Activity 2: Introducing Forrest Church - Stories and Reflections
Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Handout 1, Introducing Forrest Church
- Story, "Forrest Church's Redemption Experiences"
- Leader Resource 1, Forrest Church Portrait
- Participant journals
- Variety of writing and drawing implements
- Optional: Computer and digital projector
Preparation for Activity
- Prepare to project or make copies of Leader Resource 1.
- Review the story so you can present it effectively.
- Copy the handout and the story for all participants.
- Arrange for three volunteers to read the three sections of the story. If possible, give the story to the volunteers ahead of time.
Description of Activity
Project or distribute copies of Leader Resource 1. Briefly introduce the Rev. Dr. Forrest Church as one of America's pre-eminent liberal theologians who has been called "the most quoted Unitarian Universalist of this era." The senior minister of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City for 30 years, he then became the congregation's Minister of Public Theology. Church at the time of his death on September 24, 2009 had written or edited more than 24 books. including Love and Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow, published in 2008, and his final book The Cathedral of the World: A Universalist Theology both published by Beacon Press.
Distribute Handout 1, which contains more detail about Church's life, and invite participants to read it at home. Read aloud the bolded section of the handout to introduce Church's theology.
Distribute the story. Ask a volunteer participant to read aloud the first section of the story. Pause for at least a minute of silence to allow participants to absorb the story. Then, invite them to write feelings and thoughts in their theology journals. Allow three minutes for writing or drawing.
When time is up, invite a second volunteer to read aloud the second section of the story. Invite them to note additional feelings and thoughts in their theology journal. Allow two minutes.
Finally, ask a third participant to read the third section of the story.
Pause for at least a minute of silence to allow participants to absorb the story. Then, invite them to write feelings and thoughts in their theology journal for three or four minutes.