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Question everything! — Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), Unitarian, astronomer

The magnifying glass symbolizes questioning and looking deeper. This session focuses on the value of questioning assumptions and wondering, "Why?" The children hear about astronomer and Unitarian Maria Mitchell, who embodied the truth-seeking quality of Unitarian faith in both her spiritual and scientific life.

Maria Mitchell's story also illuminates the value of questioning gender stereotypes. Allow time for participants to engage the issues of how or if things have changed.

Emphasize that there is a continuing need for questioning, both in science and in society. You may want to look to current events when you lead the session. Guide the group to examine assumptions that are being questioned in the present day.


This session will:

  • Help deepen participants' Unitarian Universalist identity, ethical discernment, and understanding of Unitarian Universalist faith through reflection and discussion
  • Teach that Unitarian Universalism is a faith that considers each person's path of questioning and search for truth a key, ongoing part of growing in faith and deepening in religious understanding
  • Introduce the Unitarian Universalist Principle that affirms and promotes free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  • Demonstrate that Unitarian Universalism takes as one of its Sources humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
  • Engage participants in the spiritual practices of chalice lighting, voicing of joys and concerns, and intentional discussion

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Discuss the value of using reason to investigate problems, both in science and in society
  • Reflect on the variety of ways to look deeper and question as Unitarian Universalists
  • Develop questioning skills through play
  • Practice looking more deeply at issues through the symbolism of the magnifying glass

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