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

Alternate Activity 2: Who's In, and Who's Out

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint and markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Write on newsprint, and post:
    • He drew a circle that shut me out - Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win:-- We drew a circle that took him in. - Charles Edwin Anson Markham
  • List the following questions on newsprint:
    • Are there limits to the inclusion of others for you? What sets those limits? Are some of them based on religious belief?
    • What does it mean to be open and welcoming in our congregation? What does it mean to be safe?
    • What is the balance between freedom and responsibility, welcome and receptivity, and openness and accountability?

Description of Activity

Share with participants:

Charles Edwin Anson Markham (April 23, 1852 - March 7, 1940) was an American poet and a Universalist, known for his artful combination of justice themes with humor in traditional poem forms such as this epigram. "Outwitted" was published in 1915.

Read, in unison, Charles Edwin Markham's poem. Invite participants to share any personal experiences they have had with the poem (for example, some Unitarian Universalist youth groups have printed the text on T-shirts, or designed worship services around the poem's sentiments).

Invite participants to move into groups of three and to discuss the questions you have posted on newsprint. Allow ten minutes for this part of the activity.

Invite participants to rejoin the larger group and share reflections, observations, and comments from their smaller groups with the large group.