Tapestry of Faith: A Chorus of Faiths: A Program That Builds Interfaith Youth Leaders

Alternate Activity 1: Unitarian Universalists Partnering in Interfaith Work

Activity time: 40 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Pulpit or lectern
  • Optional: Microphone (preferably cordless)

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide if you will do this panel activity or the core panel activity which includes UU panelists only (Activity 3).
  • Find out who in your congregation does social service or social justice work with people of other faiths. Seek a diversity of ages, genders, races, ethnicities, abilities, social classes, and types of social service or justice experiences.
  • Invite several people in your congregation who are involved in interfaith service or justice activities to serve on a panel. Explain that you would like youth to hear from both Unitarian Universalists and people of other faiths, so you would like each panelist to invite a friend, from another faith, who does this work with them. Tell the guests how much time they will each have to speak. Ideally, the panel will include two or three pairs (four or six people), each individual speaking for about three minutes. Explain that each panelist will introduce themselves and discuss the interfaith social justice work they are involved with and how it relates to their spirituality and faith identity. Provide them with these questions to prepare: How does your social justice work connect with your religious identity? What helps you work with people of different faiths? How do you talk about your faith with people of different faiths?
  • Prepare some questions for the panelists, so you will be able to start a discussion if participants do not think of questions right away.

Description of Activity

Participants hear from people of faith about interfaith work.

Tell the group you have invited a panel of people who do interfaith service or justice work; some are Unitarian Universalists and some are not. Brainstorm questions to ask panelists. Make sure to include the following:

  • How does your social justice or service work connect with your spirituality and your faith identity?
  • How has your social justice or service work changed or deepened your faith?
  • What helps you work with people of different faiths?
  • How do you talk about your faith with people of different faiths?

Welcome the panelists, and ask each one to introduce themselves and share a little bit about their interfaith activities. Save at least ten minutes for discussion. Invite volunteers to ask the panelists questions from the earlier brainstorming or any new questions.

Thank the guests for their time.

Once the guests have gone, invite participants to reflect on the panel, using these questions:

  • Did you notice any patterns among the responses of the panelists?
  • Did any panelists describe difficulties in doing this work?
  • How might you deal with such difficulties, if you were to encounter them?
  • How is the faith of the panelists deepened by doing this work?
  • Did you have any insights about your own faith after hearing about the experiences of the panelists?
  • Did you have any insights about interfaith work that would be useful to keep in mind as the program moves forward?

Including All Participants

You may wish to pass a cordless microphone between panelists so that participants can hear them better. Provide a microphone for participants' questions, and/or have a co-leader repeat each question before inviting the panelist to answer.