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


Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Worship or centering table
  • Chalice, candle, and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
  • Timepiece (minutes)
  • Chime or bell
  • Copies of Singing the Living Tradition, the UUA hymnbook, for all participants
  • Optional: Cloth for worship/centering table
  • Optional: Microphone
  • Optional: Keyboard or piano

Preparation for Activity

  • Arrange the worship or centering table, including the chalice, so all participants can see it when they are seated.
  • Consider the size of the group and calculate how much time of the allotted ten minutes each person will have to introduce themselves. Model your own introduction accordingly.
  • Choose a hymn from Singing the Living Tradition that is familiar to participants. Possibilities include Hymn 119, "Once to Every Soul and Nation," Hymn 121, "We'll Build a Land," Hymn 140, "Hail the Glorious Golden City," Hymn 146, "Soon the Day Will Arrive," Hymn 157, "Step By Step," Hymn 162, "Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield," Hymn 168, "One More Step," and Hymn 170,"We are a Gentle, Angry People."
  • Optional: Invite a musician to teach and/or accompany the hymn.

Description of Activity

Invite a participant to light the chalice while you lead a unison reading of Reading 449 from Singing the Living Tradition: "We hallow this time together by kindling the lamp of our heritage."

Lead the group in singing the hymn you have chosen.

After the song, invite participants to introduce themselves and to share a bit about what brings them to the workshop. Allow ten minutes for introductions.

Read these words written by Clarence Skinner, a 20th-century Universalist theologian, minister, and social justice activist:

If there is anything which ought to be distinctive of religion, it is a feeling of active relationship between the self and a mystic, other, better world. There is no reason why this sense of relationship should be confined to a hazy realm where the soul visits after death. Can there not be a social and political mysticism which calls for an eager faith? Can we not visualize another better world which not yet real, but is capable of becoming a reality? The old mysticism was individualistic. But this other mysticism would contain a diviner urge and lay upon humanity a sense of something great to be done. Not to die for our faith as the saint of old, not to kill for it, as does the solider, but to live for it-to live splendidly, with utter devotion.