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Program Structure (What We Choose: Ethics for Unitarian Universalists)

This program comprises ten 90-minute workshops. Although ideally the workshops will be presented as a full series, each workshop can stand alone or be combined with others for a shorter series. Consider beginning your series with Workshop 1, The Locus of Moral Authority, and ending with Workshop 10, Locus of Moral Authority Revisited. These workshops highlight the program's central questions.

This program introduces the philosophical framework of eight different schools of ethical thought as a way to engage participants in exploring and expanding their understanding of ethics and morality. The workshops promote participation right from the start with engaging hypothetical scenarios that lead into exploring each ethical framework. Activities, reflection questions, and stories expand on the themes and invite participants to reflect on their lives and behavioral choices. Faith in Action suggestions, take-home activities and reflections, and lists of additional resources provide practical ways to extend learning into participants' lives and the life of the congregation.

All workshops follow this structure:

Quote. The Quote offers a significant thought to draw attention to the philosophical framework of ethics explored in the workshop.

Introduction. The Introduction summarizes the workshop themes and content and offers guidance for implementing the workshop.

Goals. Goals are the basic aims of the workshop. As you plan a workshop, apply your knowledge of your group, the time and space you have available, and your personal strengths as a leader to determine the most important and achievable goals for the workshop. Choose the activities that will best serve those goals.

Learning Objectives. Learning Objectives describe specific participant outcomes that the workshop activities are designed to facilitate. They describe what participants may learn and how they may change as a result of the experience of the workshop.

Workshop-at-a-Glance. This useful table lists the core workshop activities in order and provides an estimated time for completing each activity. It also presents the workshop's Faith in Action activity and Alternate Activities. The sequence of core activities is designed to address different learning styles and balance individual, small group, and whole group exploration.

Workshop-at-a-Glance is not a road map you must follow. Rather, use it as a menu for planning the workshop. Many variables inform the actual completion time for an activity. For instance, consider the time you will need to form small groups or relocate participants to another area of the meeting room.

Spiritual Preparation. Each workshop suggests readings, reflections, and/or other preparation to help facilitators grow spiritually and prepare to facilitate with confidence and depth. You may invite participants, in a workshop Closing, to engage in the facilitators' spiritual practice for the following workshop so that they, too, will arrive at the workshop centered and ready to engage with the material and the group.

WORKSHOP PLAN

The workshop elements are:

Welcoming and Entering. This section offers steps for welcoming participants as they arrive.

Opening. Each workshop begins with a short opening ritual, including a welcome, chalice-lighting, and reading or song. Shape the opening ritual to suit your group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

Activities. Each activity presents the materials and preparation you will need, a description of the activity, and detailed directions for implementing the activity. Accessibility guidance is provided, in an Including All Participants section, for activities that have unusual physical circumstances or for which a reminder about inclusion may benefit leaders. Please consult the Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters in the Integrating All Participants section of this Introduction for suggestions to meet some common accessibility needs.

Faith in Action. Each workshop suggests an activity for the group to do outside the workshop meeting time. This is an opportunity for participants to apply workshop themes to action that can transform ourselves, our congregations, and our world.

Facilitators can download the Faith in Action section and combine it with the Taking It Home section as a handout. If you wish, the handout can include the Spiritual Preparation for the next scheduled workshop. (Note: You can customize Faith in Action, Taking It Home or any other component of a Tapestry of Faith program. Download it to your computer and edit it with your word processing program.)

Closing. Each workshop offers a closing ritual that signals the end of the group's time together. Like the Opening, the Closing grounds the shared learning experience in ritual. Shape this ritual to fit the group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

Leader Reflection and Planning. Find time as co-facilitators to discuss these questions as soon as possible after each workshop to strengthen your skills and your understanding of the group.

Taking It Home. This section offers tasks to undertake and questions to contemplate between workshops to prompt conversations with others and further explore participants' personal thoughts.

Alternate Activities. Workshops offer Alternate Activities to substitute for a core activity or add to the workshop. An Alternate Activity may need more time than a parallel core activity or require Internet access. It may use a different approach to presenting core material or extend learning in a direction not offered in a core activity.

Review Alternate Activities along with the core activities when planning a workshop. Select the activities you feel will work best for you and the group. Keep in mind the benefits of a well-paced workshop that includes different kinds of activities.

Resources. The workshops include three types of resources you will need to lead the activities:

  • Stories — Narratives from the Sources of our Unitarian Universalist tradition you will read or tell the group, or have volunteers help you present
  • Handouts — Sheets to print and copy for participants to use in the workshop and/or take home
  • Leader Resources — Background information or activity directions you will need during the workshop.

Find Out More. Workshops end with suggestions for further reading and exploration.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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

Last updated on Thursday, January 19, 2012.

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