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

Activity 3: Action-Reflection Model

Part of The New UU

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy Handout 1, Action-Reflection Model for participants.

Description of Activity

Introduce the concept of the Action-Reflection model, as described in liberation theology by Gustavo Gutierrez. In your own words, explain:

Unitarian Universalists take action in the world based on our ideas, beliefs and values. As a people of faith, we continually examine how our actions are guided by our beliefs and values. And because we are committed to developing ourselves as human beings, our faith calls us to consider how the results from our actions-both within ourselves and in the larger world-affect and deepen our understanding and our expression of values. Each time we act, we learn from that action. We may learn from how we feel about an action, from its effectiveness or ineffectiveness, or from our interactions with other people during the action. The more we intentionally reflect on the action and its results, the more we learn. Thus, our ideas, values, and theology evolve. For example, you might serve food at a shelter for homeless people. There, you might meet someone who can't find work because she lacks transportation. That might change your perception of the causes of homelessness and lead you to invite others to serve food with you. It might deepen your commitment to act and speak in ways that uphold the worth and dignity of all people. It might motivate you to become involved in advocacy for mass transit. The action leads to reflection, which leads to further action.

Distribute Handout 1, Action-Reflection Model and invite participants to follow the instructions, allowing three minutes for them to do so. If they are having trouble thinking of an "action," remind them of the stories they shared at the beginning of the workshop. After participants have completed the handout, invite them to move into pairs and share what they have written, allowing six minutes for sharing.

Invite participants to turn their attention to the larger group. Invite comments, observations, and reflections about the action-reflection model.