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

Activity 2: Our Origins

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy Handout 2 for all participants.
  • Read Leader Resource 1, Unitarian Universalist Background so you will be comfortable presenting it.
  • Online, browse the website of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists. Gather information to share with the group about the presence of our faith outside of the United States.

Description of Activity

Participants hear a brief history and introduction to Unitarian Universalism.

Distribute Handout 2. Invite the youth to examine the religions from which Unitarian Universalism emerged.

Ask participants if they know what "Unitarian" and "Universalism" mean. If no one gives an appropriate answer, explain that historically a Unitarian was someone who believed in the unity of God, rather than the Trinity (God in three parts, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Historically, a Universalist was someone who believed in universal salvation, that no one will be condemned to hell.

Give a short history of Unitarian Universalism using the information in Leader Resource 1. Then lead a discussion with these questions:

  • Over time, Universalists and Unitarians often worked together on matters of justice, such as civil rights for African Americans, equal rights for women, and objection to war. They realized they held many beliefs in common and decided to merge. Did you know our religion resulted from the merging of two, much older religions, both of which were originally Christian? Does it surprise you?
  • What else from the history stood out to you?
  • Is it important to know our religion's history? Why or why not?
  • Unitarian Universalism is strongest in the United States where it developed into its present organization, but there are Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists in other countries. What do you know about expressions of our faith in other parts of the world?