Tapestry of Faith: The Wi$dom Path: An Adult Program on Money, Spirit, and Life

Introduction

Part of The Wi$dom Path

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

Material deprivation and economic inequity persist, even in a world of abundance. This workshop invites participants to think of persistent inequality and deprivation not as a failure of human goodness or commitment, but rather as a call for greater imagination and willingness to enact new ways to connect people in meaningful and just economic relationships across social and geographic boundaries. Participants reflect on individual and collective economic deprivation through an understanding of need and interdependence, thereby opening the door to creative individual and collective economic solutions. Hopeful stories highlight economic systems and models serving people and communities by connecting them in new ways. The workshop asks participants to consider how our Unitarian Universalist 7th Principle which calls us to acknowledge our interdependence, one with another, is reflected in our financial choices. It asks them to ponder both practical and values-based questions that are arising as new systems take their place alongside inherited systems and models.

Three creative economic models are presented in this workshop: Microcredit (Activity 3), Crowdfunding (Activity 4), and Resilience Circles (Alternate Activity 1). In a 90-minute workshop you can explore two of the three. Read the entire workshop in advance and decide whether to substitute Alternate Activity 1 for Activity 3 or Activity 4, depending on the needs and interests of participants and whether or not you have the computer with internet access required for Activity 4.

Activity 2 invites optional viewing of a 2016 video, #Eastside conversation (YouTube) with Stephen DeBerry and Rodney Foxworth from SOCAP (Social Capital Markets Conference). Note that the group is invited to view about 20 minutes, starting at 5:47.

Alternate Activity 2 invites participants to consider Ujamma, cooperative economics, the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. If there are participants or leaders in your group who celebrate Kwanzaa and would like to include this perspective in your imagining of a transformed economic world, work with them to organize a potluck with appropriate foods and prepare to share knowledge about the holiday.

Review Accessibility Guidelines for Adult Workshop Presenters before leading the workshop.

Goals

This workshop will:

  • Engage participants in identifying economic need and inequality in their own lives and in immediate and broader communities
  • Emphasize the complexity of human economic systems and provide practice in identifying interdependencies
  • Demonstrate examples of economic models that connect people in new ways and increase the economic well-being of individuals and communities
  • Identify ways participants might support creative economic models in their lives, through their faith communities, and in other contexts.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Understand ways current economic systems fail to meet the needs of individuals and communities, through examining economic need and inequality in their immediate and broader communities
  • Identify interdependencies and complexities in an economic system
  • Reflect on ways in which the Unitarian Universalist 7th Principle speaks to economic interdependence
  • Understand and be able to explain at least two creative economic models and their impact on individuals and communities
  • Articulate ways in which new models align with their personal, core financial values.