Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Faith Like a River: A Program on Unitarian Universalist History for Adults

Program Structure

This program comprises 16 two-hour workshops (including a ten-minute break).

Each workshop can stand alone or be combined with others for a series up to 16 workshops. You are urged to begin with Workshop 1, Wading In — An Introduction. Concluding activities appropriate to any set of workshops can be found in Workshop 16, Ripples in the Water — The Evangelists.

You might present a short series organized around one of these themes:

Freedom of Belief

WORKSHOP 2: Against the Flow — Orthodoxy and Heresy

WORKSHOP 4: The Verdant Springs — Reform(ation)

WORKSHOP 5: God's Gonna Trouble the Waters — Martyrs and Sacrifice

Prophets and Social Justice

WORKSHOP 12: I've Got Tears Like the Raindrops — Freedom

WORKSHOP 13: Mirages and Oases — Idealism and Utopianism

WORKSHOP 16: Ripples in the Water — The Evangelists

Diverse Community

WORKSHOP 6: Shall We Gather at the River? — Religious Tolerance

WORKSHOP 14: The Seven Seas — Globalization

WORKSHOP 15: The Water Is Wide — Multiculturalism


WORKSHOP 9: Rise in the Sea — Unitarianism

WORKSHOP 10: Rise in the Sea — Universalism

WORKSHOP 11: As Tranquil Streams that Meet and Merge — Consolidation

Unitarian Universalist Identity

WORKSHOP 3: Rising Tides — Reason as a Religious Source

WORKSHOP 7: We're All Swimming in the Stream Together — Covenant

WORKSHOP 8: Gently Down the Stream — Polity

All workshops follow this structure:

Introduction. The Introduction summarizes the workshop themes and content and offers guidance for implementing the workshop.

Goals. Goals provide the desired outcomes of the workshop. As you plan a workshop, apply your knowledge of your group, the time and space you have available, and your own strengths as a leader to determine the most important and achievable goals for the workshop. Choose the activities that will best serve those goals.

Learning Objectives. Learning Objectives describe specific participant outcomes that the workshop activities are designed to facilitate. They describe what participants may learn and how they may change as a result of the experience of the workshop.

Workshop-at-a-Glance. This useful table lists the core workshop activities in order and provides an estimated time for completing each activity. It also presents the workshop's Faith in Action activity and Alternate Activities.

Workshop-at-a-Glance is not a road map you must follow. Rather, use it as a menu for planning the workshop. Many variables inform the actual completion time for an activity. Consider the time you will need to form small groups or relocate participants to another area of the meeting room.

Spiritual Preparation. Each workshop suggests readings, reflections, and/or other preparation to help facilitators grow spiritually and prepare to facilitate with confidence and depth. You may invite participants, in a workshop Closing, to to engage in the same spiritual practice for the following workshop so that they, too, will arrive at the workshop centered and ready to engage with the material and the group.

Review Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters before each workshop.


The workshop elements are:

Welcoming and Entering. This section offers steps for welcoming participants as they arrive.

Opening. Each workshop begins with a short opening ritual, including a welcome, chalice-lighting, and reading or song. Shape the opening ritual to suit your group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

Activities. To provide a coherent learning experience, present the core activities in the sequence suggested. Activities address different learning styles and include individual, small group, and whole group exploration.

Plan a ten-minute break near the halfway point of the workshop. Arrange for beverages and snacks if you wish.

Each activity presents the materials and preparation you will need, followed by a description of the activity followed by detailed directions for implementing the activity with your group. Accessibility guidance is provided, in an Including All Participants section, for activities that have unusual physical circumstances or for which a reminder about inclusion may benefit leaders. Please consult the Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters in the Integrating All Participants section of this Introduction for suggestions to meet some common accessibility needs.

Faith in Action. Each workshop suggests an activity for the group to do outside the workshop meeting times. This is an opportunity for participants to apply workshop themes to action that can transform our congregations and our world.

Workshop Closings suggest download the Faith in Action section and combine it with the Taking It Home section as a handout. (Note: You can customize Faith in Action, Taking It Home or any other component of a Tapestry of Faith program. Download it to your own computer and edit it with your own word processing program.)

Closing. Each workshop offers a closing ritual that signals the end of the group's time together. Like the Opening, the Closing grounds a shared learning experience in ritual. Shape your closing ritual to fit the group and the culture and practices of your congregation.

Leader Reflection and Planning. Find time as co-facilitators to discuss these questions after each workshop to strengthen your skills and your understanding of the group.

Alternate Activities. Workshops offer Alternate Activities to substitute for a core activity or add to the workshop. An Alternate Activity may need more time than a parallel core activity or require Internet access. It may use a different approach to presenting core material or extend learning in a direction not offered in a core activity.

Review Alternate Activities along with the core activities when planning a workshop. Select the activities you feel will work best for you and the group. Keep in mind the benefits of a well-paced workshop that includes different kinds of activities.

Resources. Workshops include the following resources you will need to lead the workshop activities.

  • Stories — Narratives from the sources of our Unitarian Universalist tradition that illuminate and support the workshop activities.
  • Handouts — Sheets you will need to print out and copy for participants to use in the workshop.
  • Leader Resources — Background information and/or activity directions you will need during the workshop.