Tapestry of Faith: What We Choose: An Adult Program on Ethics for Unitarian Universalists

Activity 1: Opening Scenario

Part of What We Choose

Activity time: 15 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • This activity offers a choice of two scenarios. Consider carefully whether the first scenario can be safely discussed in the group. While being inclusive of sex offenders is an active issue that an increasing number of congregations must address, if you feel the topic is emotionally difficult territory for you or for participants, use the second scenario.

Description of Activity

Share one of these scenarios:

Scenario 1

A person discloses to your congregation's leadership that they are a convicted sex offender, stating that they seek to establish open and honest relationships as they pursue spiritual and other forms of rehabilitation. In your opinion, should this individual participate in congregational life and/or become a member of your congregation? Why or why not?

Scenario 2

Your congregation recently awarded a Board member an annual award for exemplary "Moral/Ethical Leadership" within the congregation. Subsequently, it is discovered that this individual withdrew money from the congregation's bank accounts without authorization and used it to respond to an emergency plea for funds from a local shelter the congregation has a history of supporting financially. Some now say this person's award should be revoked and criminal charges filed. Others say this individual's actions demonstrate exactly why they were given the award in the first place. What is your reaction and what decision should the congregation make?

Invite participants to share and explain their reactions and responses. Ask: "What virtues (or deep-seated values) were at play?"