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

Alternate Activity 2: Memorial for Unitarian Universalist Martyrs

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Pictures of Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists who died for their beliefs, including Leader Resource 3, Michael Servetus, Portrait and Leader Resource 5, Norbert Capek, Photograph
  • Leader Resources 2 (Servetus) and 4 ( Capek) and Handouts 1 (Tumultuous Times...), 2 (Capek Prayer), and 3(The Year 1965)
  • A copy of Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook
  • Craft materials such as cardboard boxes, tin foil, construction paper, colored tissue paper, ribbons, fabric, and natural objects such as tree branches, flowers, and colored stones, along with scissors, craft glue, pencils and color markers
  • Optional: Handout Votive candles and holders, or LED battery-operated candles

Preparation for Activity

  • Identify a place in your congregation's space where the group can set up a memorial for a time.
  • Prepare a work table that will be accessible to all participants.
  • Gather images of Servetus, Capek, Liuzzo, and Reeb. Print out Leader Resources 3 (Servetus) and 5 (Capek). Search online for images of Viola Liuzzo and James Reeb you can print out. Set images on work table.
  • Print out a few copies of Leader Resouce 2 (Servetus) and 4 (Capek) and the three handouts from this workshop. Set these materials on a work table.
  • Bookmark Reading 721, "They Are with Us Still" in Singing the Living Tradition, and set the hymnbook on the work table.
  • Optional: Talk with your minister and/or worship committee about incorporating this activity into a worship service focusing on Unitarian Universalist history. An appropriate time might be late October, near All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead).

Description of Activity

Tell the group this activity is an opportunity to remember and memorialize women and men of our faith heritage who died for their beliefs and values. Invite participants to use their imaginations as well as resources from other activities in this workshop to create an altar that honors the martyrs in our history. Indicate the images and craft materials you have provided. Suggest they may wish to use a few words from the sentence given to Michael Servetus (Leader Resource 2) or from the reading you have bookmarked in Singing the Living Tradition. Some may wish to contribute the copies of Handout 2, Capek Prayer on which they wrote or drew in Activity 3. Encourage participants to creatively fill in what history has not given us of martyrs' lives.

Tell the group any plans you have made for displaying the altar, for related worship, or other activities. Ask the group to determine which aspects of this project will be done individually or collectively as they create a memorial altar to share with the congregation.

Including All Participants

Have plenty of "ready made" materials, such as pictures, available for those who are less confident of their artistic skills.