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

Activity 1: John Murray and the Deacon

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy the story "John Murray and the Deacon" for all participants.
  • Invite two volunteers to read and act out the roles of John Murray and the Deacon. Give them the story and their assignments before this workshop. Encouraging them to play their parts to the audience of participants and to play them "large."
  • Print out the portrait of John Murray to pass around.
  • Optional: Download Leader Resource 1 and prepare the portrait of John Murray as a digital slide. Test the computer and projector.

Description of Activity

Distribute the story "John Murray and the Deacon." Say in these words, or your own:

John Murray, a Methodist preacher from England, is often credited as the founding father of Universalism in America. In his memoirs, Murray recounted a story of his encounter with a Methodist deacon.

Invite the two volunteers to read and act out the dialogue.

Thank the volunteers. Then, lead a discussion of these questions:

  • What was at stake for the Deacon if what Murray said was true, that salvation was available to all, regardless of belief or non-belief?
  • If you had been present at this exchange, would you have been convinced by Murray? the Deacon? neither? Why?

Including All Participants

To better include participants with hearing limitations, invite the group to follow the enacted conversation on their handouts, and provide portable or lapel microphones for the volunteers who are acting out the story.