Unitarian Universalist and scholar of American religion, Sidney Mead, called our history “a vast jigsaw puzzle of events.” UU History 101, part of the Faith Forward CORE Path, presents some pieces of that vast jigsaw puzzle in a way that is engaging, rather than overwhelming, to those just arriving to our congregations or anyone curious about our roots.

So what makes this class different?

Too often, people think of history as dates and events organized chronologically into time periods, or a presentation that makes sense only to insiders. Faith Forward brings history alive through stories of our Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist forebears, presenting their great accomplishments as well as their very human flaws and struggles. Participants get to see these historical figures and the questions their life stories raised, making connections with their own lives today.

The Faith Forward approach to our history is grounded in the belief that sessions must help develop and deepen UU identity. “As a new UU, I greatly enjoyed this course,” said Jimmie L. Butt, a congregant at First Unitarian Dallas. Participants feel proud knowing who we are and where we’ve come from, and are able to place themselves in our living tradition. History is still being made today, and each and every person in the room is part of that process.

Participants actually participate!

In one session, participants learn about the struggles around identity faced by our movement in the mid-1900s as the Unitarians and Universalists explored consolidation. They are then given the opportunity to write a short poem – a haiku or limerick, for example – about the development of their own religious identity. You can hear the excitement in their words!