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

Activity 3: Storytelling - My Interfaith Story

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read Leader Resource 1, Story Map Cheat Sheet. Become familiar with the five parts of a story.
  • Post a sheet of newsprint. Under the title "Three Components of Pluralism," write:
    • 1. respect for religious identity
    • 2. mutually inspiring relationships
    • 3. common action for the common good
  • Optional: The online Bridge-builders network of interfaith youth movement leaders offers an Interfaith Leader's Toolkit which includes a chapter on storytelling. Join the network, access the Toolkit's chapter on storytelling, and prepare to share what you glean.

Description of Activity

Participants practice telling stories as a way to communicate their views and build bridges with others.

Share with participants, in your own words:

As we discussed in our first meeting (Workshop 1), sharing stories is one of the most powerful ways to find common values and build bridges with one another, even when you have significant disagreements. However, it can be hard to tell stories in ways that are helpful, and communicate everything you want to communicate.

Today, you will talk about how to tell a story in a way that helps you communicate your values while promoting healthy conversation. Then you will practice sharing vignettes-short stories-about one moment in your lives. The stories will be called "my interfaith story."

Please take five minutes to think of one, short story from your life about why you value interfaith cooperation. If you are stuck, use the three components of pluralism to help you think of a story. For instance, what is one time you witnessed a lack of respect for religious identity? Who is one friend whose faith is different from yours with whom you have a mutually inspiring relationship?

Give participants a few moments to formulate stories. Then ask one, two, or three volunteers to briefly share their stories.

Distribute Handout 2. Tell the group it shows how the five parts of a story work together. Using your copy of Leader Resource 1, Story Map Cheat Sheet, describe each of the five parts. For each part of a story, ask for examples from the stories participants just heard.

Distribute pens/pencils. Ask participants to fill in the five boxes for their own brief stories. Give them a few moments. Then, form pairs and invite participants to practice telling one another their stories of interfaith cooperation and, in turn, giving constructive criticism. If you have time available, have them find a new partner to share and debrief again. In the last five minutes bring all participants together and discuss any remaining questions they have about stories and storytelling, and refer them to the additional materials for more help.