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

Activity 3: Story and Discussion - Augusta Jane Chapin's Call to Ministry

Part of Amazing Grace

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story.
  • Photocopy Story 1, "Augusta Jane Chapin's Call to Ministry," one for each participant.

Description of Activity

Youth hear a story about an early Universalist.

Prepare for the story by pointing out the phone in the Conundrum Corner. What do participants think it has to do with religion and what you have been talking about? Say that you think the answer will be clear as the group hears about Augusta Chapin.

Read the story of Augusta Chapin. Alternately, you might ask for one or more volunteers to read it.

Explain that when a denomination "ordains" a person, the person becomes a minister and can begin serving congregations. Usually a lot of study and work is required before a person can be ordained.

Then note that Augusta Jane Chapin, at the age of seventeen, was "called" to be a minister; ask what that means. Is it sort of like being called to dinner? Or getting a phone call?

Say that the phone in the Conundrum Corner suggests the idea of calling. However, being called to the ministry is different from being called to the phone, because when you feel a calling-or a "spiritual calling" as some religious people say-the feeling is deep inside you. A calling is something you feel that you must do to be true to yourself. Some people say they are being "called by God" to do something. Other people say they are being "called by the universe." Others simply say they are "being called." They mean the same thing. They mean that they have a feeling deep inside that they simply must do something because that is what they were born and placed on earth to do. They believe that following their calling is the right thing to do and that doing anything else would be wrong.

Say that many people other than ministers speak about being called. Somebody might feel called to become a doctor, another, a writer. Someone might feel called to try to save the environment or to work with wood as a carpenter or an artist. Their feelings deep inside have more to do with pointing them in a certain direction than their brains do. What they are called to do is usually very serious and very good.

Ask participants about the consequences of Chapin's actions. Did she help lead the way for future women to seek education and to enter the ministry? Remind youth that many UUs actively advocated for women's rights early on in the struggle.