Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building the World We Dream About: An Anti-racism Multicultural Program


Every congregation has its own culture and way of scheduling adult programming. Building the World We Dream About workshops follow a particular pattern and are best done sequentially. Workshops 1-4 offer participants practice in understanding how perspectives are shaped by life experience and by racial and ethnic identity, and introduce protocols and practices that support multicultural sharing. Workshops 5-10 introduce the concept of "White privilege" and explore its manifestations in individual, congregational, and community contexts. Workshop 11 focuses on views of "Whiteness" from the perspective of Unitarian Universalist People of Color and those marginalized by race or ethnicity. Workshop 12 invites participants to meet in racial/ethnic identity-based reflection groups. Workshop 13 includes a worship service for reconciliation and reflection, as well as a consideration of the Unitarian Universalist theological grounding for the work of becoming an antiracist/antioppressive/multicultural faith community.

Although the program builds in regular assessment of progress, note the "pause" point at the conclusion of Workshop 13. In Workshop 13, participants celebrate and reflect on the work they have already done and make a re-commitment (or not) to completing the remaining workshops in the program. If you wish to either take an extended break (e.g., for holidays or summer) or pause to invite other congregational groups to begin the program, after Workshop 13 is the ideal time.

Workshops 14-21 focus on building multicultural competence. Participants explore key concepts and practices, learn about and reflect on some important contemporary issues in Unitarian Universalism that call for multicultural competence, and invite voices of People of Color and other people marginalized by race or ethnicity from the congregation and the broader community to share some of their impressions of the congregation and its practices. Participants take a community walk and practice bringing a multicultural lens and perspective to both their observations and their reflections. Workshops 20-21 engage participants in an extended simulation or case study to build insight and skills.

Workshops 22-24 invite participants to commit to further initiatives and projects as they engage the congregation and its leadership in building and strengthening an antiracist/multicultural faith community.

Creating Reflection Groups

Several times in this program, participants gather in small reflection groups for sharing and processing. In Workshop 12, participants meet in race- and identity-based groups. On any other occasion, each small reflection group should be as diverse as possible. Before Workshop 2, take time on your own and with co-facilitators to carefully consider each participant and create reflection groups of five to eight people. Participants should continue to convene in these groups throughout the program. Reconfigure the small groups only if necessary to keep the group functioning well.

Form groups to maximize each group's diversity, keeping groups roughly even in size. Consider a variety of attributes, such as each participant's racial, ethnic, and cultural identity; age; gender identity; temperament (e.g., introvert/extravert); and any gifts, challenges, and life experiences of which you are aware. Avoid placing family members together in a group.