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Our religious education nurtures both roots and wings; the roots of community and shared values, and the wings of the free mind and creative spirit. — Rev. Pat Hoertdoerfer, "Education for Religion as Relationship"

This workshop explores Unitarian Universalism as a living tradition with deep historical and theological roots, as well as wings of change and creativity. After learning about core values rooted in our heritage, participants will locate themselves in the continuous search for truth and meaning that is our Unitarian Universalist tradition.

Be aware that the topic of ancestry and roots may be challenging for some participants. This workshop does not ask participants to create personal family trees. It focuses on our religious ancestors. Present ancestry broadly, not as genetic heritage.

Note that one option for Activity 3, Ancestors All Around Us, includes showing a video clip. You will need to make advance arrangements if you wish to include the video.

It is important for the workshop leaders to be at least somewhat knowledgeable of Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist roots. Read Leader Resource 1, Unitarian and Universalist Roots, before the workshop. You might also explore the resources in Find Out More. While it is not possible to present all of this information during the workshop, it is helpful if the leader is able to offer important background information if questions and issues come up in discussion.


This workshop will:

  • Introduce core values rooted in the living tradition of Unitarian Universalism
  • Acknowledge each person's integral role in shaping our living tradition
  • Focus on the significance of ancestors for the present day
  • Encourage free and responsible search for truth and meaning (UUA's fourth Principle)
  • Reflect critically on the meaning of a free and responsible search for truth and relate this to James Luther Adams' First Stone.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Understand that Unitarian Universalism is a living tradition with deep historical and theological roots and an openness to continuous revelation of truths
  • Explore the roots of Unitarianism and Universalism
  • Identify and explore the significance of ancestors
  • Recognize themselves as inheritors and co-creators of a living tradition that calls on all to engage in a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning."

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