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

Activity 3: Responding With Hope

Activity time: 35 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Four news articles and/or photos about current events that are devastating, destructive, and seemingly hopeless
  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • In selecting four news articles and/or photos about current events that are devastating, destructive, and seemingly hopeless, try to find a balance of local, national, and global stories. If the group is very large, you may need more than four stories.
  • Post the news articles and/or photos around the room, with markers and a sheet of newsprint posted next to each.

Description of Activity

Youth explore personal experiences and sources of hope to draw on in the face of devastation, despair, and injustice in the world.

Begin by saying that, like Norbert Capek and his community, we may all experience hopelessness at times. There is devastation, despair, and injustice in our world, and we experience adversity and sadness in our lives and relationships. Nevertheless, James Luther Adams reminds us with his fifth smooth stone, that there are human and divine/spiritual resources available that justify hope and optimism.

Direct the group's attention to the news stories/photos posted around the room.

Explain that they will explore the current events posted with the goal of identifying sources of hope in each situation. Divide participants into four groups, and have each group begin at a different story. Groups will rotate around the room, spending five minutes at each station. Tell them to spend the first minute or two reading the story, looking at the photo, and understanding the situation. Spend the remainder of the five minutes reflecting on the sources of hope in each situation, including: 1) the human skills, capacities, or resources, and 2) the divine or spiritual resources of their faith. Ask them to brainstorm resources and record them on the newsprint. After five minutes, signal the groups to move to the next story and repeat the process, recording their discussion on the posted newsprint next to the recordings of the last group. When the groups have made their way through all the stories, invite them to return to their seats.

Spend the next 10 minutes reviewing, clarifying, and discussing the sources of hope brainstormed from the stories. Address one story at a time. Ask a volunteer from each group to explain what they wrote on the newsprint, or as the leader, summarize and make connections among the groups' recordings as a prompt for discussion.

Close by saying that this activity demonstrated how, together, we can find internal and external sources of hope in the face of seemingly hopeless situations.

Including All Participants

Ensure adequate space for participants to move around near and between each story. Provide the option of standing or sitting at each station.