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

Activity 4: Lifespan Faith Development Panel

Part of The New UU

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Recruit a panel of people from your congregation to discuss their experience of faith development through your religious education offerings. Be sure to include a variety of perspectives. Ideally, participants will represent several different ages and life stages. Potential panelists include:
    • A director of religious education, minister of religious education, or Religious Education or Lifespan Faith Development Committee chair
    • A youth who grew up in your congregation
    • A parent of a child or children in your program
    • Teachers or workshop leaders who have participated in your program, including one who has taught OWL (any level)
    • An adult who has participated in workshops
  • Send the panel members an email or letter to describe the purpose of the presentation, following the model in Leader Resource 2, Letter to Panelists.
  • Configure seating so the panel can fully face the participants.

Description of Activity

Introduce the panel with these or similar words:

The best way to know what something is like is to experience it. A next-best is to hear from someone else who has experienced it. To help you understand faith development and religious education in our congregation, we have assembled a panel of experts, people who are involved in teaching and learning in our congregation. I'm going to ask them to briefly introduce themselves, saying how long they have been part of our congregation, and I'm going to ask you to say your names, as well. Then each panelist will speak for a few minutes about their experience with religious education and faith development in this congregation. After that, you will have a chance to ask your questions. Let's begin with our introductions.

After the introductions, monitor the time to allow each panelist an equal amount. If necessary, prompt panelists to wrap up. Presentations should be complete in about 20 minutes. Then, invite workshop participants to ask questions. If participants are reluctant, have panelists ask one another any questions that came up for them. At the end of the time, thank the panelists and invite them to stay with you for the closing.