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

Activity 4: Embracing the Religions of the World

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print out Leader Resource 3, Embracing the Religions of the World and familiarize yourself with its contents.
  • Copy Handout 1, A Universal Religion for all participants.
  • In advance, invite three participants to read aloud the three quotations on Handout 1. Give the readers their assignments and the handout before this workshop so they can prepare to read their parts aloud.
  • On the UUA website, read the article "Reckless Borrowing or Appropriate Cultural Sharing?" by Jacqui James, which offers background to help you facilitate the discussion.
  • Print out to pass around (or, download for projection) the photograph of Beltane at Charles Street Meetinghouse (Leader Resource 4).

Description of Activity

Read aloud or paraphrase Leader Resource 3, Embracing the Religions of the World. Show Leader Resource 4, the image of the Charles Street Meetinghouse. Invite participants to share reflections about Patton's experiment; position it as one in a long line of Unitarian and Universalist efforts to establish a church that is open and welcome to those of all faiths. Ask:

  • Does the adaptation of an early nineteenth century church for the mid-twentieth century appear to bring together old and new ideas of religion? Or, do these styles seem to clash?
  • Is it possible for a religion to embrace the whole of humanity with all of our history and cultural differences?
  • Does Unitarian Universalism hold the potential to be that religion?