Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Love Connects Us: A Program on Living in Unitarian Universalist Covenant for Grades 4-5

Introduction for Session 5

Spiritual warrior's pledge: Not for myself alone, but that all the people may live. — Brooke Medicine Eagle, Buffalo Woman Comes Singing

There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them. — Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road

Unitarian Universalism has a long and proud history of addressing the plight of those in need. In this session, our tradition of social service is embodied in the story of Joseph Tuckerman (1778-1840), Unitarian Universalism's first community minister and widely considered to be the founder of social work in the United States.

In honor of Tuckerman's work with poor families of Boston sailors, the children learn how to tie sailor knots. These knots also remind participants that we are "tied together" in caring relationships. Participants interview one another to learn more about one another's lives, in much the same way Tuckerman entered into deep conversation with the people he wanted to help.


This session will:

  • Introduce the concept of service and its role in Unitarian Universalist faith as articulated in the Blake covenant, "And service its law."
  • Build connection to Unitarian Universalist history through the story of 19th-century Unitarian minister Joseph Tuckerman
  • Deepen relationships among participants
  • Empower participants to think of themselves as people who are of service.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Give examples of how they and their congregation embody a faith covenant through acts of service
  • Learn about Joseph Tuckerman, Unitarian minister and pioneer in the field of social work
  • Experience the theme of connections to Tuckerman's work with waterfront families by tying sailor knots
  • Experience Tuckerman's method of asking families what service they needed, by interviewing one another
  • Understand "service" as an important Unitarian Universalist value.