Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Faith In Action: Founding Story Mural

Materials for Activity

  • Large piece of canvas
  • Paint and brushes
  • Pencils and markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Most churches have a founding story. Find someone in your congregation who knows this story and invite them to participate in this workshop. This person could be the church historian or archivist, the minister, or a long-term member. If no one knows the founding story, find someone who knows another important story that the congregation tells about itself that has to do with its identity.
  • Gather supplies, and locate a space either inside or outside where you can lay out the large piece of canvas.

Description of Activity

Participants learn congregational history and share it by painting a mural.

Tell the group that one of the important parts of going on a spiritual journey is knowing where you have been. Point out that many of the paintings in Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series were about what life was like in the southern United States for African Americans. Tell the participants that in this activity, they will use the medium of painting, like Jacob Lawrence, to help the rest of the congregation know something about its history.

Introduce the member of the congregation you have invited to tell the story. The story can be about how the congregation was started or some other significant moment in its history. Look for stories involving movement, migration, journeys, or change.

After the story has been told, engage the group in a discussion of how you might be able to represent that story in a painting. Develop a plan for how it should look and then have the participants paint on the large piece of canvas. This might take more than one workshop.

While working, use the following discussion questions to process the activity:

  • Have you heard this story about the congregation before?
  • Do you know anyone who played a part in the story?
  • Do you think the agents in the story accurately predicted the outcome of their actions?
  • Does this story involve a journey or migration? Physical, spiritual, or other?
  • What does the story have to do with you and/or the present congregation?

When the painting is finished, arrange for time at a Sunday morning worship to have the participants show their work to the congregation and tell the story. Then, find a place to hang the painting with a written narrative of the story.