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


The best religionists are broad instead of bigoted, and they are open and compassionate and kind. In a town and in the world they build bridges more than walls or fences or moats. — Dana McLean Greeley, first president of the UUA (1961-1969)

Unitarian Universalism has enjoyed contact and engagement with people from many religions and cultures through much of its history. This workshop presents representative stories of different ways people in our religious tradition have related to other religious traditions and cultures. Participants explore ways this engagement has enriched our movement through dialogue and cooperative action, and consider ways Unitarian Universalism may have enriched the cultures and traditions of others.

Activity 4, Women, Faith, and Service touches on issues of cross-cultural power imbalance. If you have more time, substitute the longer version (Alternate Activity 3) for a deeper exploration.

Before leading this workshop, review the Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters in the program Introduction. Make preparations to accommodate individuals who may be in the group.


This workshop will:

  • Explore ways Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists have been influenced and enriched by encounters with cultures and heritages outside North America and Western Europe
  • Introduce past and present Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist faith communities located outside the United States
  • Explore the dynamics of partnering with Unitarian Universalists across cultures.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn about several Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist efforts to support service and mission outside the United States
  • Learn about Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist faith communities located outside North America and Western Europe
  • Identify ways partnerships between Unitarian Universalist congregations in North America and those in other parts of the world can be mutually empowering.