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Introduction, Session 2: Unconditional Love, a Gift from Our Universalist Heritage

In "Faithful Journeys," a Tapestry of Faith program

The law of heaven is love. — Hosea Ballou

In this session, a story about Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), one of the most influential preachers of Universalism, introduces participants to the first Unitarian Universalist Principle, the inherent worth and dignity of every person. The story, "Muddy Children," describes a young Ballou whose father loves him unconditionally despite his tendency to get muddy. Discussion and activities amplify the story's teaching, reassuring participants that they, like Hosea Ballou, are loved and worthy even when they are literally muddy or have made a mistake. The signpost "Respect Everyone" is added to the Faithful Journeys Path.

Activity 1, Faithful Footprints, asks you to prepare in advance a footprint (or wheelchair track) for yourself for the Faithful Journeys Path. Be ready to briefly describe an action you have taken that reflects Unitarian Universalist faith. You will also need blank footprints (or wheelchair tracks) for participants; see Session 1, Leader Resources 3 and 4.

Alternate Activity 1 offers a foot-washing ritual based on a Christian tradition of expressing caring and reverence for a person in this way. If you are open to a messy art project, Alternate Activity 2, Unconditional Love Mud Art, gives children an experience making self-portraits that emphasizes the Universalist teaching of unconditional love. If you prefer not to play with mud, Alternate Activity 3 guides participants to make clay symbols of unconditional love to take home.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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