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Activity 3: Unitarian Universalists Doing Interfaith Work

Activity time: 40 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Pulpit or lectern
  • Optional: Microphone (preferably cordless)

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide if you will do this panel activity or Alternate Activity 1, which includes UU panelists and their partners who belong to a different faith.
  • Find out who in your congregation does social service or social justice work with people of other faiths. Seek a diversity of ages, genders, races, ethnicities, abilities, social classes, types of social service or justice experiences, and years of being a Unitarian Universalist.
  • Invite several people in your congregation who are involved in interfaith service/justice activities to serve on a panel. Tell them how much time they will have to speak. Ideally, a panel will include three to five people, each speaking for no more than five minutes. Explain that they will be asked to introduce themselves and to tell about the interfaith social justice work they are involved with and how it relates to their spirituality and Unitarian Universalist identity. Provide them with these preparation questions: How does your social justice work connect with your religious identity? What helps you work with people of different faiths? How do you talk about your faith with people of different faiths?
  • Prepare some questions for the panelists, so you will be able to start a discussion if participants do not think of questions right away.

Description of Activity

Participants hear from experienced Unitarian Universalists about interfaith work.

Tell the group you have invited a panel of UUs from their congregation who do interfaith service work will speak to them. Brainstorm possible questions to ask panelists. Make sure you include the following:

  • How does your social justice or service work connect with your spirituality and Unitarian Universalist identity?
  • How has your social justice or service work changed or deepened your Unitarian Universalist faith?
  • Have you ever done interfaith justice or service work as a member of a different faith? What was that like? How does it compare with doing similar work as a Unitarian Universalist?
  • What helps you work with people of different faiths?
  • How do you talk about your faith with these people of different faiths?

Introduce the panelists you have invited. Ask each one to introduce themselves and to share a little bit about their interfaith service or justice activities.

Save at least ten minutes for discussion. Invite volunteers to ask the panelists questions from the earlier brainstorming or any new questions.

Thank the guests for their time.

Once the guests have gone, invite participants to reflect on the panel, using these questions:

  • Did you notice any patterns among the responses of the panelists?
  • Did any panelists describe difficulties in doing this work?
  • How might you deal with difficulties such as these, if you encountered them?
  • How was the panelists' faith of the deepened by doing this work?
  • Did you have any insights about your own Unitarian Universalist faith after hearing about the experiences of the panelists?
  • Did you have any insights about interfaith work that would be useful to keep in mind as we go forward?

Including All Participants

You may wish to pass a cordless microphone between panelists so that participants can hear them better. Provide a microphone for participants' questions, and/or have a co-leader repeat each question before inviting the panelist to answer.

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