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Faith In Action: Following the Lead of Those on the Margins, Workshop 8: Understanding Ethics from the Margins

In "What We Choose: Ethics for Unitarian Universalists," a Tapestry of Faith program

Preparation for Activity

  • Arrange for your minister, religious educator, a social action committee representative, and/or another congregational leader involved in congregational social justice projects to talk with the group about the social justice projects the congregation supports. Give guest speakers the questions in the Description of Activity in advance. You may also wish to give them the Story, Handout, and Leader Resource used in this workshop, or send them the links to these materials on the Tapestry of Faith website.

Description of Activity

Meet with invited congregational staff and/or leaders to find out about social justice projects the congregation supports and discuss together how the congregation does and/or could apply a lens of ethics from the margins to these projects.

Once guest speakers arrive, explain, in these words or your own:

In learning about ethical frameworks compatible with Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values, this group has explored several frameworks that are grounded in experiences and perspectives from the margins of the dominant culture. We are seeking ways to apply this ethical framework in our own individual and congregational lives. We want to work at hearing the perspectives and the stories from society's margins, to help us better understand how to be of service while exploring an ethical framing for the contributions we make. We think some of this work can dovetail with service and action our congregation already has begun.

Invite the guests to briefly describe congregational social justice projects. Then, ask:

  • Are there projects in which the congregation takes part that are led by economically, culturally, or racially marginalized people—that is, led by members of a group that is served?
  • How do the congregation's social justice projects reflect an ethic of affirmation and resistance? How do they engage in truth-telling about the stories and histories of people(s) on the margins?
  • How do the congregation's social justice projects promote the spiritual practice of deep listening to the voices and perspectives of others, especially those on the margins?

With your guest, imagine ways your congregation's social justice projects and priorities might better embrace an ethic of affirmation and resistance. Leave time for the group to commit volunteer time to an existing or potential social justice project whose leadership is drawn from the people who are served.

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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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