Introduction to Session 6, The Power of Presence
We convince by our presence. — Walt Whitman
The power of air is the power of openness, presence, and silent witness. Participants hear the story of a Unitarian Universalist who met public hatred by organizing a group to stand witness wearing giant angel wings that blocked the view of offensive signs. Although we tend to think of expressing power in terms of "doing"—pushing and acting—sometimes we express power most effectively by simply being present and bearing witness. Participants play a game in which they try to sense the presence of another. They create blankets to give someone as an offering of supportive presence.
This session will:
- Explore the power of presence and silent witness
- Demonstrate ways we can make a difference with others and in a wider context through a ministry of presence
- Honor "prophetic women and men" (second Source) who have promoted justice through their actions of presence, such as civil rights workers who "sat in" at lunch counters during the Civil Rights movement
- Affirm our third Principle, "Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth," through the practice of stillness and prayer.
- Understand how a silent vigil of justice advocates wearing angel wings, planned by a Unitarian Universalist, shows air power
- Understand civil disobedience as promoted by Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King as expressions of air power
- Experience a sense of silent presence, through a game
- Prepare to give someone else an expression of supportive presence, by creating blankets
- Explore ways to practice prayer as a ministry of presence.