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

Activity 3: Kindred Spirits - Angus MacLean and Sophia Lyon Fahs

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Leader Resource 3, Kindred Spirits
  • Plain paper and pencils, pens, and markers
  • Optional: Books and other materials from the New Beacon Series

Preparation for Activity

  • Print out Leader Resource 3, Kindred Spirits and prepare to present it.
  • Write these quotes on newsprint and post:
    • The method is the message. - Angus MacLean
    • We need to learn how to help children to think about ordinary things until insights and feelings are found which have a religious quality. - Sophia Lyon Fahs
  • Write on newsprint, and set aside:
    • Can you recall a specific experience when the method was the most important part of the message?
    • Can you recall a lesson offered when you were led to see something ordinary as having a religious quality?
  • Optional: Check your congregation's religious education library for books and other materials from the New Beacon Series. If you find some, create a display.

Description of Activity

Read or present Leader Resource 3, Kindred Spirits. Then, invite participants to share any memories of having been in Unitarian, Universalist, or Unitarian Universalist religious education programs and using materials from the New Beacon Series. Point out items in your display, if you have created one.

Call attention to the two quotes you have prepared and post the questions. Invite participants to reflect for a few moments about their own experiences in either religious or secular education settings, as a child, youth, or adult. After two minutes, invite them to turn to a person near by and share their responses to the questions. Allow five minutes for sharing.

Mention to the group that both Fahs and MacLean have influenced not only children's religious education, but also the way Unitarian Universalists approach theology and faith development for all ages. Invite participants to consider the two posted questions again, this time reflecting on their adult experiences as Unitarian Universalists. Suggest they consider worship services, social action projects, small groups, adult education classes, and other experiences they have had in the congregation in the light of MacLean's and Fahs' educational philosophies. Invite two minutes of silent reflection. Then, invite participants to turn again to their previous conversation partner and share responses to the questions. Allow five minutes for this conversation.

Distribute the paper, pencils, pens, and markers. Invite participants to create a note of thanks to (or a note of appreciation about) either Angus MacLean or Sophia Lyon Fahs that describes their own experience as it relates to the philosophies of these two gifted religious educators. Say they may use words, drawings, symbols, or any other means to convey the message.

If there is time, invite volunteers to share their notes with the group.