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

Alternate Activity 1: In the Public Eye

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read Handout 4, Loving Our Whole Lives, and copy it for all participants.
  • Pre-arrange for a participant to read Handout 4, Loving Our Whole Lives, aloud. Give them the handout in advance.
  • Prepare and post three sheets of newsprint with these headings: "Personal Response," "Congregational Response," and "Public Response."

Description of Activity

This activity tells some of the history of our sexuality education program and describes one congregation's interaction with the media around this topic. It is a good way to extend themes from Activities 2 and 3.

Distribute Handout 4, Loving Our Whole Lives, and invite the volunteer to read it aloud. Then, ask the group to consider three different spheres of engagement with sexuality education materials such as Our Whole Lives: personal, congregational, and public.

Indicate the newsprint labeled "Personal Response," and invite participants to identify ways an individual might respond to the sexuality education material in Our Whole Lives. These responses might be positive or negative. For example: A parent might come to an OWL leader with concerns about their child's reaction to the material; a parent might come to thank an OWL leader for their commitment to giving youth information and guidance. Allow five or six minutes for brainstorming, recording contributions on newsprint. Remind participants that when brainstorming, the group agrees to simply record ideas and not evaluate. The time to evaluate will come later.

Next, indicate the newsprint labeled "Congregational Response." Ask participants to identify ways, positive and negative, that a congregation might respond to a proposal to offer Our Whole Lives or to expand the offerings to a new age group, such as Kindergarten-First Grade or young adults. What committees or groups might have the formal authority to make this decision? Who might have the power to support or block it-for example, the governing board, the finance committee, the religious educator? Allow five or six minutes for brainstorming, recording contributions on newsprint.

Now turn to the newsprint labeled "Public Response." Invite participants to identify ways the congregation might interact with the larger community about a decision to implement or expand Our Whole Lives offerings in the congregation. For example, parents in your community who are not connected to the congregation might hear about this program and want to enroll their youth; someone might write a letter to the local newspaper critical of the program. Allow five or six minutes for brainstorming, recording contributions on newsprint.

After completing all three brainstorming lists, return to them one at a time, asking the group to consider the imagined situations. In each case, who is responsible for responding (the congregation's professional staff, lay leadership, a group or committee, the entire congregation)? What should they do? As the discussion unfolds, challenge participants to connect the responses they suggest with their understanding of sexual justice. As participants suggest actions, guide them to root their ideas in Unitarian Universalist theology and principles.