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

Alternate Activity 1: Timeline

Part of The New UU

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Make copies of Handout 1, Famous Unitarian Universalists Mix and Match if participants will not already have them.
  • Draw a timeline on mural paper, using one color of marker. Mark 50- and 100-year segments prominently. Post the timeline on a wall.
  • Review the dates provided in Leader Resource 1, Famous Unitarian Universalists Mix and Match Answers and the story "Themes in North American Unitarian Universalist History."
  • Research significant dates to include from your congregation's history, such as the date of the story told in Activity 4, the date of the congregation's founding, the date a new building was built, the date(s) the current minister(s) arrived.

Description of Activity

Invite participants to collaborate to construct a timeline of Unitarian Universalist history.

Solicit from participants a few key historical event dates from the larger world to provide a framework and perspective for events in Unitarian Universalist history (e.g., the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement). Add these to the timeline using the same color you used to show the 50- and 100-year segments. Place each event in its general time frame; it is not important to place them exactly.

Using a second color of marker, invite participants to place the names of the famous Unitarian Universalists from Handout 1 on the timeline. Refer to Leader Resource 1, Famous Unitarian Universalists Mix and Match Answers as needed. Then, brainstorm other famous Unitarian Universalists participants know, and place them on the timeline in the same color. Again, don't be concerned so much with specific time dates (e.g., birth and death) as with the general time period in which each person lived.

With a third color of marker, add periods of time associated with the trends outlined in the story "Themes in North American Unitarian Universalist History." In addition to the dates included in the story, these may help you craft a timeline:

  • Unitarian controversy (when Unitarian and Congregationalist churches were splitting) - first quarter of the 19th century
  • Universalism brought to the U.S. in late 18th century
  • Transcendentalism - mid-19th century
  • Darwin's Origin of the Species published - 1859
  • Free Religious Association founded - 1867
  • Humanist Manifesto - 1933

With a fourth color, add dates associated with your own congregation.

Ask participants what they notice about timelines, particularly any connections among events in different colors. Discuss the observations.