Copies of Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook
Preparation for Activity
Use the index of This Day in Unitarian Universalist History to bookmark pages that mention British martyrs of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries: Bartholomew Legate, Edward Wightman, Matthew Hamont, George Van Parris, Paul Best, John Lewes, John Fry, Thomas Aikenhead, John Biddle, and Thomas Emlyn.
Prearrange with volunteers to read the ten short pieces. If possible, provide their assignments and the text in advance.
Description of Activity
Invite volunteer participants to take turns reading the descriptions of British martyrs. Following the last reading, ask for two minutes of silence.
Then, distribute copies of Singing the Living Tradition and lead the group to read responsively Reading 721, "They Are with Us Still." At the end of the reading, invite volunteer readers to repeat the names of the British martyrs.
Guide reflection and discussion with these questions:
In the nearly 200 years of trials and hostility, what strikes you most in the descriptions of these martyrs?
For many of these martyrs, the description of their deaths provides almost all the information we have about their lives. How does that shape our understanding of their martyrdom?