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Introduction, Workshop 9: Tolerance

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

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. — Audre Lorde, writer, poet, and activist

The idea of tolerance has always been central to the Unitarian Universalist faith. This is true as early as 1568 with King Sigismund's Edict of Torda, which was one of the earliest expressions of religious tolerance. Today tolerance has evolved beyond tolerating differences to celebrating them.

Although celebrating pluralism is central to our faith, it is one of the hardest values to live out in the world. This workshop explores this challenge through one difference among us: that of race. Our history is full of people and institutions taking on racism and working to end it in the greater world and within our own faith community. However, our history is also full of stories of falling short of this ideal and falling down in opportunities to support the rights of others. This experience of successes and failures in living up to ideas is very human. We can do something great and then do something awful, but our hope in this workshop is to show that we keep moving forward. In order to do justice to this topic, the story is longer than usual.

One caution as you get ready to lead this workshop: Issues of oppression can be difficult and emotional. This is especially true for people who have faced oppression in their lives or who harbor some guilt for past actions. It is important to be aware of those emotions and be supportive. In Find Out More there is a link to the website of Teaching Tolerance, a helpful resource in leading this workshop.

For more information contact web @

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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