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


Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Worship or centering table
  • Chalice, candle, and lighter or LED battery-operated candle
  • Time piece (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, read these words of Jason Happel, quoted in We Would Be One by Wayne Arnason and Rebecca Scott:

We always talked about the otherworldiness of youth group, the sense of community-which, for us, meant a feeling of acceptance by others. Ask anyone who was involved in youth conferences and they will remark on the intensity of the experience. We were free from all social conventions and labels. It was an experience of revolutionary freedom that would haunt me for the rest of my life.

Tell participants that this workshop explores the concept of temporary autonomous zones, brief utopian spaces where normal social rules are suspended and people live according to their values. The workshop examines the relationship between the Unitarian Universalist organization Liberal Religious Youth (LRY) and the 1960s counter-culture, and explores the role of temporary autonomous zones in contemporary Unitarian Universalist life.