Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: The New UU: A Program for Welcoming Newcomers to Unitarian Universalist Congregations

Program Structure

Part of The New UU

The New UU consists of six workshops, 90 minutes in length. Each includes suggestions for shortening the workshop if you only have an hour and Alternate Activities you can use to lengthen the workshop.

Each workshop includes these elements:


The Introduction summarizes the workshop content and offers guidance for its implementation.


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-facilitators to determine how you will achieve the goals of the workshop.

Learning Objectives

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 guide for planning the workshop. Keep in mind that many variables, such as the number of participants and the extent of participation, influence the actual time needed.

Spiritual Preparation

Spiritual Preparation offers questions to consider about your own relationship with the topic and with your congregation. Sharing this preparation with your co-facilitators will deepen the experience for all of you.

Part of growing as a leader is learning to pay attention to the accessibility needs of participants. Review accessibility guidelines in this program introduction 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 these preparations 15 minutes before a workshop's scheduled beginning.

Opening. Each workshop begins with a short opening ritual, including 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. Workshops strive to balance different ways of learning and to provide variety in approach.

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 adapting and copying handouts to writing questions on newsprint. Some preparation, such as inviting special guests, requires considerable advance planning.
  • 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. When you lead the group, use the description as a step-by-step guide.
  • Including All Participants — Specific accessibility guidance for activities that may present a physical or other challenge for some participants.

Closing. Each workshop offers the option of closing words or a song that signals the end of the group's time together. During the Closing, you might introduce the workshop's Find Out More ideas. 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. The New UU workshops conclude with all the materials you will need to lead the workshop:

  • Stories — Narratives from the various sources that support the workshop goals and activities.
  • Handouts — Sheets you will need to print out and copy for participants to use in the workshop and keep for later reference.
  • Leader Resources — Background information to read and reflect on before the workshop.
  • Find Out More — Offers participants ways to further explore workshop themes.