Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Activity 3: UU Sorts and Mingle

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A space large enough to play the game comfortably

Preparation for Activity

  • Ensure that an appropriate space for the game is arranged
  • Become familiar enough with the rules of the game that you can lead with out referencing rules very often.
  • Review the Sorts and Mingle questions in the Description of Activity. Adapt them to make sure they present religious choices the children of this age, in this particular group, can quickly understand and respond to.
  • Become familiar with the Sorts preferences so you can deliver them in a rapid-fire way.

Description of Activity

Explain that now you are going to play the same game, using choices related to religious identity. Review with the group the term identity. You might ask what they think identity means. Affirm that your identity is who you are.

Gather everyone to play. Say something like "Again, the first part of the game is Sorts." Explain that you will offer two contrasting choices and each person has to either East or West (opposite sides of the room) to declare their choice. Then you will offer two new choices and they will move South and North. (That way, everyone moves somewhere and can't get "lost" in the crowd.)

Ask the Sorts questions rapidly, but pause as needed to explain any language you are not sure all participants understand. Ask adults to wait to "sort" themselves until most of the children have chosen.

  • Which part of a religious service do you prefer, music or sermon?
  • Do you like to visit other congregations or like to come to our congregation?
  • What seems more religious to you? Prayer or meditation?
  • Which would you prefer to do? Discover ideas on your own or learn about ideas discovered by others?
  • Which is more important, an individual's voice or a community's agreement?
  • Do you think anyone can be a prophet, or there can be only one real prophet-for example, Elijah, Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed or Brigham Young?
  • Is there something divine outside of ourselves or do we all possess divinity within ourselves?
  • Do you think the word of God, of many names, can be found in only one book? Or in many books?
  • Are we born bad, or are we born good?
  • Do you think bad things that happen are punishment or random?
  • Who is closer to the holy, ministers, priests and rabbis... or you?
  • There are angels that affect the direction of life or there is no such force outside our own will and action?
  • Fairness is the most important consideration or keeping one's promise is most important?
  • Messiahs have arrived or are still yet to come?
  • Messiahs aren't coming at all or are already here?
  • Individual reason and evaluation is necessary to live a life of faith or one needs to follow the authority of the word of God (as interpretations as shared by religious authorities).

After playing for two minutes or asking all the questions, ask the group if they have any sorts related to religious issues that they wish to ask. Play for another minute. Then bring them together and ask:

  • Was it easy or hard to know the answers?
  • What questions were important to you?
  • Which were ones you had never thought about before?
  • Did others' choices affect your's? How?
  • Did you learn anything about yourself from playing the game? (Mirror question) About others in the group? (Window question)

Finally, ask:

  • Which choices did you make that you think indicate a Unitarian Universalist identity?

Affirm that all the choices offered are beliefs and opinions held by some Unitarian Universalists. Say, in your own words:

The ability to make religious choices, and to change our minds sometimes, is part of our faith.

Explain that now they are going to Mingle around religious preferences. Explain that Mingling is relating your preference to another's. Mingling allows another way to gauge religious identity. To mingle is interesting and effective in allowing people to recognize one another's religious preferences. Congregations often begin by "mingling."

Assemble the group and remind everyone how to play. Offer a general category (such as a favorite congregational activity) and invite participants to mingle and find others who have the same answer. After about 30 seconds, have each cluster that has formed call out their answer. It's okay if someone has not found anyone else who has the same answer. If two clusters call out the same answer, that may mean the group didn't mingle very well!.

Now use these religious identity Mingle questions; after each Mingle, ask the groups to identify themselves quickly before moving onto the next question:

  • Why do bad things happen?
  • Why do good things happen?
  • Where is the best place to look for the truth?
  • What happens to us after death?
  • What stories help me live a better life?
  • What religious practice at our congregation is most spiritual for you?
  • What do you believe about God?

Play for about two minutes. Then stop and ask the group if they have any religious preferences they wish to present as a mingle opportunity.

Play for another minute or two, making sure to ask clusters to self-identify. End with:

  • What is your religious identity?

Again, ask each cluster to self-identify. Affirm everyone's choice and explore together similarities and differences among the answers. Feel free to affirm your religious identity as Unitarian Universalist.

Gather in a circle to talk about the game. Use these questions:

  • When was it easy to find others who liked the same things or thought like you?
  • When was it difficult?
  • What did you learn from playing the game? About others in the group? About yourself?
  • Why do you think we played this game today?

Including All Participants

Be sure the space accommodates full participation by children who have limited mobility. If any child cannot move freely around the room, ask them each "sort" and "mingle" question directly and facilitate their physically joining the appropriate cluster of participants.