Using This Guide

The UU Common Read of Mistakes and Miracles provides a congregational group with a series of four 90-minute meetings:

  • Every Congregation Has a Story
  • Let's Talk About Power
  • History and Hope
  • Strategy and What’s Next

The discussion guide authors recommend that group members commit as best they can to the entire series.

The guide assumes participants are members of a single Unitarian Universalist faith community and that they have read Mistakes and Miracles. If your group includes participants from more than one congregation, if at all possible within the sessions create small discussion groups from the same congregation.

Meetings are meant to be facilitated online. Each facilitator and participant will use their own computer to join a Zoom meeting. Facilitator(s) will lead the meeting with these discussion guide pages open on the UUA website. The facilitator or co-host can screen-share media clips and other resources from here.

Review the facilitator guidance for each session in advance. Consider how you will lead and hold the group through sometimes challenging reflection and discussion. Identify places where you have questions or discomfort. Make a plan to resolve these for yourself, on your own or with support, before leading the group.

As a facilitator, you must anticipate that wonderings, testimonies, and conversations that touch on race and ethnicity will land differently for different people. People who are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) and others who hold often-marginalized identities may need their own processing space or identity-based pastoral support to continue in faith and mutual regard with the group. Because the road to anti-racism multiculturalism is the central focus of this Common Read, it is a necessary faith practice for facilitators to gather the needed expertise and contingency plans (e.g., for BIPOC caucusing). Take care to communicate transparently that these supports are in place and how participants can access them when promoting and leading this Common Read.

Before each session, follow the "Preparation" instruction to send the participants a reminder of the date, time, and location/link for the upcoming meeting that includes the discussion questions. Thinking about the upcoming questions before sharing with the group will help people prepare, especially if they are folx who need the internal processing time.

Before the series begins, you will need to create a Jamboard. Jamboard is a Google app that offers an online whiteboard for many users to work on at once. You will ask participants to contribute on Jamboard during some of the sessions. When you launch the Jamboard app, a “plus” sign icon appears near the bottom of the screen. Use this to create a new Jamboard. This YouTube video, and others you will find online, can guide you to prepare a Jamboard for the group in advance and get comfortable using it. During your sessions, you may need to help participants get started contributing to the Jamboard; leave a little extra time for this.

If your group will meet in person or in a multiplatform situation, prepare to make the in-person experience as equivalent as possible. (For example: Make sure those gathered in person have Internet and the equipment needed so all can comfortably view or hear the video clips; supply newsprint sheet pads and markers, journals/pens, etc. to offer an in-person version of an online Jamboard.) For a multiplatform group, two facilitators are highly recommended! You might also consider guidance curated by the UUA for pandemic-era safety.

Online, facilitators may wish to designate a co-host to share in online support such as technical trouble-shooting, monitoring the Chat, managing breakout rooms, or screen-sharing video clips and other resources.