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Alternate Activity 1: Alternate System Thinking Scenarios

Activity time: 45 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy Handout 2 for all participants.
  • Read Activity 2, Applying System Thinking, to become familiar with how to diagram a congregational issue or challenge from a system perspective.
  • Post a sheet of newsprint.
  • Prepare, but do not post, a sheet of newsprint with these reflection prompts:
    • Who in the congregation is affected by the issue?
    • What emotions might come to the fore as the congregation works through this challenge?
    • What long-standing patterns of behavior in this congregation might be revealed by this challenge?

Description of Activity

The two scenarios in Handout 2 are less complex than the Heavenly Unitarian Universalist Congregation scenario presented in Activity 2, and the events which cause the system to react come from outside, not inside, the organization. Use these alternate scenarios if the group you are working with is, in fact, engaged in a challenge resembling the Heavenly Unitarian Universalist scenario or if unpacking two simpler scenarios would work better for the group than exploring the single, complex one. These scenarios will take less time to process, so you will likely have time for both of them. You might change the configuration of small groups for the second scenario.

Read the first scenario aloud to the group. On newsprint, use the process described in Activity 2 to identify and diagram those affected by a change, their relationships to one another and the emotions involved. Then, form small groups to consider the questions you have posted on newsprint. Re-gather the large group to share observations (see Activity 2). Then, if time allows, repeat the process for the second scenario.

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