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Unitarian Universalists seek always to discover deeper truth and meaning in our lives and in our experience of the world. — Gail Forsyth-Vail

One of the challenges of being human is discerning who we are in relation to the world around us. As we grow and develop, especially in faith, we realize this discernment is a dynamic, lifelong process. Our Unitarian Universalist faith enriches this process for each of us by encouraging us to examine who we truly are. Being comfortable with ourselves grounds us to look openly and caringly at others.

In this introductory session, participants begin to explore how individuality creates the lens through which we view others and all life that shares our planet. In future sessions, participants will develop a heightened awareness of how they bring their own lenses to diverse experiences outside themselves.

The story for this session is about a man who knew he needed to follow his own path. Charles Darwin became famous after writing The Origin of Species, his controversial book which proposed that all life evolved from simple organisms which became more complex over time. For some, Darwin 's theory contradicted bible-based creationism, the idea that God created the world. Darwin 's theory offered a fresh way of seeing—a new lens. Although Darwin's father wanted him to become a doctor, Darwin resisted. He was fascinated instead with the natural world and the animals and plants living in it. Darwin was called to follow his own path, his true, inner self. He made observations and drew conclusions in his own, unique way. As a result his prophetic ideas changed the way we see ourselves in relation to time, life on this planet and, ultimately, the universe.

This program focuses participants on their ability and responsibility to look both within and without—tools for lifelong moral agency. The children experience their Unitarian Universalist faith community as a place to be their true selves and a base from which their observations, reflections and responses to the world around them are accepted and respected. Here we are encouraged to open our eyes, ears and hearts to the ways we are called to live a life of love, caring and service.


This session will:

  • Introduce the concept of listening to your heart to become more aware of who you truly are and how you perceive the world
  • Convey that, as Unitarian Universalists, we look both within and around us to understand what we are called to do
  • Present the Unitarian Universalist congregation as a community that nurtures us to examine our truest selves, explore different perspectives of the world around us and honor the validity of perspectives other than our own.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Make observations about themselves which they use to create an outer self-portrait and an inner self-portrait
  • Explore their true selves and recognize that the self is a lens through which people view others
  • Hear about the work of Unitarian Charles Darwin and appreciate how his unique, inner-guided way of seeing the world has contributed to human self-understanding
  • Learn that Unitarian Universalism asks them to be true to their inner selves—to rely on their own observations, values and experiences to know what is right and important to do—and yet, to be ready to question their own perspectives as part of honoring the perspectives of others.

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