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Introduction, Workshop 1: Beginning Together

In "A Place of Wholeness," a Tapestry of Faith program

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.

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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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