The religious community is essential, for alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen. Together, our vision widens and strength is renewed. — Mark Morrison-Reed
This session explores how people co-create our community homes together. The central story is an African folktale of how Hare created the first village. Instead of the word "village," this session uses "community." In the story, Hyena builds a home that is lovely, but isolated. Hare builds a home that welcomes a community of friends to make their homes nearby. Hyena throws a party to show that he can afford to provide the best of everything for his guests. Hare throws a party that involves everyone in the community providing for one another.
Like Hare's house-building party, our faith communities, at their best, are open and inviting places where we feel that we and our personal contributions are welcome. The appreciative responses of others foster our sense of belonging. We gain the fellowship of friends, and encouragement to serve the community and express our sense of belonging to and caring about it by bringing forth our gifts. When we belong to a faith community, we have opportunities to experience and acknowledge the gifts of other members.
In this session, games and other playful activities invite participants into the Creating Home community. The Faith in Action activities offer ways for participants to help and appreciate other members of the faith community.
There are many different characteristics of community you could discuss. In this session you will focus on "co-creating" community, which is how members of a community work together to share responsibility for all the functions of the community. To help you model co-creating community, several activities in this session are designed for you to lead with other adults or youth from your congregation or the community.
The quote that opens this session comes from Reverend Mark Morrison-Reed, a Canadian Unitarian Universalist and the author of Black Pioneers in a White Denomination. As Unitarian Universalists, we are quite aware that creating an environment that respects the individual while also supporting the community is not always easy. Yet we do not doubt that the effort is worthwhile. This session can lay the groundwork for children, as they grow up, to feel intentional and positive about being in community in their Unitarian Universalist congregations.
This session will:
- Introduce communities as places within which we can also establish homes, places where people are together for a purpose
- Introduce the term "giving gifts" to describe a way of being in service to the communities to which we belong
- Help children experience how we co-create community by doing things together
- Provide an opportunity for children to have their gifts appreciated and to appreciate the gifts others bring to the group
- Experience cooperation in playing group games
- Learn about community as a gift after hearing the story, "Hare's Gifts"
- Make music individually and together as a community activity
- Optional: Learn more about one another and explore ways to have fun together
- Optional: Learn about their congregational community, and provide a service to adult congregants