Faith CoLab: 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

  • Review the two scenarios and select the one you will use.

Description of Activity

Share one of these two scenarios and lead a discussion using the questions in your chosen scenario.

Scenario 1

You are a member of an urban congregation and the city you are located in provides very few services for the homeless. The local Interfaith Alliance to Combat Homelessness has requested that you open your building and grounds for their work with homeless people, which includes providing sleeping space during hours when a large part of the building is normally not in use. While some congregants believe that inviting such a use of the building is exactly what the congregation should be doing, others have concerns about the security of the building and the safety of congregational members. A concern is raised that diseases such as Hepatitis B can survive on surfaces after contact, and that the congregation's children use some of the spaces in question. Would you support the Alliance's request to use your building? Why or why not? What moral/ethical ideas ground your response?

Scenario 2

The ethical eating study and support group in your congregation invites the board and congregation to raise their consciousness about environmental issues inherent in our food choices by voting to have only vegetarian food offered at congregational events. While many in the congregation try to practice "ethical eating," there are some who argue that to practice vegetarianism presupposes that one has the means and access to purchase and prepare vegetarian dishes. There is concern that if the congregation votes for such a policy change, an unintended result will be to exclude some people from participation in congregational events. Would you vote for the initiative of the ethical eating study and support group? Why or why not? What moral/ethical ideas ground your response?