The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Charlotte County is participating in 24 sessions of the UUA's Building the World We Dream About workshops. We are excited about this process and will post summaries and comments of the workshop content, participants feelings and thoughts, and chronicle our path on our way to a deeper conversation about racial issues in our congregation, our community and the world. You can find our Fellowship at http://www.uufcc.org
UUFCC took its maiden voyage into the Building the World We Dream About curriculum! We had 22 participants, which is great for our small congregation of just under 100. We opted to start with a double session, doing Workshop 1 in the morning with a lunch break of an hour followed by Workshop 2. It was a long day but everybody hung in there and kept their energy and enthusiasm up.
Workshop 1 facilitated by Ginger and Sue. After greeting and making sure everyone had a nametag and journal, Ginger opened with the poem “Telling” by Laura Hershey, included in the curriculum resources. Each person introduced him/herself by telling one thing most people would not already know about them. We made a list of important reasons for our congregation to talk about antiracism/multiculturalism.
We then distributed guidelines for making a covenant. After some clarification of terms and meanings, everyone agreed to adopt all of the items on the list with the reminder that this will be a “living” document that can grow and change as we work together. Our first journaling exercise, Insider/Outsider, followed. Each person wrote about an experience in which they felt like an outsider, holding the story in their heart as a point of reference for later discussions.
Theater of Voices was the next activity. Eight UU voices were selected from the curriculum of UU people of color and whites who had the experiences in their congregations, with some being affirming and others marginalizing. Small group discussions of these experiences were insightful. Participants were asked to write in their journals during the lunch break about situations in which they felt they really mattered and when they felt marginalized.
Workshop 2 facilitated by Pam and Di. They opened by giving us an opportunity to practice Serial Testimony protocol. Each person shared something and then the next person’s testimony begins without comment from others. We divided into five groups used the serial testimony to share a time when we really mattered and a time when we felt marginalized. Each group compared their own experiences with those expressed in the Theater of Voices. This was followed by a large group discussion of what it means to welcome someone into the congregation and how People of Color and other marginalized groups might be discomforted by the welcoming process.
The Taking It Home exercise asked everyone to speak to two people in the congregation or community to learn about why they joined their faith community and reflect on how their stories align with the notion of marginality and mattering.
The feedback from all participants was overwhelmingly positive with some saying that the workshops surpassed their expectations. We look forward to continuing with the workshops.