A Unitarian Universalist Congregational Curriculum
In the Spring of 2023, Starr King School for the Ministry launched the pilot program of our Educating to Counter Oppressions and Create Just and Sustainable Communities model for congregations and communities – WEAV.
WEAV is a 10-module small group ministry program designed to inspire participants as agents of sacred social change. WEAV stands for Who and What are UUs? Embodied Justice, Advocacy, and Vision.
Created by Dr. Shannon Frediani, the program was developed in response to Starr King alumni feedback compiled from our 2021 ECO survey research, the UUA’s 2020 “Widening the Circle of Concern” report, and the recommendations of our school’s Team ECO, faculty, staff, and consultants. Data shows that harm is still being done within UU communities as those communities reckon with what it means to live into our values and to build a multicultural spiritual community. WEAV was created to address this harm and to help bridge the gap between the reality within many UU communities and our vision of a UU beloved community. Dr. Takiyah Amin serves as a primary consultant to the program.
The WEAV program was designed in a small group ministry format and is grounded in four foundational pillars:
Understanding and Building Our Spiritual Community
Building a Just Culture Countering White Supremacy Culture
Developing Trauma Exposure Awareness, Self-Care Practices, and Ally Practices for Right Relationship
Beloved Community: Commitment to Radical Love, Reparative and Restorative Processes Including Regeneration
These four pillars bring together Starr King’s ECO model and the four quadrants of UU congregations. Moreover, as addressing harm done within UU communities calls for a restoration and reconciliation process, we also integrated a process from “Thresholds of Collective Wisdom” into the program. “Thresholds” was developed by Angeles Arrien and Patrick O’Neill, professional mediators who participated in the South African Truth and Reconciliation proceedings, to address the universal principles and skills that build and support collective wisdom. WEAV integrates the “Thresholds” process and reflections and applies them to the UU Vision.
The First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco (UUSF) participated in the first test of the WEAV program to great success.
“Even though it was a small sample [in the WEAV pilot program], I feel it has created ripples through our congregation,” said Rev. Laura Shennum, Minister of Congregational Life at UUSF. “I am constantly being asked when I will be offering the next round of sessions and I am excited to offer it again in the fall and the spring.”
In the coming year, Starr King will begin its second, larger testing phase of the program. If your congregation or community is interested in participating in a pilot WEAV program in the coming year, please fill out this form and we will be in contact with you soon.
A special thank you to the Lilly Foundation and Hinckley Foundation for their generous funding of this program.