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Activity 1: Perspectives on Hope
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Copies of Handout 1, Hope Quotes, for all participants and leaders
- Newsprint, markers and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Write the John Murray quote on newsprint.
- Read and familiarize yourself with Handout 1, Hope Quotes.
Description of Activity
This activity sparks discussion about the meaning of hope for Unitarian Universalists.
Begin by inviting a participant to read aloud the following quote from John Murray, one of the founders of American Universalism:
You may possess only a small light, but uncover it, let it shine, use it in order to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men and women. Give them not Hell, but hope and courage. Do not push them deeper into their theological despair, but preach the kindness and everlasting love of God.
Explain that John Murray wrote this to counter theologies that he believed focused too much on Hell and encouraged despair because of the way God was portrayed. Instead, he preached the kindness and love of God in order to foster hope and courage. The theology of universal salvation--that all people will be saved, and none will go to Hell--was the foundation of his preaching and of Universalism.
Tell participants that this theology of hope is a part of the Unitarian Universalist living tradition to this day, and has been expressed by Unitarian Universalists and non-Unitarian Universalists alike in a variety of ways.
Tell participants that they will now read, then discuss, a series of quotes about hope. Distribute Handout 1, Hope Quotes, and invite participants one by one to read a quote aloud, making sure to identify the source.
When participants have heard all of the quotes, ask for a few moments of silent reflection.
Then ask the group: In your experience, what does it mean to have hope?
Lead a ten minute discussion in response to this question and the quotes shared.
Conclude by thanking everyone for sharing their perspectives so that all can deepen their understanding of hope.