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

Alternate Activity 3: What Makes a Creed?

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print out and read the story. Prepare to present the story's Introduction and Part I, then the role play activity described below, and finally present the story's Part II. Arrange in advance for a volunteer or your co-leader to be the first to "freeze" the action in the role play, to model.
  • Create name tags for the role play:
    • James Luther Adams
    • Reverend Leslie Pennington
    • Oppositional Board Member
    • Board Member (2 to 4 name tags)

Description of Activity

Gather the group. Read or tell the story up to the point of the meeting of the Board. Stop, and ask for volunteers to take on the roles of James Luther Adams, Reverend Leslie Pennington, and several members of the Board including one "oppositional" member. If participants seem reluctant, quietly invite someone to step into a role. Arrange chairs in front of the group for the volunteers and give them the name tags you have prepared. Explain:

Once the role play begins, at any moment a participant not playing a role may say "Freeze!" and stop the conversation. The person who called "Freeze!" may now point to anyone in the role play and take over their role by sitting in their chair and putting on their name tag. The conversation picks up right where it left off.

Begin the role play. Have the volunteer or co-leader model calling "freeze." Allow the role play to continue as long as it seems to create insights and energy, but be sure to save ten or fifteen minutes to process the role play and to share the conclusion of the story.

Process the role play with these questions:

  • For those who chose to play roles: What was difficult? What was easy? Did you find your own personal views challenged by the role you were playing?
  • For those who observed: Did you see expressions of orthodoxy or creedalism, in the discussion? How about heresy or heterodoxy?

Conclude the discussion. Read the story ending (Part II) aloud.