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

Activity 4: Remembering The Iowa Sisterhood

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the story "The Iowa Sisterhood"
  • Handout 3, Remembering the Iowa Sisterhood
  • One large candle or chalice, and lighter
  • 21 tea light candles, or 21 LED battery-operated tea lights
  • Centering table and decorative cloth
  • Optional: A copy of Singing the Living Tradition and a piano or keyboard

Preparation for Activity

  • Print out the story "The Iowa Sisterhood" and prepare to read or tell it.
  • Copy Handout 3, Remembering the Iowa Sisterhood, for all participants.
  • Prepare a centering table by covering a table with a cloth and arranging a central candle (or chalice) and twenty-one tea lights.
  • Decide on roles for the remembrance activity and how you will assign them. You might invite three or four volunteers to alternate reading names from the list on Handout 3 while other participants take turns lighting a candle. Or, you might invite each participant in turn to light a candle and say a name. Provide the handout in advance to participants who may read aloud from it, and make sure everyone knows it is okay to "pass."
  • Optional: Arrange for a musician to accompany the hymn.

Description of Activity

Share the story of the Iowa Sisterhood. Ask if participants have heard of the Sisterhood before and invite them to offer any additional information. Distribute Handout 3, Remembering the Iowa Sisterhood.

Light the central candle. Implement the plan you devised for participants to say the names of the 21 women who were members of the Iowa Sisterhood and light a candle for each woman.

Close the remembrance ceremony by leading the group to say in unison the words of Mary Safford provided on Handout 3 or to sing the hymn "Great Over-Soul and Inter-Heart" together.