Activity time: 90 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Timepiece (minutes)
- A bell or chime that will be heard above several conversations
- Encyclopedias or other resources on world religions
Preparation for Activity
- Invite members of the congregation and people of other faiths to participate as guests. You might invite nearby congregations, high school students, the people with whom you will partner in interfaith service work, or others.
- Obtain a variety of resources that address all the religious traditions that will be represented in the room. If you cannot find books, visit the BeliefNet website, the Religious Tolerance website, and other online sources; print out information you find.
- Schedule a room that has enough chairs for all participants. Set up chairs in pairs facing each other.
- Write on newsprint, and post:
- What makes you a member of your faith tradition?
- What are the three most important things to know about your faith tradition?
- What is a holiday in your faith tradition?
- What is the relationship between your faith tradition and social action?
Description of Activity
Participants explore their faith tradition, practice communicating about it to others, and learn about the faith traditions of others.
Greet participants. Open the gathering with the ice breaker of your choice-for example, names and favorite ice cream, last movie they saw. Ask the participants to pair up. Explain that each person in the pair will have three minutes to answer the questions on the newsprint. Then you will ring a bell and the second person will have three minutes to answer the questions. When you ring the bell again, then the pair will have one minute to give each other feedback on their statements. When the bell sounds again, everyone will have 30 seconds to find a new discussion partner.
If guests have a hard time understanding, begin the activity by having two participants model the exchange.
Lead two rounds of pair sharing. Then, invite participants to gather with the others from their own faith (the Unitarian Universalists form one group, the Muslims form another group, etc.). Give each group paper and pens/pencils and invite them to create a five-minute presentation about their faith. Suggest they start by pooling what they shared in their "speed faithing" pairs. Tell them they may also use what they know and any research materials you have provided.
Give the groups about 10 minutes to shape a short presentation. Likely, each group will discover individuals' ideas about their shared faith can vary.
Re-gather the entire group. Have each group present about their religion and answer questions.
Celebrate with applause. Then lead a discussion with these questions:
- What was that like for you?
- Did you find that you were changing your statements about your faith as you heard others' statements?
- What is something you learned?
- Do you feel more confident with your knowledge about your and other's faith traditions? Will you be more likely to have such conversations out in the wider community?