Activity 3: Story Path - UU Faithful Journeys
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Leader Resource 2: Faithful Journeys Path
- Optional: A wide ribbon, long enough to wind around the perimeter of the room, or masking tape
- A copy of each of the three "Making a Difference" stories about Harriot Kezia Hunt, Toribio Quimada and Annie Arnzen
- Optional: Objects related to each story, and colorful cloths to display and cover the objects at three story stations
- A chime, rain stick or other calming sound instrument
Preparation for Activity
- Make and display the Faithful Journeys Path. (See program Introduction, "Before You Start," and Leader Resource 2, Faithful Journeys Path Instructions.)
- Read the three Making a Difference stories. Practice telling the stories rather than reading them off the page.
- Optional: Obtain objects to represent the story subjects. Suggestions: For Harriot Kezia Hunt, items from a play doctor kit; a female doll dressed in mid-1800s clothing; an old, hardcover medical or homeopathy book. For Toribio Quimada, a Christian bible in English or Tagalog; a globe or map with the Philippines marked on it; an agricultural plant stalk; an envelope addressed to "Universalist Church of Wisconsin" with a return address in the Philippines. For Annie Arnzen, a printout of the "A Precious Cause" website homepage; flags of the U.S. and Botswana; alphabet blocks or other simple (non-electronic) learning toys preschoolers might play with; a collection jar with money in it.
- Set up three storytelling stations far enough apart for the children to walk from one to the next on a path. Use the Faithful Journeys Path, if you have made a very long one. Or, make a path by winding a ribbon or laying masking tape around the perimeter of the room. If the room is small, set up two storytelling areas and use one for both the first and the third stories, or set up the path and story stations outside the room.
- Lay colorful cloths to mark the story stations. On the cloths, place your copy of each story with the objects you have brought to represent it. Use another cloth to cover the objects.
Description of Activity
This activity introduces the idea that being a Unitarian Universalist means acting in a way that reflects our beliefs and our Principles. Three examples from our Unitarian Universalist heritage model the concept that drives this program and accustom children to hearing stories of people putting their faith into action.
Ask the children why they think this program is called Faithful Journeys. Allow some responses. Then say:
A journey means a trip or an expedition. We have fun along the way, we make friends, and we learn. Sometimes, on a journey, we have to make decisions about how to solve problems or which way we should go.
On a real journey, we bring things we might need, such as food, clothes, and a toothbrush. On a faithful journey, we also bring something we need - our faith.
Faith means what we believe about life. It includes the ideas we believe about ourselves, about what is true and important, and about how people should treat each other and the Earth.
We are not the first Unitarian Universalists to take a faithful journey. Each time we meet in Faithful Journeys, we will hear stories from our heritage about people who acted in faith. Today we are going to hear about three people's journeys in faith, one long ago, one closer to now, and one that is still going on.
As we follow the ribbon (or tape), imagine this path leads back in time. We are going back almost two hundred years. Our first story is about a Universalist woman named Harriot Kezia Hunt.
Following the ribbon or masking tape, walk to your first storytelling area. Carry the sound instrument with you. Lead the group in singing a verse of the song "Woyaya."
When you arrive, show the items that represent Harriot Kezia Hunt. Use the instrument to establish listening silence. You may say:
Let's get ready to listen. When I hit the chime (or turn the rain stick over), listen as carefully as you can. See how long you can hear its sound. When you can no longer hear it, open your eyes and you will know it is time for the story to begin.
Tell the story about Harriot Kezia Hunt. Sound the instrument again to signal the end of the story.
Lead a brief discussion with these questions:
- What was Harriot's faithful journey about? (You might paraphrase by asking, "What did Harriot do?" Children may need to restate concrete events from the story, which you can reframe as actions in faith. Suggest: becoming a doctor; helping people; doing what she felt was important even when others didn't want her to and made it difficult; healing people in ways that would not make them worse.)
- I wonder, what made Harriot decide to take action and become a doctor?
- What did Harriot bring on her faithful journey? I wonder, what did she believe in that helped her know what to do? (Suggest: She believed... people who are sick need healing; medicine should not make people worse; there was no reason women should not learn to be doctors; everyone has the right to learn skills they want to use to help people.)
Tell the children, "Now it is time to continue our faithful journey." Explain that you will go forward in time, about one hundred years, to hear about a Universalist man named Toribio Quimada. As the group moves along the path to the second storytelling area, sing another verse of "Woyaya." Share the story about Toribio Quimada. Lead a discussion:
- What was Toribio's faithful journey about? (Suggest: learning to read; exploring his own beliefs and not just accepting what he was told; sticking with the ideas about God he thought were true; helping people find a place to learn together and share their beliefs about a loving God.)
- I wonder, what made Toribio decide to take action, follow his curiosity, and share a new religion with other people in his country?
- What did Toribio bring on his faithful journey? What beliefs helped him know what to do? (Suggest: He believed... people can think for themselves; people should be allowed to read and learn; people from different religions and countries might have important ideas in common; asking questions is important.)
Say, "There is one more stop on our faithful journey. We are coming back to our own time." Lead the group to the third story station, singing a verse of "Woyaya." Share the story about Annie Arnzen. Lead a discussion:
- What was Annie's faithful journey about? (Suggest: helping younger children who had lost their parents; traveling to Botswana; earning money to meet her own goals; finding a way to help a big problem.)
- I wonder, what made Annie take action, earn money for her trip, help at the SOS orphanage in Botswana, and then come home and raise more money to keep helping SOS?
- What did Annie bring on her faithful journey? What beliefs helped her know what to do? (Suggest: All children need to be loved and cared for; we are all connected on Earth; when disease hurts a community, even in a faraway country, we are responsible for helping, and we can help; even if a problem is very large, one person can help; you can make friends who do not speak your language or live the way you do; by getting other people to help, you can make an even bigger difference.)
Thank the children for coming on the faithful journey with you.
Including All Participants
Make sure the path between the story stations is accessible to all.