DIALOGUE ON THE SHARED VALUES OF SERVICE
Goals of the dialogue
- To help participants discover the shared value of service across different religious traditions through text, storytelling, and action.
- To encourage participants to grow in their own faith identities, learning how to talk about what they believe, even as they learn to listen to others.
- To build a sense of cooperation and collaboration among religiously diverse young people.
Setting a safe space for dialogue — 10 minutes
Introduce the kind of discussion we will be having today.
Tell participants, "You will be asked to talk about your faith and your values today with others who do not necessarily share your beliefs and ways of life."
Brainstorm the guidelines for this unique discussion:
- What do you need from yourself and others in order to feel safe having this conversation?
Take notes on your group's responses, and then read the responses aloud to conclude the discussion.
Here's a list of key safe space guidelines. When your group is done brainstorming, add to the list anything you might have missed:
- Everyone has the right to pass.
- Everything said is confidential.
- Seek clarification if you do not understand something someone else is saying.
- Make sure to listen to others without interrupting.
- Suspend your judgment.
- Use "I" statements.
- Remember the importance of the other person's faith or moral tradition in their own life.
- Do not expect others to know everything about your own tradition.
- No question is stupid.
Texts on the shared value of service — 15 minutes
Ask the group to go around the circle and read the texts on service (Handout 2) aloud. Make it clear that no one has to read if they feel uncomfortable doing so.
Ask the group to reflect on what they have read:
- Did any of these—whether from your own faith tradition or not—particularly resonate with you?
- Did you hear anything that you found challenging or helped you to think about service in a new way?
Explain that the group will use these texts as we practice how we might interact with people who are different from us, in light of our shared values.
Storytelling as a means of dialogue — 20 minutes
Ask the group to tell a story about a meaningful service experience. Emphasize that this need not be a religious story. If they get stuck, share a story from your experience. Now push the story further by asking participants to reflect on what inspired them to do this work:
- What inspired you to do that act of service?
- Was it something from your faith tradition? Your moral perspective?
Returning to the texts — 15 minutes
Ask the group to read the texts on Handout 2 aloud again. Encourage participants to see if they think about things differently after they have listened to stories about inspiration from different traditions.
- Do you notice anything new as you read these texts a second time?
- How did you see the themes of these texts playing out in the stories we just told?