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If you give (a person) a fish, you feed (them) for a day. If you teach (them) how to fish, you feed (them) for a lifetime. — Chinese proverb

This workshop highlights reciprocity—loving one's neighbor as oneself—a central message of Unitarian Universalism's Sources. Participants extend their understanding of "neighbor" to the wider communities to which they belong, including the global community of humankind, and learn that one way to participate in the interdependent web of existence is to express our own need to give love and care. They understand why treating others as we would want to be treated means taking the time to discern the perspectives and real needs of others whom they want to help. The story, "The Caican Water Project," shows how organized, communal work can be more effective than the sum of individual efforts and highlights how, for many Unitarian Universalists, service is a spiritual practice.

If you have not used Workshop 5, Alternate Activity 2, Make an Aquifer in a Cup, consider including it in this workshop. It will help participants understand the engineering challenges the Caican community faced to secure clean, flowing water.


This workshop will:

  • Affirm that everyone can bring their gifts and compassion to contribute to the local and global communities to which they belong
  • Share a model of "neighbors" across the globe working as respectful partners in environmental stewardship and water equity
  • Affirm that projects of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council are one way our congregations act on the principles of reciprocity, or loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Identify how their own gifts (time, talent, treasure) can enrich their community and nourish their own need to love and give
  • See others as valuable members of their community
  • Experience and articulate ways a group is stronger than the sum of its parts
  • Learn how respectful partnership between an American Unitarian Universalist congregation and a rural community in the Philippines , combined with respectful collaboration within the Philippine community, solved a serious and complex water problem
  • Acknowledge and explore their need to be of use to their community.

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