Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Resistance and Transformation: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History

Program Structure

Resistance and Transformation is flexible. Tailor the program to meet the needs and interests of your congregation. The full program comprises 16 90-minute workshops, organized thematically. Each workshop offers alternate activities allowing you extend the time of the workshop, explore certain topics in more depth, or choose alternate topics. It is strongly recommended that you plan at least 90 minutes for each session. However, if you will only have an hour for each workshop, consider distributing handouts and stories in advance of the workshop time and shortening discussion times during the workshop.

You can offer all 16 workshops over a time span appropriate for your congregation. Alternately, you may wish to present one or more subsets of workshops. In all cases, it is recommended that you begin with Workshops 1 and 2, which set the framework. Here are suggested thematic groupings for the remaining workshops:

Strategies for Resistance

Workshop 3: The Response to Slavery

Workshop 4: The Nineteenth Century Women's Peace Movement

Workshop 5: Just War, Pacifism, and Peacemaking

Parallel Strategies and Communities

Workshop 6: Religious Freedom on the Margins of Empire

Workshop 7: Utopianism

Workshop 8: Counter-Culture

The Right to Dissent

Workshop 9: Free Speech

Workshop 10: Taking Politics Public

Expanding the Franchise: The Quest for Racial Justice

Workshop 11: Civil Rights

Workshop 12: Responding to Calls for Black Empowerment

Expanding the Franchise: Gender and Sexuality

Workshop 13: The Women's Movement

Workshop 14: Sexuality Education as a Justice Issue

Workshop 15: Beyond Binaries — The Struggle for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equality


Workshop 16: Is There More?

Structure of Individual Workshops

All workshops follow the structure described below:

Introduction. The Introduction summarizes the workshop content and offers guidance for implementing the workshop.

Goals. The goals provide the desired outcomes of the workshop. As you plan a workshop, apply your knowledge of your group, the time and space you have available, and your own strengths as a leader to determine the most important and achievable goals for the workshop. Choose the activities that will best serve those goals.

Learning Objectives. The 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.

Workshop-at-a-Glance. This useful table lists the core workshop activities in order and provides an estimated time for completing each activity. It also lists the workshop's Faith in Action activity and Alternate Activities.

Workshop-at-a-Glance is not a road map you must follow. Rather, use it as a menu for planning the workshop. You will decide which elements to use and how to combine them to best suit the group, the meeting space, and the amount of time you have.

Keep in mind that many variables inform the actual completion time for an activity. Whole-group discussions will take longer in a large group than in a small group. Consider the time you will need to form small groups or relocate participants to another area of the meeting room.

Spiritual Preparation. Under the heading Spiritual Preparation, each workshop suggests readings, reflections, and/or other preparation to help facilitators grow spiritually and prepare to facilitate with confidence and depth.

Part of growing as a leader is learning to pay attention to the accessibility needs of workshop participants. Review Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters, in the Integrating All Participants section of this Introduction, before each workshop.

Workshop Plan. The workshop plan presents every element of the workshop. The workshop elements are:

Welcoming and Entering. This section offers steps for welcoming participants as they arrive, before the workshop begins. It is recommended that you complete the preparations in the Welcoming and Entering section 15 minutes before a workshop's scheduled beginning. You may wish to set out beverages and snacks for participants.

Opening. Each workshop begins with a short ritual, including a chalice-lighting, a song, and a reading or question to focus attention on the topic of the workshop. Shape the opening ritual to suit your group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

The opening ritual includes singing a social justice-themed hymn. You might work with your music director to use this program as an opportunity to expand your congregation's repertoire of social justice hymns.

Activities. Several activities form the core content of each workshop. To provide a coherent learning experience, present the activities in the sequence suggested. Workshops offer a variety of activities to address different learning styles. Generally, the activities in a workshop balance listening with talking and include individual, small group, and whole group explorations. 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 purchasing supplies or inviting a guest speaker to writing questions on newsprint just before participants arrive. Look at the preparation tasks several weeks ahead to make sure you have ample time to obtain items and make any special arrangements.

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. Later, when you lead the group, use the description as a step-by-step how-to manual.

Including All Participants — Specific accessibility guidance is provided for activities that have unusual physical circumstances or for which a reminder about inclusion may benefit leaders.

Faith in Action. Each workshop suggests an activity to provide outside the regular workshop time. This is an opportunity for the group to put ideas and themes from the workshop into action for the transformation of our congregations, and our world. If your group will do a large number of the workshops, you might choose one or two "Faith in Action" activities that resonate with your group to do over the course of the program.

You can also download the Faith in Action section and combine it with the Taking It Home section as a handout or email to participants after each workshop. (Note: You can customize Faith in Action, Taking It Home or any other component of a Tapestry of Faith program. Download it to your own computer and edit it with your own word processing program.)

Closing. Each workshop offers a ritual that signals the end of the group's time together. During the Closing, participants have an opportunity to integrate some of their learning from the workshop, sometimes by writing in their journals. You are invited to introduce the workshop's Taking It Home and Faith in Action ideas, invite participants to share briefly, and offer closing words. Like the Opening, the Closing grounds a shared learning experience in ritual. Shape your closing ritual to fit the group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

Leader Reflection and Planning. After each workshop, have co-facilitators discuss these questions to strengthen your skills and build your understanding of the group.

Alternate Activities. Most workshops offer at least one Alternate Activity to substitute for a core activity or add to a workshop. An Alternate Activity may need more time than a parallel core activity, require access to technology, use a different approach to core material, or extend learning in a particular direction not covered by a core activity. Review Alternate Activities along with the core activities when planning a workshop. Select the activities you feel will work best for you and the group. Keep in mind the benefits of a well paced workshop that includes different kinds of activities.

Resources. Workshops conclude with three resource sections which provide all the materials you will need to lead any activity in the workshop.

  • Stories — Narratives from the Sources of our Unitarian Universalist tradition that illuminate and support the workshop activities.
  • Handouts — Sheets you will need to print out and copy for participants to use in the workshop.
  • Leader Resources — Background information and/or activity directions you will need during the workshop.