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Faith In Action: Start a Petition (45 minutes), Session 10: Speak Out

In "Faithful Journeys," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • Paper and pen, or computer and printer

Description of Activity

Have the children brainstorm what they think is unfair and needs to change in your congregation (for example, you might focus on limitations turned up during the accessibility audit in Session 3) or the local or wider community to which you all belong. Write all ideas on newsprint. Then, invite the children to vote on one for which they would like to raise support by holding a petition drive.

Explain in your own words:

A petition is a request for something to change. We will write a description of the problem, and change we want to happen. People will sign the petition if they agree with the change it suggests. Then, we will give the list of signatures to a person or group that has the power to make that change happen.

A petition with a lot of signatures can be a powerful tool to convince those in power that lots of people want action or change.

Engage the children in articulating their concern and the changes they wish to suggest. Help them determine the best recipient for your petition — a person or group with the power to make the change they seek. Then, create a petition with the concern stated at the top and spaces for signatures below. (This may be easiest on a laptop computer.) Make copies, so children can circulate the petition in pairs or small groups.

Guide the children to practice how they will ask others of all ages to sign the petition. Help them articulate what the petition is about. Prepare them for encounters with individuals who might not want to sign. Arrange for the children to solicit signatures during your congregation's coffee hour.

Follow through. Send the signed petition to the designated person or group. Then, seek a response from the petition's recipient(s) if none is forthcoming, and share it with the children in the group. It is important that they learn about any impact their actions have. Raising issues and changing minds are important faithful acts in the democratic process.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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