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


Activity time: 10 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.
  • Choose a social justice 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, go around the circle and invite everyone to share their names. Ask if any followed the suggestion in the Workshop 2 Faith in Action activity, reaching out to someone with a different social justice interest and discovering their social justice strategy. Invite participants to share any good or unexpected conversations that resulted.

Then read the following words, written in 1833 by Unitarian Lydia Maria Francis Child in her book, An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans:

The personal liberty of one can never be the property of another. All ideas of property are founded upon the mutual agreement of the human race and regulated by such laws as are deemed most conducive to the general good. In slavery there is no mutual agreement for in that case it would not be slavery. The negro has no voice in the matter-no alternative is presented to him-no bargain is made. The beginning of his bondage is the triumph of power over weakness, its continuation is the tyranny of knowledge over ignorance. One man may as well claim an exclusive right to the air another man breathes, as to the possession of his limbs and faculties. Personal freedom is the birthright of every human being. God himself made it the first great law of creation; and no human enactment can render it null and void.

Tell participants that this workshop will explore how different strategies for social justice work were developed and practiced during the struggle to end slavery.