Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades


Why not let people differ about their answers to the great mysteries of the Universe? Let each seek one's own way to the highest, to one's own sense of supreme loyalty in life, one's ideal of life. Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication. — Algernon Black (1932-1972), leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture


This workshop introduces participants to the program, and to a consideration of why religions, including Unitarian Universalism, exist—that is, the essential human needs religions serve.

In future workshops, the youth experience many faiths, seeking insight into and connections with the beliefs and the lived expression of each. Being connected to something, however, does not make it ours. This first workshop prepares youth to approach the beliefs, practices, histories, and gifts of all faiths with openness, reflection, and respect. Encourage youth to approach the study of a new faith in the manner of thoughtful, gracious guests at a formal banquet.

Activity 3, What Do You Know? invites participants to help choose the religions the group will explore and engage. You can build group buy-in by letting the youth help make these choices. See Implementation in the program's Introduction for more guidance.


This workshop will:

  • Demonstrate that religions are created by people in response to fundamental needs for meaning, and ask whether religion is a human requirement
  • Assess participants' religious literacy
  • Explore reasons to study world religions Invite participants to name religions they want to explore in the program
  • Demonstrate that Building Bridges will be thought provoking and enjoyable.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Become acquainted with the program, leaders, and co-participants
  • Identify the purposes of religion
  • Understand that human history provides the context for all religions
  • Articulate knowledge of world religions
  • Express interest in particular religions and contribute to decisions about future workshops.




Welcoming and Entering




Activity 1: Story – The Dream


Activity 2: What Is Religion For?


Activity 3: What Do You Know?


Activity 4: Time Line


Faith in Action: Appreciate the Faith Around You




Alternate Activity 1: Date That Faith


Alternate Activity 2: Beliefnet.com