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Alternate Activity 5: Clues about UUs (20 minutes), Session 4: Thinking of God

In "Riddle and Mystery," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • UU source materials which might include reference to God: hymnbooks (Singing the Living Tradition or Singing the Journey); several versions of your congregation's publicity, if any; several different congregational orders of service; several newsletters from your congregation; several issues of UU World
  • Posted UU Principles and Sources

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide whether small groups of youth can and should leave your meeting space to look around your church and speak with adult members of the congregation.
  • Determine what to have each of your small groups do.

Description of Activity

Divide participants into small groups to conduct searches for references and other evidence of God in your congregation's printed materials and meeting space.

Tell participants you want them to be detectives and search for clues about whether Unitarian Universalists believe God exists. Begin by pointing out your posted Principles and Sources. Ask the youth to glance through them quickly to see whether God is mentioned. (The adult version of the Sources does mention God once. When youth point this out, you might note that the reference is to Jewish and Christian beliefs, not exactly to UU beliefs.)

Divide youth into smaller groups and have each look for clues about God in the ways you have decided. One group might search through copies of hymnbooks, a second through orders of service, a third through your congregation's publicity material, and a fourth through past issues of UU World. Another group might be assigned to move through your congregation's building to ask adults whether there is a God. Still another could move through the building looking at art and bulletin boards for clues. Say that the groups will need to work fast — they only have a few minutes to find their clues. Assist the groups as necessary while they are searching. The hymnbook group might appreciate knowing about the topical indices.

After the time allotted for searching, bring the whole group together and ask them to report on their findings. What they find disclose will depend, of course, on the nature of your congregation and what the youth happen to find.

Ask whether their findings indicate a single Unitarian Universalist answer to the God question. Affirm that no such answer exists.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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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