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

Activity 1: What Is Polity?

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print out Leader Resource 1, What is Polity? and familiarize yourself with its contents.
  • Write the title "Polity" on a sheet of newsprint and post it.

Description of Activity

Invite participants to free associate with the word "polity." The point is not so much to define polity, as to evoke associations with the term. You may need to prompt with terms such as "governance," "leadership," "association," and "authority." Record contributions on newsprint.

Allow four minutes for brainstorming. Then, see if the collection of words offered by participants suggest any tensions that are inherent in Unitarian Universalist congregational polity. For example, were both freedom and structure named? Rights and responsibilities? Draw double-pointed arrows to mark any tensions, or other connections, you find among the words on the newsprint.

Using Leader Resource 1, share the definitions of terms and present background information about congregational polity.

Then direct the group's attention to the words they brainstormed about "polity." Ask:

  • Which are in alignment with the definitions and background offered?
  • What might be modified, expanded, or added?