International Unitarian Universalism: Torda 450: Celebrating the Anniversary of Religious Tolerance

Torda450 Small Group Ministry Module 3

April Dialogue

Watch the April Dialogue between the five global U/U theologians.

Watch on YouTube

Our third module is about the duel topics of "Freedom and Resistance". Before participating in this module, it is recommended that you watch April's dialogue - find the archived dialogue here. You can also view this module as a pdf.

May 2018 Module 3: Freedom and Resistance

Note: This module is designed for a small-group setting. However, it can be adapted for individual use or for a larger group. For example, an individual could substitute journaling for small-group discussion. For assistance with adaptation, please contact


  • Chalice, Candle and matches or LED battery operated candle
  • Projector/Screen or computer monitor to play the April Theologian Panel discussion at the UUA UN Office Spring Seminar: You can find the archived dialogue here. (Alternatively, participants could be invited to view the video before the small group session.)
  • Projector/Screen or paper copies of

Leader Preparation

  • Find some quiet time before beginning to ground yourself.
  • Set out the chalice and prepare the projector and paper.

Opening (15 minutes)

  • Welcome participants and light the chalice using these or similar words by: Rev. Christian Schmidt

Let us wake up. Not just from the morning exhaustion, from the wish for a few more drowsy minutes in bed. Let us wake up to this world we live in: to its beauty and wonder, and also to its tragedy and pain. We must wake up to this reality: that not all in our world have what we do, however much or little that is. We must wake up to the idea that our wholeness, our lives, are only as complete as the lives of those around us, of those we are inextricably tied to in a great web of mutuality, of which all of us are part. We must #staywoke, in the words of our friends and colleagues involved in working every day for racial justice in our country. Let us wake up, let us stay awake.

  • Invite participants to share their names and to check in briefly about the last day or two—maximum of 1 minute each.

Theologians Panel Discussion on Freedom and Resistance (90 minutes)

  • If you intend to watch the panel video as a group, plan to do so now. You can find the archived dialogue here. Alternatively, invite participants to watch the video before the small group session.

Focused Check-In (2 minutes per person)

  • Invite participants to take a deep breath together and sit in silence, taking in the information shared during the webinar. Then, begin the focused check-in using the question, “How did the experience of the theologian panel discussion interact with your spiritual journey?”

Reflection (45 minutes)

  • Invite each person to name the core theological ideas that motivate them toward working for justice. Give each person a few minutes to share without interruption, then invite open conversation about what was shared.
  • Ellen Nugroho, in her keynote essay states that one of the foundations of the Unitarian faith in Indonesia, is “that all human lives are equally sacred and should be equally respected and protected.” Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana refers to the same idea through the African concept of Ubuntu of “I am because others are.” Yet, Nugroho argues, “we...witness continually acts of injustice, manifestations of hypocrisy, falsehood, outrage, misery, but our moral indignation is short-lived” If both of these are true, what in yourself stops you from following in the footsteps of our prophetic forebears? How is it you interpret, “few are guilty, all are responsible”? What is your theological imperative to affect systemic change? What would your “subversive prayer” be? What would a revolutionary liturgical movement look like?
  • Rupaia Lamarr articulates the Khasi Unitarian core belief in the “religion of love to humanity, love to God.” He also talks about “To Nangroi,” an understanding that humanity is always progressing, always moving forward. He argues that to love God, we must also love humanity. Or as he more accurately puts it, “If we are not able to love those who we see and interact with, how can we love God which is abstract?” Stephanie Mitchem, put it this way, “religious tolerance is not enough, we must learn to listen and to understand.” Lamarr states that from the Khasi & Jaintia Unitarian perspective, we must earn righteousness. What does that mean to you? How is it you imagine earning righteousness? Can you love that which is Holy, yet not love humanity as well? What does that love look like in action? What does To Nangroi - Keep Progressing mean to you?
  • If you had to identify the source of your religious authority, what would that source be?

Looking Ahead

Closing Reading (5 minutes)

Share these words: Cathy Rion Starr (adapted)

May we engage in the work of building beloved community sustained with love. May we engage in accountable relationships with those most impacted by the injustices we seek to address. May we engage with humility, passion, love, and determination. May we make a difference in our wider community. May we find in this faith of Unitarian Universalism the strength and power to carry on in creating that city of light.

Extinguish the chalice.