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Step by step the longest march can be won, can be won.

Many stones can form an arch, singly none, singly none.

And by union what we will can be accomplished still.

Drops of water turn a mill, singly none, singly none.

— Traditional union song

The power of water is the power of persistence, of moving past all barriers one drop at a time, until a flood collects that can break down walls. In this session participants learn about Universalist minister Phebe Hanaford, who devoted 60 years of her life to working for women's suffrage, and finally won the right to vote at the age of 90. Participants experience persistence and patience in an art project, by carving soap. The Burmese story "The Old Alchemist, which the children perform as a play, offers a fun twist on how persistence can turn dirt into gold.


This session will:

  • Promote a long-range, patient view of work for positive change
  • Cultivate patience and the willingness to persist, two qualities of water power, through an art project that requires, slow, incremental work
  • Demonstrate how persistent exercise of "the use of the democratic process," our fifth UU Principle, can be slow, yet powerful, through the story of 19th-century Universalist minister and women's rights advocate Phebe Hanaford.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Respond to the persistence of Phebe Hanford, a Universalist minister who worked for women's suffrage for some 60 years and finally lived to see women get the right to vote
  • Experience the effects of patience and persistence, by doing an art project that requires slow, careful work to make incremental changes
  • Understand the importance of persistence and patience through enacting a play based on the story "The Old Alchemist."

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