Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Amazing Grace: A Program about Exploring Right and Wrong for Grade 6

Activity 2: The Congregation's Parking Lot

Part of Amazing Grace

Activity time: 17 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Photograph and sign from the Conundrum Corner, Leader Resource 1, UU Cars
  • Optional: Photographs of bumper-sticker bearing cars in your own congregation's parking lot
  • Optional: Paper and pencils/pens

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide whether your group can safely visit your congregation's parking lot. If not, take photographs of the cars in the lot to share.

Description of Activity

Participants compare elevator speeches to bumper stickers. They look at bumper stickers on cars in their congregational parking lot for signs of UU values.

Point out the photograph and sign in your Conundrum Corner. Ask youth to answer the question: How many of the cars in the picture are UU cars? After you get a few guesses, explain that they were all in a UU parking lot during a UU Sunday morning worship service.

Point out that UU cars frequently, though certainly not always, display bumper stickers. If you travel from one UU parking lot to another, you might find many of the same bumper stickers. They often express liberal religious or political ideas. (Among other things, liberal religious ideas say that people should be free to think for themselves. Liberal political ideas say that the government has a responsibility to use our tax dollars to help the disadvantaged and to make the world a better place to live.) UU bumper stickers often call for saving the environment, for helping people resist discrimination, or for freedom of religion.

Ask how bumper stickers are like elevator speeches. (If you need to, remind youth of the definition of elevator speeches from the play.) Explain, if others do not, that both of them are brief messages saying and/or showing what people believe and do.

Next, invite youth to take a field trip to your congregation's parking lot. Make sure you have enough adults on hand to help keep youth focused and safe. Wander through the lot looking together for interesting messages. Are there any common ideas expressed in different ways? Do the bumper stickers talk directly about Unitarian Universalism, or are they about issues, politics, and events? Suggest youth watch for personalized license plates, too. Do any of these reflect Unitarian Universalist values and Principles? Consider equipping your group with paper and pencils so they can write down their favorite messages.

If you cannot visit the parking lot for some reason, show photographs of the cars that participants might find on a typical Sunday morning and proceed as suggested above. As an alternative, find a list of possible bumper stickers at one of the websites listed under Find Out More, or, if your possible, view bumper stickers online.

When you return to the meeting room, share your observations. Ask:

  • Was any bumper sticker on more than one car?
  • Did any surprise you?
  • Did any make you laugh or smile?
  • Did any make you angry? Did you see any that might make some people angry?
  • Are there some bumper stickers you thought you would find, but did not?
  • Why do some cars have bumper stickers and others not?
  • If your family's car was not in the lot and it has bumper stickers, what do they say? Do you know who put them on the car and why?

If you have additional time, invite participants to make their own UU bumper stickers. You can find instructions online at several websites, including this one on eHow.

Including All Participants

Arrange if at all possible to have all youth join you in the parking lot regardless of mobility issues. If that is not possible, consider using the photographic approach described above. Do not assume, however, that a youth using a wheelchair or crutches would not enjoy the movement of this activity as much as any other youth.