Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Worship or centering table
- Chalice, candle, and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
- Timepiece (minutes)
- Chime or bell
- Copies of Singing the Living Tradition, the UUA hymnbook, for all participants
- Optional: Cloth for worship/centering table
- Optional: Microphone
- Optional: Keyboard or piano
Preparation for Activity
- Arrange the worship or centering table, including the chalice, so all participants can see it when they are seated.
- Choose a social justice hymn from Singing the Living Tradition that is familiar to participants. Possibilities include Hymn 119, "Once to Every Soul and Nation;" Hymn 121, "We'll Build a Land;" Hymn 140, "Hail the Glorious Golden City;" Hymn 146, "Soon the Day Will Arrive;" Hymn 157, "Step By Step;" Hymn 162, "Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield;" Hymn 168, "One More Step;" and Hymn 170," We are a Gentle, Angry People."
- Optional: Invite a musician to teach and/or accompany the hymn.
Description of Activity
Invite a participant to light the chalice while you lead a unison reading of Reading 449 from Singing the Living Tradition: "We hallow this time together by kindling the lamp of our heritage."
Lead the group in singing the hymn you have chosen.
After the song, share the Mother's Day Peace Proclamation written in 1870 by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe, which appears as Reading 573 in Singing the Living Tradition:
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Explain that this workshop focuses on the development of the peace movement during and after the Civil War, a movement that was grounded in the organizing work of women who also worked for abolition and women's rights. This workshop also invites participants to look at the connections in our own lives and imagine how this web of relationships shapes our work for justice.