To me, migration means movement. There was conflict and struggle. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty. 'And the migrants kept coming.' is a refrain of triumph over adversity. If it rings true for you today, then it must still strike a chord in our American experience. — Jacob Lawrence

This opening workshop introduces the program's key themes, such as journey and wholeness, and core activities such as the journaling and worship based on James Luther Adams' Five Smooth Stones of Religious Liberalism.

The central story comes from the artist Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence was born in 1917 in New Jersey to a family who had been part of the great migration of African Americans from the southern United States to the north. In 1940, Lawrence created a 60-panel painting called The Migration Series that told the story of his family and countless other African Americans who moved north looking for greater economic prosperity.

Lawrence's depiction of a physical migration has commonalities with a spiritual journey. Both are about movement and struggle and their end result may be an appreciation of the beauty of the soul and that which links us together as fellow travelers. A journey that embraces one's faith may provide the inner strength to deal with life's challenges.

Panel no. 3 is used because it evokes the migration's movement and change. It leads the viewer to ask, "Where are they coming from?", "Where are they going?", and "What are they taking with them on their journey?" Participants will ask themselves these important questions in this program.

The main activity in this workshop is journal-making. The journal will be used throughout as a reflection tool and a record of the participants' journeys long after the program ends. This activity requires many supplies. Please read the materials list carefully.

Goals

This workshop will:

  • Build community among leaders and participants in the workshop
  • Introduce the program themes of faith journey and wholeness
  • Introduce key activities that will be part of every workshop.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Worship together
  • Encounter James Luther Adam's concept of the Five Smooth Stones of Religious Liberalism
  • Learn about the program's key themes and activities
  • Make connections between migrations and spiritual journeys
  • Learn about each other and each person's Unitarian Universalist or religious "biography"
  • Create a journal to use throughout the program.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.