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

Activity 2: Understanding Our Roots

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read all of the handouts and leader resources for this workshop. For Leader Resource 2, Values Quotes and Actions, reflect on the ways that each one relates to freedom, reason, tolerance, faith, hope, and love. Leader Resource 1, Unitarian and Universalist Roots, provides background on these core Unitarian and Universalist values. Leader Resource 3, Values Quotes and Actions Background, includes the origin of each quote or action and the matching root(s).
  • Draw a tree with six thick roots on newsprint, labeling the roots with the words Freedom, Reason, Tolerance, Faith, Hope, and Love.
  • Cut up Leader Resource 2, Values Quotes and Actions, so you can give each quote to a participant.

Description of Activity

This activity explores core values held by Unitarian and Universalist ancestors, which have shaped our roots and wings.

Point to the six words written on the roots of the tree and tell participants that freedom, reason, tolerance, faith, hope, and love are values that run throughout our liberal religious history. These values show up repeatedly in our theologies, our Principles and Sources, and our actions in the world. Some of these values are reflected in James Luther Adams' Five Smooth Stones of Liberalism (from Workshop 1) read in each workshop. Review the Opening responsive reading and ask participants where they see these values reflected.

Distribute the quotes and actions to participants. One by one, invite them to stand or sit at the front of the room or the center of the circle and read their quote or action aloud. After each one is read, let the group discuss which root(s) they think it reflects. When they have come to an agreement, have them direct the reader to tape their paper to the appropriate root on the wall. Note that some quotes or actions may connect to multiple roots. Discuss all possible connections. Continue reading quotes and actions aloud, discussing, and posting.

Conclude the activity with these words:

Let us bring these values into our lives and the world. If these are our roots, the source of our religious life today, it is our responsibility to cultivate them, and also to shape the direction of their growth. This is the way we give our roots life. One day, we will be part of the roots, too. This is the beauty of our living tradition.