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

Activity 3: Three Stories of Religious Freedom

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • There are three options for using Leader Resource 1, Three Stories of Religious Freedom. If you choose to read the whole story yourself, make one copy. If you plan to have participants help read the story by dividing up the long quotes, make two copies. Keep one copy for yourself and cut the other copy into individual quotes for participants. The last option is to have only participants read the story. In this case, make enough copies for the number of parts you want. Highlight the different parts beforehand.
  • Write the small group reflection questions on newsprint and post.

Description of Activity

Participants explore times in history that Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists took action to expand religious freedom. It challenges participants to look at areas where they themselves, or people in their community, lack freedom and what they might do about it.

Start by explaining that they will be looking at three stories of religious freedom. The first comes from Unitarians in the 1500s. The second is from Universalists in the 1700s. The third comes from Unitarian Universalists in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Use Leader Resource 1, Three Stories of Religious Freedom, to present the stories as you have planned.

After the stories are read, break participants into groups of three or four to discuss the following questions:

  • What are some common elements across the three stories?
  • What are some differences?
  • What do they tell us about religious freedom and freedom in general?
  • What do they tell us about how we, as Unitarian Universalists, have viewed freedom throughout our history?
  • What do these stories have in common with the story about Viola Liuzzo?

Invite all participants back into the large group. Ask youth to each share one reflection on freedom that came up during the discussion.