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

Alternate Activity 3: Common Vision Report

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print Leader Resource 3, Common Vision Survey Responses. Cut apart so each statement is on a single slip of paper.
  • Place the slips of paper into a basket or bowl.

Description of Activity

Introduce the activity with these words from the introduction to the 1989 Common Vision report to the UUA Board of Trustees:

In the winter of 1987-88, the Common Vision Planning Committee conducted a survey of Unitarian Universalists to collect basic information about how UUs feel about the inclusion of gay and lesbian (and bisexual) persons in our religious movement. Responses were gathered through a four-page questionnaire in the December 1987 World and from direct participation in the survey by 37 UU societies... About 14 percent of the respondents were gay, lesbian, or bisexual; 86 percent identified themselves as heterosexual. Although most of the survey comprised agree-disagree statements, there were two short response questions that asked respondents to write how UUA Principles and Purposes or resolutions have affected their behavior relative to BGL persons (the survey did not include questions about transgender people).

Tell the group they will now listen to some of the voices of those who participated in the survey who identified themselves as heterosexual. Pass the basket and ask each participant to take a slip of paper and read it aloud without comment. Invite anyone who does not choose to read aloud to pass, and return their slip to the basket.

Continue until all slips have been read. Then, invite participants into a time of reflection. Share these prompts, one at a time, allowing two or three minutes of silence after each:

  • Recall your own journey as you learned about homosexuality. For some of us, this is a "coming out" story. For some of us, this is a "learning about" story.
  • What important events or people did you encounter along the way?
  • What role, if any, has your Unitarian Universalist faith played in your journey?

After reflection, invite participants to form groups of three and share some of their reflections, either about their own journey, or in response to statements from the survey. Allow ten minutes for triads to talk.

Re-gather the large group and invite comments and reflections based on small group conversations or on the survey. Ask: How have attitudes and assumptions changed since 1989 in our Association? Our congregation? The broader society? What work remains to be done?