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What are you going to do that is important in your life? — Martha Sharp, Unitarian Universalist heroine


The flashlight symbolizes the light of truth and the light in each of us. The group considered the nobility, as well as the difficulties, of seeking justice, and the overwhelming nature of the sacrifice when one seeks to work for justice and the difficulty of balancing local and global concerns. We emphasized the small steps that each of us can take and the importance of shining our own light, no matter how small.

We explored justice to illustrate that:

  • Unitarian Universalism is a faith that will help you find and carry the light of truth, even when it is hard to do so.
  • Unitarian Universalism values justice, compassion, and equity in human relations (second Principle)
  • Unitarian Universalism affirms that we are part of an interdependent web (seventh Principle); when one part of that web suffers injustice, the entire web suffers injustice.

The children heard a story about Martha and Waitstill Sharp, from the viewpoint of their grandchild who learned about their work for justice during the Nazi Holocaust when he was in eighth grade. The story was based on an article in UU World, Summer 2006, by Michelle Bates Deakin ("Righteous among the nations-Israel honors two Unitarians for heroism in World War II; their story provokes soul-searching today").


Talk about these questions together:

  • Martha and Waitstill Sharp left their children to save lives in Europe. Do you think they did the right thing?
  • What would you have done, as an adult in that time period?
  • How would you answer your grandmother if she asked, as Martha Sharp asked, "What are you going to do that is important in your life?"



Read Lois Lowry's Newberry Award-winning book, Number the Stars (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1989), in which a fictional 10-year-old girl undertakes a dangerous mission to save her best friend in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943.

Another story for children about being a light in the world is "A Lamp in Every Corner," in the book A Lamp in Every Corner by Janeen K. Grosmeyer (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 2004).

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