Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Harvest the Power, 2nd Edition: A Lay Leadership Development Program for Adults

Activity 4: Faith and Conflict

(40 minutes)


  • Newsprint, markers, and wall-safe tape for each small group of four to six
  • Clock or timer


  • Decide whether each small group will choose the issue that most interests them or if all groups will examine the same issue.
  • Prepare, but do not post, a sheet of newsprint with these questions:
    • What is a current conflict or dilemma in your congregation? Is it a “fake fight,” that is, a proxy conflict for something else?
    • Where is the system unbalanced or in chaos?
    • Is there a “we” in the way you frame the conflict or dilemma? Whom do you mean when you say “we”? Does that “we” exclude some and center others?
    • How is this conflict or dilemma related to your Unitarian Universalist faith? Your congregation’s mission?
    • Where are the voices calling for the congregation to honor its covenant and its mission? How are you amplifying those calls?
    • Are there ways in which the leadership team has used power or process to silence voices? What relationships do you, as leaders, need to tend to or repair?
    • Are you—as an individual and/or as a leader—connected to or in relationship with those who might be able to offer necessary information to address the conflict or dilemma?
    • What might be some next steps for the leadership and the congregation to take?


Have the group brainstorm conflicts or dilemmas facing their congregation(s) and select two or three to examine closely. Invite participants to form groups of four to six to examine an issue (either the issue that most interests them or a single issue, whichever you chose). Allow 10 minutes for this portion of the activity.

Then, post the questions you wrote on the newsprint. Invite the small groups to use the posted questions and their learnings from both this workshop and the entire Harvest the Power program to consider the dilemma or conflict and to note key points from their discussion on newsprint. Allow 15 minutes for this portion of the activity.

Ask small groups to post their ideas and share them with the whole group.

Engage the group in making plans to continue the conversations and seek ways to move forward on these issues.