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

Activity 2: Youth Lead the Way

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print out Leader Resource 1, Youth Lead the Way and prepare to present it.
  • Place a hymnbook on each participant's chair.
  • Print out Leader Resource 2, Liberal Religious Youth Photograph, 1953 to pass around.
  • Optional: Prepare Leader Resource 2 as a digital slide. Test computer and projector.
  • Optional: Invite a musician (or a musical participant) to lead and/or accompany the hymn.

Description of Activity

Read or present the contents of Leader Resource 1, Youth Lead the Way. Pass around (or project) Leader Resource 2, Liberal Religious Youth Photograph, 1953. Explain that the Unitarian and Universalist youth movements consolidated in 1953.

Invite participants to share any stories they may have of growing up in congregational youth groups, whether Unitarian, Universalist, Unitarian Universalist, or another faith tradition. Guide a conversation with these questions:

  • What kind of mission or service work did your youth group engage in?
  • What did your faith community youth group provide for you that was lacking in other youth social or educational groups?
  • What would you hope Unitarian Universalist youth groups uniquely offer today?

Allow ten minutes for this discussion.

Then, distribute hymnbooks. Explain:

Hymn 318, "We Would Be One," was originally written as a youth anthem. Anthony Wright, the first executive director of the consolidated Liberal Religious Youth, wrote the words in 1952 as the American Unitarian Youth and the Universalist Youth Fellowship were in the process of consolidation. A few words were changed when the song was included in Singing the Living Tradition. Two changes were made for more inclusive language: "to show mankind a new community" was changed to "to show to all a new community," and "strive to make men free" was altered to "strive to make us free." The one other change was the change of "our hymn of youth" to "our hymn of love."

Lead the group in singing "We Would Be One."