Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: What Moves Us: A Unitarian Universalist Theology Program for Adults

Program Structure

Part of What Moves Us

Each workshop provides a five-step structure.

First, participants hear a faith story disclosing what emotionally moved one of our spiritual forebears. Each story begins with the subject's own personal experience of an unexpected change in their emotional life (a change of heart) that required new, liberal theological reflections and insights in order to make sense of what the person felt and how the person should now act toward others.

Second, participants are invited to find a personal story that feels akin to the story just read. The salient element is an emotional similarity rather than a factual one. Participants share personal stories in three-person breakout groups.

Third, participants learn how the forebear's reflection on the emotional experience reshaped their theology and ethical action. The facilitator will lift up significant factors that shaped the forebear's new liberal theological lens.

Fourth, three-person breakout groups are invited to share personal reflections, using the forebearer's theological lens to test whether this particular perspective helps elucidate the participants' own personal experiences of faith and action as Unitarian Universalists today.

Finally, a portion of each workshop is devoted to personal reflections in the participant's theology journal. Participants are invited to write or sketch insights about their own theologies of personal experience after using the particular theological lens presented in the workshop. They are also invited to determine how their discoveries might change how they practice their liberal faith in word and deed.

Each What Moves Us workshop includes these elements:


The Introduction summarizes the workshop content and offers guidance for implementing the workshop.


The goals provide the desired outcomes of the workshop. As you plan, apply your knowledge of your group, the time and space you have available, and your own strengths as co-leaders to determine how you will provide the content and achieve the goals of the workshop.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives describe specific participant outcomes that the workshop activities are designed to facilitate. They describe what participants may learn and how they may change as a result of the experience of the workshop.


This useful table lists the core workshop activities in order and provides an estimated time for completing each activity.

Workshop-at-a-Glance is offered as a road map. It is offered as a guide for planning the workshop. Keep in mind that many variables inform the actual completion time for an activity. Consider the time you will need to form small, breakout groups and reconvene.

Spiritual Preparation

Under the heading Spiritual Preparation, each workshop includes instructions for primary and secondary source background reading (included as Leader Resources) as well as guidance for personal theological reflection based on the reading. The readings, reflections, and other preparation are necessary in order that leaders are prepared to facilitate with spiritual confidence and intellectual depth.

Part of growing as a leader is learning to pay attention to the accessibility needs of workshop participants. Review Workshop 1, Leader Resource 1, Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters, before each workshop.

Workshop Plan

The workshop plan presents every element of the workshop:

Welcoming and Entering. This section offers steps for welcoming participants as they arrive. It is recommended that you complete the preparations in the Welcoming and Entering section 15 minutes before a workshop's scheduled beginning.

Opening. Each workshop begins with a short opening ritual, including a welcome, a chalice-lighting, and a reading or song. Shape the opening ritual to suit your group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

Activities. Several activities form the core content of each workshop. To provide a coherent learning experience, present the activities in the sequence suggested. Generally, workshops balance listening with talking, and include individual, small group and whole group activities.

Each activity presents the materials and preparation you will need, followed by a description of the activity:

  • Materials for Activity — List of the supplies you will need.
  • Preparation for Activity — "To do" list that specifies all the advance work you need to do for the activity, from copying handouts to writing questions on newsprint just before participants arrive. Look at the preparation tasks several days ahead to make sure you have ample time to obtain items and make special arrangements if needed.
  • Description of Activity — Detailed directions for implementing the activity with your group. Read activity descriptions carefully during your planning process so you understand each activity and its purpose. Later, when you lead the group, use the description as a step-by-step, how-to manual.
  • Including All Participants — Specific accessibility guidance for activities that have unusual physical circumstances or for which a reminder about inclusion may benefit leaders. Please consult Workshop 1, Leader Resource 1, Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters, for suggestions to meet some common accessibility needs.

Closing. Each workshop offers a closing ritual that signals the end of the group's time together. During the Closing, you might introduce the workshop's Taking It Home or Faith in Action ideas, invite participants to share briefly, and offer closing words. Like the Opening, the Closing grounds a shared learning experience in ritual. Shape your closing ritual to fit the group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

Leader Reflection and Planning. Find time as co-facilitators to discuss these questions after each workshop to strengthen your skills and your understanding of the group.

Resources. What Moves Us workshops conclude with all the materials you will need to lead the workshop:

Stories — Narratives from the lives and experiences of the highlighted theologians that illuminate and support the workshop activities.

Handouts — Sheets you will need to print out and copy for participants. Some handouts are for use in the workshop and others provide additional information for participants to take home and read.

Leader Resources — Background information to read and reflect on before the workshop.