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

Activity 3: How Open is Open?

Activity time: 35 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Handout 2, Would You Harbor Me? Lyrics for all participants
  • Optional: Music player and recording of Sweet Honey and the Rock performing "Would You Harbor Me?" from the album Sacred Ground (Earthbeat, 1995)

Preparation for Activity

  • Write on newsprint, and post:
    • Do you feel there are limits to the inclusion of people in your congregation?
    • On what basis or criteria would you exclude others? Is religious belief a criterion?
    • Are cultural differences criteria?
    • What does it mean to be open and welcoming in our congregation?
    • What does it mean to be safe? Do we believe everyone has the right to be safe in our congregation?
    • What should be the balance between freedom and responsibility, welcoming diversity and sharing an identity, and openness and accountability?
  • Optional: Set up and test music player.

Description of Activity

If you have obtained an audio recording, play Sweet Honey and the Rock's, "Would You Harbor Me?" for the group.

Distribute the handout with song lyrics. Invite everyone to take their time reading the lyrics and marking lines that particularly touch, trouble, or motivate them.

Ask participants to form groups of three to discuss the questions you have posted on newsprint. Allow ten minutes for this part of the activity.

Re-gather the large group. Invite volunteers to share reflections, observations, and comments from their smaller groups.