more "family-friendly."
Well, what did that mean? So I started asking a lot of questions, and the first thing I did was go introduce myself to the various councils. It was a large congregation, so there's a social justice council and a membership council and a this and that. So I went to the social justice council, which consisted of about 18 different committees, and their meeting was to go around and have each person talk about what was going on in their committee and what were the things that they were doing.
And so when I introduced myself, I'm your new director of religious education, there were quite a number of blank stares of, Well, what are you doing here? And so I said, I think social justice work is a really integral part of religious education, so I'd love to see how we could work together. And so as each committee member talked about their projects, I just asked the simple question, How can we involve children, youth and families in that? And after about the fourth or fifth time, people were anticipating the question, so they began to start thinking differently.
But in fact, nobody had asked the question before. And it wasn't that I was a brilliant person, it's just that I was curious and it reframed the way we looked at that. So I am going to urge of all of you as allies in your congregations to begin to ask some of those questions. How do I get this to the next slide?
SPEAKER 11: Just use the arrow.
PAT KAHN: Ah, there we go. I'm not really very technologically savvy yet. So we're going to give you a resource list at the end of this. It will also be available online. But one of the things that you can do is take back to your congregation that you attended this, and share some of the stories that you heard here, or look at the resources. There's quotes, there's websites, there's film, on the resource list. And find out, does your congregation have them? If not, is there a way to get those? And maybe share some of those resources.
Or one of the things I continue to do all the time, when I was still serving the congregation as director of religious education, was looking through the congregational newsletter each month, or in some cases people do it weekly now, online. And look at some of the projects that are there. And if I saw something that would naturally be something that children, youth and families could participate in, talking to the people who are organizing that, and offer help and support in making that happen.
The other thing that you can do is be very intentional about inviting families to join you in a project. Specifically I can remember this happening in our congregation around the Martin Luther King March every year that our congregation participates in. And there was an older couple whose grandchildren lived really far away, and they had been developing a relationship with a family with young children in the congregation, as more kind of a social thing. But then they said, Why don't you march with us.
And to see the sharing and things—I mean, even just having the older people teaching some of the songs to the younger family. So if you're going to be doing something anyway, what a wonderful opportunity to just be intentional about inviting a family. Maybe somebody you don't know, and you'll end up with more friends, and you'll be doing more good than you can possibly imagine.
What I started off doing was, I played matchmaker, as the DRE. So if I knew that the green sanctuary committee was going to be getting ready to work on a community garden, and I knew that there were families who really wanted to be involved and do something, because one thing I found always is parents would say to me, What are projects that we can do together as families?
And so if you can do that, right there in your congregation, just play matchmaker well. "Did you see that the green sanctuary committee is going to be doing this community garden, why don't you get involved in that?" And these are things that everybody can do with your congregation, so I would urge you to find a way to be an ally to things.
REV. DR. MARK BELLETINI: One of the things that is done in the Columbus congregation, we are part of an interfaith justice organization, the CBCO is the fancy word. It's called BREAD, it's an acronym for Bringing Freedom, Responsibility And Dignity. But We have large meetings, interfaith, Muslim, Christian—both Protestant, Catholic, Anabaptist, Pentecostal—Jewish, and they all bring members of their congregations to these large, large meetings where we talk to civil authorities about changes we would like to see made toward justice in our community. So it's kind of localized.
But what's quite amazing is how many people, how many parents, bring their children with them. So when we have 270 people coming from our congregation, coming to one of these meetings, there's a significant portion which are children. Various ages, not just the older children but some of the younger children, who actually get excited by being in the presence of this work and seeing something structured being done. So, many of our congregations have CBCOs that they're involved with, but sometimes you have to invite families deliberately, and that's what we've done. So that's another way of being deliberate about bringing families in.
JOLINDA STEPHENS: Another example from Columbus is we do Justice Sunday several times a year. Then we did it with elementary and junior high and senior high, in separate groups. We started the unit immigration, and we involved the families through—the very first thing you need to do, when you're talking about immigration, is understand that almost all of us, in the US, come from immigrant families. And so over the Thanksgiving holiday, I asked families to talk to their children about the history of the family, its immigration history, where they came from. And then we came together after Thanksgiving and shared that information on a big map and in other ways.
And then I asked the families to go further, and helped the children to identify people in their neighborhoods, or in their schools, who maybe weren't new immigrants, but were immigrants, and to facilitate with them a conversation, with this person they had identified, about what it meant to be an immigrant. So that kind of helps the family get more directly involved in what you may be doing on Sunday morning, and extend it.
PAT KAHN: And just real quickly, we do have a resource list, we'll put them up here. There are not enough for everyone because we're never quite sure how many to make, but most importantly, they're mostly all links and they will be posted at the uua.org website under this GA workshop.
But the one major resource that I really want to make sure you all know about. How many of you are familiar with Tapestry of Faith? Yay, at least half the hands went up. Tapestry of Faith is the core curriculum project that the UUA's been working on, for several years. I was always a big fan of it in the congregation and I'm now even more excited to be part of the team that works on it.
This is core curriculum from kindergarten all the way up through adults. They are free, they are online, and there are two things specific to this workshop that I want to bring to everybody's attention. Every lesson from all the different ages has something called a Taking It Home. That's a fabulous resource for parents to be able to use to continue the conversation with their children.
And the other piece is that every one also includes something called a Faith in Action activity. These are things that are not necessarily tied in to the Sunday morning, if you do RE on Sunday morning, the timeframe, but things that you've done outside of that. And it's a marvelous opportunity to have ideas and promote ways of doing justice and putting our faith into action that can be used. So I would really encourage you to look at Tapestry of Faith resources.
REV. DR. MARK BELLETINI: We're coming close to the conclusion, but we would like to ask if, as you've been hearing these things, some ideas may have come into your head, some things that you know that you've been doing in your congregations that you'd like to share that touch on this. Or if you have some suggestions for further consideration for all of us, again, use the microphone. We'll just have a few, and I'll conclude with a poem on family that I found at the Native American Museum here yesterday.
TOM HALL: I'm Tom Hall from the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, and one of the things I was struck by when Mark first started talking about the concept of family, is the broader vision of what is a family. And our church has been working with this, the [INAUDIBLE] and other vehicles, trying to define family as we used to call sort of community. And our family way [INAUDIBLE] every church in downtown Oakland, and we would like to consider all of those folks that are in our neighborhoods as part of our extended family. And that's one of the greatest lessons we can all learn, is being good listeners. We put our programs together.
REV. DR. MARK BELLETINI: That's excellent, that's beautiful.
SPEAKER 12: Hi, I'm [INAUDIBLE] Just a little story. A number of years ago, I was serving a congregation that had a Women's Build project. The congregation took on celebrating everything, when the roof went up and the walls went up and so on. Some of the young children were following this avidly because some of their parents were involved in this project.
But at one point our first and second grade group decided that they wanted to do something about this. Now clearly they are not allowed to build a house. What they decided is that the family that was going to inhabit this house needed refrigerator art. And so these first and second graders created refrigerator art and also thank-you cards, and so the family that moved into this house actually had refrigerator art when they first moved in, and there was such gratitude for these little pieces of refrigerator art from the children. And some real agency on the part of all our first and second graders, and they really made a difference and families that live [INAUDIBLE]