Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Activity 5: Creating a Web

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Alternate Activity 3, A Web of Responsibility, a longer version of this activity, results in a large mural. Read both activities and choose one.
  • Print Leader Resource 3. Cut apart the quotations (18 are provided) and place in a basket.
  • Identify a table surface or open floor space to display the yarn web this activity creates, at least through this workshop.

Description of Activity

Participants learn an earth-centered religious perspective on our responsibility to each other and to the earth and experience interconnectedness by playing a game.

Say, in these words or your own:

Our seventh UU Principle says we agree to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. This Principle recognizes the strong identification many Unitarian Universalists feel with earth-centered or pagan beliefs. These religions-many with roots in the ancient religions of indigenous people-emphasize our connection to the earth. The earth is a living creation and our home; therefore, we are responsible to help sustain and protect it.

Since we are all citizens of the living planet, we are all connected: to each other, to our animal and plant siblings, too. Our way of being should respect these connections. We are responsible to each other and all living things.

Invite participants to pick quotes from the basket and then gather in a circle. Holding the ball of yarn, read your quotation aloud, then wrap the yarn around your wrist 3 or 4 times. Invite someone across the circle to read their quotation. When they have finished, toss them the ball of yarn. Have them wrap the yarn around their wrist, then choose someone else to read a quotation. Continue until everyone has had a turn. Have the last reader toss the yarn back to you.

Say, in these words or your own:

We are connected. The web of existence means my actions affect you and your actions me and our actions affect the planet.

We are responsible. I am responsible to you and you are responsible to me and we are responsible to the living planet, the only home we have.

Ask participants to think of ways they act responsibly: for themselves, one another, other life forms, or the planet as a whole. An example might include, "I compost to return nutrients to the earth." Go first, to model: State your example, then carefully untangle yourself from the web without letting go of the yarn. Have volunteers take turns; encourage the group to keep the web intact. After everyone has extracted themselves, carry the web together to the place you chose to display it.