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Opening (15 minutes), Workshop 1: Beginning Together

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

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Reading Leader Resource 2, James Luther Adams' Five Smooth Stones of Religious Liberalism.
  • As you prepare to tell the story of David and Goliath, decide whether to read the Bible passage, or paraphrase the story. Make sure you emphasize David's five smooth stones.
  • Locate a small table or bench to use as a focus or centering table. Decorate it with an attractive cloth, chalice, candle and matches. You will use this focus every workshop. Leave the stones aside. You will put those on the table during worship.
  • Cut Leader Resource 3, Five Smooth Stones Prayer into five parts. You will give a part and a stone to five different volunteers. If you have fewer than five participants, some may have two parts. If you have many participants, consider giving one person the reading and one person the stone so more people can participate. Tell the volunteers you will signal them when they should read their part and place their stone on the table.

Description of Activity

1. Invite the group into worship. Tell participants that worship is an important way for us as Unitarian Universalist to be in faith community with one another. Worship allows us to step back and reflect on the deeper meaning of life.

2. Invite a participant to light the chalice while reciting Reading 683 from Singing the Living Tradition. Alternatively, if your congregation opens every worship traditionally with another reading, use it instead. Leave a couple of seconds of silence after the chalice lighting.

3. Sing "Gather the Spirit", Hymn 347 in Singing the Living Tradition.

4. Tell or read the story "David and Goliath."

5. When you have told the story, read or summarize the following:

James Luther Adams was a very important 20th century Unitarian theologian. Theologians specialize in the study of religious faith, practice, and experience. James Luther Adams saw that liberal religious traditions, like Unitarianism and Universalism, had their own five smooth stones like David in the Bible story. David's stones were weapons to fight off a much stronger oppressor. James Luther Adams' stones are protection of a more peaceful type. They are a core set of values and principles that help define liberal religious traditions like our own as different then the more conservative (or orthodox) religious traditions that exist around us.

6. Signal the first participant to read their part and place their stone. Repeat for all five stones. Then say:

Let all these stones be a symbol of the community we strive to build together and our wider liberal religious faith.

7. As the program progresses, invite participants to look for ways these five smooth stones show up in the discussions and activities.

8. Distribute Handout 1. Tell participants that this responsive reading is a modification of the prayer used in the opening chalice lighting. Ask participants to read the responsive reading quietly to themselves.

9. Close the worship with the follow blessing:

Blessed Spirit, hold us in community with each other as we grow together in faith. Amen and Blessed Be.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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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