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The Program (Faithful Journeys)

Onward! to that which is endless,

As it was beginningless...

To see nothing anywhere but what you may reach it and pass it.

To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits for you —

To know the universe itself as a road —

as many roads —

as roads for traveling souls. — Walt Whitman

Because ours is a creedless faith, defining what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist can be challenging. Our adults and youth often welcome such a challenge — indeed, a questioning spirit is part of our faith. Yet, our children need to learn who Unitarian Universalists are, what we believe, and how we live in faith. Faithful Journeys equips them with language and experiences to answer these questions and help them develop a strong Unitarian Universalist identity.

Participants embark on a pilgrimage of faith, exploring how Unitarian Universalism translates into life choices and everyday actions. In each session, they hear historic or contemporary examples of Unitarian Universalist faith in action. Stories about real people model how participants can activate their own personal agency — their capacity to act faithfully as Unitarian Universalists — in their own lives, and children have regular opportunities to share and affirm their own stories of faithful action. Through sessions structured around the Unitarian Universalist Principles, Faithful Journeys demonstrates that our Principles are not a dogma, but a credo that individuals can affirm with many kinds of action. Over the course of the program, children discover a unity of faith in the many different ways Unitarian Universalists, including themselves, can act on our beliefs.

In the last session, the central story will be provided by individuals in your congregation whom you will invite to share their own experiences with the group. The children will have previously heard examples of Unitarian Universalist faithful living through the centuries. Now bring it home, and share the faithful journeys of people in your own congregation.

All sessions include hands-on activities as well as guided discussion, reflection, and self-expression to engage participants with various learning styles. Sessions that rely heavily on verbal learning and expression also offer alternate activities that may better reach learners who are more active. Many core activities suggest adaptations to address different abilities as well as learning styles. Craft each session using activities you think will best suit the children in your Faithful Journeys group.

Each session of this program includes rituals: sharing opening words, a chalice-lighting, centering in silence before hearing a story, and singing. You may also choose to add a ritual of lighting candles of joys and sorrows (Session 1, Alternate Activity 1). Most young children love ritual, and these spiritual activities form an important element of the program.

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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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