The central feature of A Chorus of Faiths is an interfaith service project that participants coordinate, primarily outside the regular workshop time. Each workshop includes an activity to move the group forward in planning their interfaith service event.
Each workshop has the same basic structure and is organized around a set of understandings and/or skills that will help the youth develop interfaith leadership. The activities prepare participants to articulate their Unitarian Universalist faith among people of other faiths using the power of stories, our UU heritage of interfaith work, and examination of our assumptions and biases.
The following core activities are necessary for the sequence and coherence of the program:
- Workshop 1: All core activities
- Workshop 2: Activity 2, Ethic of Reciprocity; Activity 3, Community Asset Mapping; Activity 4, Planning the Service Event, Part 2
- Workshop 3: Activity 1, Planning the Interfaith Service Event, Part 3
- Workshop 4: Activity 4, The Power of Promises
- Workshop 5: Activity 2, Unpacking Our Baggage; Activity 3, Storytelling — My Interfaith Story
- Workshop 6: Activity 1, Facilitating Interfaith Dialogue or Alternate Activity 1, Practicing Dialogue on Interfaith Service; Activity 3, Creating a Press Release; Activity 4, Creating Flyers
- Workshop 7: Activity 2, Communal Narratives; Activity 3, Changing the Conversation; Activity 4, Story Review
- Workshop 8: Activity 1, Interfaith Service Event Debriefing
As you schedule the workshops, decide whether the group needs extra meetings, retreats, or overnights to incorporate interfaith service event planning, alternate activities, and/or Faith in Action projects.
Each workshop provides these sections:
A quote introduces each workshop. Discussing the quote with your co-leader can help you feel grounded in the ideas and activities you will present. The quotes are also included in Taking It Home.
The Introduction gives an overview of the workshop's concepts and describes its thematic connection to other workshops. The Introduction will alert you to special considerations for planning and leading the workshop and its activities.
Goals provide general outcomes for the workshop. They connect the workshop's content and methodologies with the four strands of the Tapestry of Faith religious education programs: faith development, Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual development, and ethical development. As you plan a workshop, consider the group, the time and space available, and your own strengths and interests as a leader to determine the most important and achievable workshop goals and the activities that will best serve those goals.
Learning Objectives identify specific participant outcomes for the workshop—what a participant will learn, become, or be able to do as a result of the workshop. They are the building blocks to achieve the larger goal of interfaith leadership.
This table lists core workshop activities in their recommended order with estimated times to conduct a 90-minute workshop. It is a guide for your own planning. The table also includes Faith in Action and alternate activities.
Many variables affect 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; youth disinterest may lead you to move on more quickly than you had expected. Remember to plan time for moving participants from one space to another and to clean up.
Each workshop offers a spiritual reflection to help you prepare to lead. 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. With your co-leader, take advantage of these exercises to grow spiritually as a leader of youth.
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: 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 to customize as you wish using your own word processing program. Once you decide which activities you will use, format and print only the materials needed.
A description and discussion of various Workshop Plan elements follows:
Opening: Openings reinforce the themes of the workshop and include:
- Distribution of name tags
- Lighting of the chalice
- A reading, hymn or other worshipful element.
Activities: Three to six core activities are suggested for each workshop. Each activity may include a materials list, preparation steps, a full description, and/or ideas for adaptations to meet participants' needs.
The sequence of activities has been carefully thought out to develop a set of interfaith leadership skills. Each workshop mixes quiet and active activities and engages a variety of learning styles and skill sets. Keep this balance in mind as you adjust a workshop to meet a group's needs.
Faith in Action: While not calculated in the 90-minute core session, Faith in Action activities are important opportunities for faith development. Some can be completed in one meeting, while others are long-term. Many require the involvement of congregants or community members outside the group.
You can substitute Faith in Action activities for core activities or use them outside the program, perhaps as the basis of youth group projects.
Closing: Closings provide a ritual, usually including a reading, a hymn, a reflection, extinguishing the chalice, and distributing Taking It Home.
Leader Reflection and Planning: It is helpful and personally enriching to spend a few minutes at the end of a workshop reviewing the experience and planning what to do next.
Taking It Home: This section summarizes the workshop's themes and activities and suggests extensions—for example, books to read, projects to create, movies to watch, quizzes to take, or websites to explore.
Alternate Activities:.You can use alternate activities in place of, or in addition to, core activities. You can also use them outside the program for family retreats, multigenerational dinners, or other events involving youth.
The format for alternate activities is the same as the format for core activities.
Resources: Resources contains the stories, handouts, and any other resources you will need to lead the workshop.
Under the heading Story, find the full text of the central story and any additional stories.
Under the heading Handouts, find any material you need to copy for all participants to use in the workshop.
Under Leader Resources, find all other components you need to lead the workshop activities. These may include a recipe; a puzzle for you to print out and cut into pieces; 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, find book and video titles, websites, and other selected resources to further explore workshop topics.