Leader Resource 1: De Bennevilles Theology in the Congregation
This is a 30-minute activity. You will need copies of Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook, one for every two participants; paper and pens/pencils; and newsprint, markers, and tape.
Engage participants to consider how contemporary Unitarian Universalism reflects de Benneville's theology of Boundless Universal Love. Post a sheet of blank newsprint and invite participants to name ways universal "love" is held up in their congregation—for example, in prayers or meditations, spoken covenant, hymns, messages for children, or the literature and website of the congregation. Allow participants to brainstorm for about five minutes. List what they name.
Then, invite participants to examine the list and consider what they mean by the word "love." Tell them that there will be time to share those reflections with one another later in the activity.
Ask participants to pair up and give each pair a copy of Singing the Living Tradition. Invite them to examine the lyrics of some of the hymns to get a sense of what contemporary Unitarian Universalists mean when they say love. Point out the category "Love" in the topical index (p. 675), and suggest participants start by looking at some of those hymns or at others that speak of love.
Distribute paper and pens/pencils and allow pairs 15 minutes to examine the hymnbook and jot down any notes about hymns in which they find an understanding of "love" which is similar to their own.
Then, invite participants to share what they have found and to express what they mean when they say the word "love" in a religious sense.
Conclude by singing together Hymn 131, "Love Will Guide Us," or another favorite.