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

Alternate Activity 1: Right Relationship and Reconciliation

Activity time: 60 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Make copies of Handout 1, Practicing Reconciliation, for all participants.
  • Familiarize yourself with Handout 1, Practicing Reconciliation, so that you are comfortable summarizing it for the group.
  • Make two copies of Leader Resource 2, Reconciliation Role Plays-one for the leaders, and one to cut into slips to hand out to small groups.
  • Based on the number of participants, decide how many role-play scenarios to use. You will need five people in each scenario.

Description of Activity

This activity addresses the times when people break covenant and need to rebuild relationships, and offers guidelines for when these situations arise. If using all five role-play scenarios, the activity will take about one hour. If you have a smaller group and use fewer scenarios, the activity will take less time.

Begin by acknowledging that there are times when individuals break their promises, fall out of right relationship, and forget the covenant they have made with others. When covenant is broken, the people involved usually have a desire to reconcile and rebuild right relationship. On a sheet of newsprint, draw a line down the middle creating two columns. At the top of one write Reconciliation, and at the top of the other write Right Relationship. Ask the group what they think is meant by Reconciliation. Write their responses in the corresponding column. Then ask the group what they think is meant by Right Relationship. Write their responses in that column. If it does not become clear through the brainstorm, make the distinction that reconciliation is the process through which people create and recreate right relationship. Share the following James Luther Adams quote:

Church is the place where we practice what it means to be human.

Say that as human beings we often make mistakes, and as a covenantal community church is a place where we can make mistakes, practice and learn, seek forgiveness, and work to restore covenant. This is our promise to one another.

Distribute Handout 1, Practicing Reconciliation, and read the introduction together. Be sure that participants are clear about the distinction between apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation. You do not have to go over the rest of the handout in detail, but encourage participants to bring it home as a tool. If you have time, review the main points and headings. Mention that the handout is a resource for the next part of the activity.

Break into groups of five people, and give each small group a role-play scenario. Tell them that they will have ten minutes to prepare to act out scenarios of broken covenant and hurt relationships. Point out the instructions on the scenarios you have given them. Every person should have a part or role. They should not try to problem-solve or reconcile during the role-play, because the large group will do that together for each scenario.

After ten minutes, bring the small groups back together and have them present their scenarios one-by-one. After each scenario is presented, use the following questions for discussion:

  • What is the issue presented in this scenario?
  • What covenants (explicit or implied) are involved in this situation?
  • How can the people reconcile in this situation?

Conclude the role-plays by acknowledging that reconciliation is not possible or appropriate in every situation. There are many different situations in which they may find themselves, including some that have established covenants or relationships and some that do not. It is up to them to evaluate the situation and figure out what is best.

Invite participants to share experiences in their lives when they have been out of right relationship. Did they reconcile, or did they choose not to? How did they go about it? Facilitators might want to share a personal experience. Make sure that whatever you share is appropriate to discuss with youth, and do not mention specific names without the person's permission.

Close by asking the group: Why is reconciliation a covenantal issue? Invite responses from the group. If the participants do not bring these points up, please add them:

  • Personal relationships can affect whole communities
  • Reconciliation is the work of maintaining and strengthening covenant.