Each morning we must hold out the chalice of our being to receive, to carry, and give back. — Dag Hammarskjold
Money plays a role in nearly every aspect of our lives. For better or for worse, it connects us to one another. Depending on how we approach and understand it, our relationship with money can enhance or limit our ability to live our lives to the fullest. Over time, most of us dedicate a significant part of our lives to earning money. We use significant energy planning and worrying about both the money we have and the money we don’t have. We agonize over how to plan for the future and how to use money to support what we care most about. We can use money to respond with compassion to events in the world, to advance causes we believe in, and to support justice-making efforts. We engage in—or avoid engaging in—money conversations with those close to us and with fellow travelers in the groups and communities of which we are a part.
While money is pervasive in our day-to-day existence, it often receives little attention in our religious lives. Talking about money brings challenges because money is entangled with our sense of self, our wants and aspirations, and our joys and disappointments. It has complicated social dimensions and dynamics.
In this program, participants join together to give this important aspect of our lives due attention in a religious community. The heart of this program is an exploration of the relationship between money and spiritual values, specifically our Unitarian Universalist values. As religious people, we have much to gain by making money part of an intentional, covenanted, and faithful conversation together. Through the Wi$dom Path program, participants can come to know more fully their own hearts and their own stories and make explicit the values that undergird their financial practices. Participants’ investigation of money from many angles and perspectives opens the way for money to become more useful as a practical, life-giving tool. Participants explore ways to make real, meaningful changes that bring their financial lives into better alignment with spiritual commitments and Unitarian Universalist values. They become better equipped to live spiritual lives that are more full and supported, rather than hindered, by financial realities and possibilities. Talking about money in an intentional way, exploring this part of our lives in a faith community, invites participants to become more grounded, skilled, and powerful in negotiating financial changes, not only in their personal lives but also in their work for economic health and justice in neighborhoods, communities, our nation, and our world.
This program will:
- Help participants explore the place of money in their personal and community lives;
- Present opportunities for participants to explore and articulate individual financial histories, assumptions, and values.
- Invite participants to identify and evaluate social and religious teachings, practices, and values with regard to wealth and virtue;
- Help participants explore the different experiences individuals and groups have had with money;
- Invite participants to consider the effects of their economic decisions in their communities and in the wider world;
- Introduce emerging values-based economic innovations to participants and invite them to engage with innovative economic systems;
- Invite participants to consider and articulate what faithful earning, faithful spending, faithful investing, and faithful giving mean to them;
- Provide a process for participants to develop personal credos and action plans for wise, meaningful, and spiritually and ethically healthy financial living.
A team of two or more adults, either lay leaders or religious professionals, should facilitate these workshops. Seek facilitators who are:
- Willing to explore and share on a group level their personal narratives about generosity, money, and faith;
- Knowledgeable about Unitarian Universalism;
- Committed to the Unitarian Universalist Principles, to the congregation, and to the faith development components of this program;
- Willing and able to thoroughly prepare for each workshop;
- Effective at speaking, teaching, and facilitating group process;
- Flexible, and willing to modify workshop plans to support the full inclusion of all participants;
- Able to listen deeply and to encourage participation of all individuals;
- Able to demonstrate respect for different sources of personal beliefs about money, generosity and faith;
- Able to demonstrate respect for individuals, regardless of age, race, social class, gender identity, ability(ies), and sexual orientation;
- Able to honor the life experiences each participant will bring to the program.
While financial knowledge is helpful, it is not a requirement for effectively leading this program.
This program is intended for adults. The workshops are equally suitable for first-time visitors and long-time congregational members. Additionally, Wi$dom Path could be used as a community outreach tool. Facilitators should be attentive to the differences in knowledge and life experience participants bring to the group, particularly if the group includes a wide age span.
Workshops can accommodate any number of participants. Workshops of fewer than six participants can do small group activities as a full group or skip some small group activities. A group with more than 25 participants will need at least three facilitators.
Integrating All Participants
People with obvious and not-so-obvious disabilities may need accommodation in order to participate fully. You are urged to follow these basic Accessibility Guidelines for Adult Workshop Presenters.
Participants bring a wide range of learning styles and preferences. Therefore, the workshops offer a variety of activities. Review each workshop's Alternate Activities when preparing to lead. Plan each workshop to best suit your group.