Tapestry of Faith: Heeding the Call: A Program on Justicemaking for Junior High School Youth

Program Structure

Every workshop in Heeding the Call is built around a quality—a quality that will help create a more just world for all people. Some of the qualities are obvious, such as courage, understanding, and cooperation. Others, like imagination and joy, have less obvious implications in social justice work. Each workshop explores how the quality relates to the lives of participants, how it affects justice work, and how participants can incorporate this quality in their lives more deeply.

Each workshop offers a Faith in Action activity. While these activities are optional, Faith in Action is an important element of the overall Tapestry of Faith series. Some Faith in Action activities can be completed in one meeting; others are longer-term and require the involvement of congregants or community members.

Every workshop offers alternate activities. Depending on your time and interests, you may choose to replace one or more of the workshop's core activities with an alternate activity, or to add an alternate activity to your workshop. You may also want to use the alternate activities outside the program for gatherings such as family retreats, multigenerational dinners, youth group, or other events involving youth.

As you design your program, decide whether the group needs extra meetings to incorporate additional activities or to complete a long-term Faith in Action project. Before you commit to an extended program, make sure you obtain the support of both your congregational leadership and the youth's families.

Notes about individual workshop segments follow:


A quote introduces the subject of each workshop. Co-leaders may like to discuss the quote as part of preparation for a workshop. This can help you feel grounded in the ideas and activities you will present, and can also help leaders get "on the same page." The quotes are also included in Taking It Home.


The Introduction gives an overview of the workshop's concepts, explains and offers suggestions about various activities, and describes the workshop's thematic connection to others. The Introduction will also alert you to special preparation that is needed for the workshop.


Goals provide general outcomes for the workshop. Reviewing the goals will help you connect the workshop's content and methodologies with the four strands of the Tapestry of Faith religious education programs: faith development, Unitarian Universalists identity, spiritual development, and ethical development. As you plan a workshop, consider the youth, the time and space you have available, and your own strengths and interests as a leader to determine the most important and achievable goals for the workshop and the activities that will best serve those goals.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives describe specific participant outcomes which workshop activities are designed to facilitate. They describe what a participant will learn, become, or be able to do as a result of the activity. Think of Learning Objectives as the building blocks used to achieve the larger goals of Heeding the Call.


This table lists workshop activities in a suggested order and provides an estimated time for completing each to conduct a 60-minute workshop. The table includes all core activities from the Opening through Closing, shows Faith in Action activities, and lists alternate activities. Note that you will need to adjust or extend your schedule to fit in either Faith in Action or alternate activities.

Workshop-at-a-Glance is merely a guide to use in your own planning.

Keep in mind that many variables inform the time required for an activity. Large group discussion takes more time than small group discussion. Small teams can do some activities more rapidly than large teams, but they may then require more time to share with others what they have done. Youth enthusiasm may lead you to continue an activity longer than planned, and youth disinterest may lead you to move on more quickly than you expected. When planning, remember to consider the time you will need to move participants around from one space to another and for clean up.

The time estimates for various activities include only the work the group will do when you meet. Leader planning and preparation are not included. For some activities, especially Faith in Action activities, you may need to make special arrangements to involve participant families, other congregants, and members of the wider community.

Spiritual Preparation

Each workshop offers a spiritual exercise that leaders may use to prepare themselves. Taking time in the days before the workshop to reflect on its content and in the moments before the workshop to center yourself will support and free you in your work with youth. The process will guide you to call forth your own life experiences, beliefs, and spirituality. It can help you enjoy and provide the best possible learning experience at each workshop. Take advantage of these exercises as a way to grow spiritually as you work with youth.

Workshop Plan

The Workshop Plan presents every workshop element in detail and in the sequence shown by the Workshop-at-a-Glance table. It also includes Faith in Action, Leader Reflection and Planning, Taking It Home, Alternate Activities, and Resources.

If you are reading the program online, you can move as you wish among a workshop's elements: Welcoming and Entering, Opening, Closing, Faith in Action, Activity 4, Resources, etc. Each element occupies its own web page. You can click on "Print This Page" at any time. However, if you click on "Download Entire Program" or "Download Workshop" you will have a user-friendly document on your computer that you can customize as you wish, using your own word-processing program. Once you decide which activities you will use, format and print only the materials you need.

A description and discussion of various Workshop Plan elements follows:

Opening: Each opening includes a chalice lighting and chalice lighting words, in addition to a short introduction to the quality featured in the workshop. Openings also provide time for youth to share any work they completed in their Justicemakers Guide since the last meeting.

Activities: Up to four core activities are suggested for each workshop. A materials list, preparation suggestions, a full description, and ideas for adaptations that may be required to meet special youth needs are provided.

The sequence of activities has been carefully thought out, with some leading into the next ones. You may certainly make any changes and adjustments you like, but you should look through the full workshop before you decide how to adjust it.

The activities of each workshop are also designed as a reasonable mix of the quiet and the active and to involve a variety of skills and learning styles. Keep this balance in mind as you adjust the workshop to meet the group's needs.

Faith in Action: Many core activities in this curriculum are designed to help youth apply spiritual and religious thought to real situations in their own lives. Faith in Action activities also suggest very specific and practical ways for youth to realize and apply their faith for the betterment of the world and their communities. Faith in Action activities, like core and alternate activities, are presented with lists of required supplies and preparations and suggested adaptations to meet the needs of youth with diverse abilities. These activities are not included in the core of the workshops, but your group may easily do them on a regular basis if you meet for more than 60 minutes at a time. You may also substitute them for other activities, or use them outside the program, perhaps as the basis of youth group projects.

However you adjust this program, try to include some form of Faith in Action. As the saying insists, actions do often speak louder than words, for both actor and observer.

Closing: Each workshop's closing segment offers closing words and extinguishes the chalice. Occasionally, youth are invited to share their thoughts about an aspect of the workshop.

Leader Reflection and Planning: Many religious educators find it is helpful, at the end of their workshops, to spend a few minutes reviewing what they have done and planning what they will do next. This segment of each workshop suggests a few discussion topics.

Taking It Home: This section provides activities and suggestions for involving family and friends in the ideas, themes, and projects of Heeding the Call. They include talking over the day's workshop, shortened versions of the activities in the workshop, group discussion guides, crafts, and/or areas of further research on topics. Every Taking It Home also includes a reminder to use the Justicemakers Guide in between the meeting times. Taking It Home should be printed out and sent home with participants, but we also suggest you gather participant's parents' email addresses and send them a copy so that they know what is going on as well. This helps facilitate conversation between the parents and their youth.

Alternate Activities: The format for alternate activities is similar to that of core activities. Consider using the alternates instead of or in addition to the core activities, or possibly outside your regular workshop time.

Resources: Each workshop's Resources section contains the stories, handouts, and any other resources you will need to lead every element of the workshop.

Under the heading "Story" can be found the full text of the workshop's central story.

Under the heading "Handouts" you will find any material that needs to be printed and photocopied for all participants to use in the workshop.

Under "Leader Resources," you will find all the components you need to lead the workshop activities. These may include a reading; role play scenarios for you to print and cut up; diagrams to help you plan activities; or an illustration to show the group, which you may print as a hard copy or display on a computer as a PowerPoint slide.

Under the heading "Find Out More," are book and video titles, website URLs, and other selected resources to further explore the workshop topics.