New address: 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409.

Search Our Site

Page Navigation

Section Banner

Connecting Through New Technologies: Session 2 of the Congregations & Beyond Discussion Guide

Purpose

Sessions 2 and 3 provide opportunities for participants to design specific action plans to implement their own creative ideas of how to increase opportunities to connect to people in congregations and beyond. In this session, participants explore ways to use technologies for communication, particularly social media, to connect in new ways.

Objectives

  • Identify current technologies for social media and communication and explore how they might be used by your congregation or group.
     
  • Decide upon one action which utilizes current technology to increase connection to people in the congregation and/or beyond it.
     
  • Learn of resources for participating in broader conversations about Congregations and Beyond.

Materials

  • Chalice, candle, and matches, or LED/battery-operated candle
     
  • Computer with access to Internet, projector or large computer monitor and speakers.
     
  • Leader Resource 1, Social Media Reverse Quiz Game
     
  • Leader Resource 2, Contemporary Religiosity Facts: Technology
     
  • Leader Resource 3, Find Out More
     
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
     
  • Scissors
     
  • Optional: Prizes, such as small bottles of bubbles or small containers of modeling clay, enough for each participant
     
  • Optional: Smartphone

Preparation

  • Review the materials for the session.
     
  • Choose an opening reading OR download and install the Illuminations app on a Smartphone or iPad OR prepare to show a video of Peter Mayer song.
     
  • Print Leader Resources 1 and 2. Cut Leader Resource 2 into strips, one fact per strip.
     
  • Make copies of Leader Resource 3, Find Out More.
     
  • If you will not have Internet access during the workshop, print out a screen shot of Unitarian Universalists Exploring Congregations and Beyond Facebook page and Vision for Unitarian Universalism: Congregations and Beyond. For instructions on how to take a screenshot, search in the “help” topics in your computer’s main menu. You might also visit take-a-screenshot.org.
     
  • Set-up A/V equipment and make sure it is operational.
     
  • Write on newsprint:
     
    • How does your congregation communicate—to the congregation and beyond? How might the social media tools that we have identified facilitate communication in your congregation? Outside the congregation?
       
    • What presence does your congregation have on the Internet? How might the congregation make better use of your Internet resources—website, Facebook page, etc.—to reach out to seekers and others in the community?
       
    • What one action could the congregation take using current technology to attract more people to the congregation, bring members of the congregation closer together, or inform the community of congregational activities they might find interesting?

Opening: Description of Session

(5 minutes)

Welcome participants. Light the chalice and read the chalice lighting words of your choosing. Note: Since this session is about technology, consider lighting the chalice using the Illuminations app on a smartphone or showing the video of Peter Mayer’s song, “Holy Now,” on the welcome page of the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s website, Quest for Meaning. If you choose one of these options, take a little time to show participants the app or the Quest for Meaning web page.

Invite participants to share any reflections from the previous session. Review the covenant created in Session 1. Does anything need to be added, changed, or deleted?

Social Media Reverse Quiz Game

(15 minutes)

Break group into teams for Social Media Reverse Quiz Game! Have the teams face off by reading the descriptions in turn to each group, and seeing which team is first to come up with a question to match (Example: Description—vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Response—What are ice cream flavors?).  Write each correct response on newsprint (e.g. What is Facebook?). Optional: Give the winning team prizes. Ask them if they would like to for everyone to receive a prize. After they say yes, distribute prizes to everyone.

Read through the list of answers and ask for a show of hands to indicate users of each technology or program and willingness to share knowledge with others after the workshop. Note volunteers as you read the list. Ask if there are other social media sites people use in their everyday lives, such as Skype, and add them to the your list.

A Changing World

(30 minutes)

Distribute slips from Leader Resource 2 to volunteers and ask them to read the facts aloud. Discuss, using the following questions:

  • What conclusions might one draw from these facts?
     
  • What additional trends in the technological world might have an impact on our faith?

Point out the questions you have written on newsprint. Ask participants to divide into small groups of four or five and discuss the questions. Give each group newsprint and a marker and tell them they will have 15 minutes to discuss the questions and prepare to report back their responses to the large group.

Ask each group to display their newsprint and report back to the group, paying special attention to their responses to the third question. Use consensus to decide upon one action that congregation can take. Solicit and record names of volunteers willing to help complete the action and names of others from the congregation who might be asked to help. Ask the volunteers to meet after the workshop for five minutes to schedule a meeting to start work on the action.

The Role of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

(5 minutes)

Display the Vision for the Unitarian Universalism: Congregations and Beyond page on UUA.org or the screen shot you have created. Note the resources that are available on the page. Say, “The UUA staff want to facilitate your congregation’s participation in Congregations and Beyond by acting as a hub for ideas and activities.” Ask participants to suggest ways the UUA staff might support your faith community’s Congregations and Beyond efforts.

If you have Internet access, follow the Facebook link at the bottom of the page. If not, display the screen shot you have prepared. Read aloud some of the posts from Unitarian Universalists Exploring Congregations and Beyond. Invite your group to come up with a message to add to the discussion group wall. What does Congregations and Beyond mean to your congregation? What would you like ask the broader Unitarian Universalist community? What action have you decided upon to make better use of social media?  If you are viewing the page via screenshot rather than live, decide who will post to the Facebook page later on.

Distribute copies of Leader Resource 3, Find Out More and/or collect email addresses and distribute it electronically.

Closing

(5 minutes)

Remind participants of the date and time of the next workshop. Read these closing words, written by UUA Intern Stefani Ruper, and extinguish the chalice:

The Congregations and Beyond initiative is, when it comes down to it, the simple endeavor to explore UU spirituality beyond congregational walls, however that might be appropriate to each individual’s life, spirit, and mission. This may be through new forms of UU connectivity. It may also be through new forms of connecting with the wider world. Or it may even more likely be (based on the bold aspirations and life and love of Unitarian Universalists the world over) a synergistic endeavor to engage and to live faithfully both.

For more information contact conglife @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, September 25, 2012.

Sidebar Content, Page Navigation

 

Updated and Popular

Recently Updated

For Newcomers

Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.

Page Navigation