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

Alternate Activity 3: Review of the Hymnbook

Part of The New UU

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Make copies of Handout 2, Unitarian Universalist Sources.
  • Spend time familiarizing yourself with the hymnbook. Pay attention to the various themed sections.
  • Select six hymns, one for each Source, from pages 1-101; 102-175; 176-197; 198-285; 286-356; and 357-415. Choose hymns familiar to your congregation. Your music director or a choir member may be helpful.
  • Optional: Invite your congregation's music director or a choir member to help you facilitate this activity.

Description of Activity

Distribute copies of the hymnbook and Handout 2, Unitarian Universalist Sources. Read the Sources aloud. Invite participants to open the book to the Table of Contents. Point out that the hymnbook is organized around the Sources and that although the final Source was added after the hymnbook was published, the hymnbook does include songs from Earth-based traditions (for example, Hymn 387, "The Earth, Water, Fire, Air").

Invite participants to look at each of the hymns you have selected. If the music director or a choir member is participating, invite them to sing or lead a verse of each song. Ask participants:

  • As you look at the words, how does each hymn represent its Source?
  • What does each hymn say about Unitarian Universalist views of the world?
  • Do any of these hymns have alternate words with which you are familiar? How are these words different?

Invite participants to turn to the back of the hymnbook to "Topical Index of Hymns." Discuss any surprises about what topics are, or are not, included.

Invite participants turn to the Readings and find something they like. As time allows, invite participants to share their chosen readings aloud.