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Alternate Activity 2: In Barton's Footsteps

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Review Handout 4 and copy for all participants.
  • Write these questions on newsprint, and post:
    • How does your congregation support those who serve or have served in the military and their families?
    • Do you think there are particular challenges for Unitarian Universalists who serve in the military and for their families?
    • Do you think it is possible to both promote peace efforts and support Unitarian Universalists who choose to work in the military? Even in times of war?

Description of Activity

Introduce the activity with these or similar words:

Clara Barton and others from the 19th-century peace movement saw no contradiction between opposing war on moral grounds and supporting the soldiers who fought in wars by providing them with nursing care, clothing, blankets, and other humanitarian assistance. They did not view it as a moral failing for men to go to war; rather they saw war itself as the moral failure that claimed soldiers as victims. Many contemporary Unitarian Universalists try to hold the same stance as Clara Barton and other members of the 19th-century women's peace movement-that is, supporting soldiers while opposing a particular armed conflict in which soldiers must fight.


Are we following the example of the peace activists of the 19th century?

Ask for a show of hands for all those who know someone currently serving in the military. Ask for a second show of hands for all those who know a Unitarian Universalist who is serving or has served in the military now or in the past.

Distribute Handout 4 and allow participants five minutes to read it through. Then, invite participants to move into groups of three or four to share responses to Handout 4 and discuss the questions you have posted on newsprint.

After ten minutes, re-gather the large group. Invite comments and observations. Ask: Did your conversations point to anything our congregation might want to do differently in regard to supporting military personnel and their families? In the ways we speak out for peace?

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