For adults, religious education holds space for intentional learning and growth with respect to your Unitarian Universalist faith and identity. To get a handle on the broad category of religious education, we break it down into six “threads” and strive to offer programs addressing each:
- Spiritual Growth & Practices. On our journey toward wholeness, we seek to better understand ourselves, own our spiritual/religious past, heal old wounds, discover and develop our strengths, build trusting relationships, and more. We can grow our capacity for reflection, awareness, connection, mindfulness, compassion, groundedness, and staying calm in the face of turmoil by learning and engaging regularly with spiritual practices.
- UU Identity. Whether we were raised in a UU congregation, are longtime members, recent arrivals, at some point we must ask ourselves what does it mean to be a Unitarian Universalist? To answer this question, we look to our heritage, learning the stories of our Unitarian and Universalist predecessors and how the two groups came to merge; we look to Article II of our UUA Bylaws to see how we have collectively defined our purpose (currently in Principles and Sources, possibly soon in terms of Values); we listen to the words of present-day Unitarian Universalists and their various perspectives on our faith and what it means; we examine our UU rituals and practices to learn their origins and understand their meanings.
- Theology and Religion. Though many are triggered by the words theology and religion, we do identify ourselves as a church, and we have roots in two religious traditions with well-defined theologies. We do not, however, prescribe a theology that people must accept in order to call themselves Unitarian Universalists. Instead, we covenant to affirm and promote our own searches for truth and meaning. To do this, it can be helpful to consider age-old questions and to understand how various other religions have answered them, using this awareness to help develop our own responses and build our own belief systems.
- Unitarian Universalism in Life. Unitarian Universalism is often criticized (typically from within) for being overly intellectual or theoretical. In addition, we do not adhere to a set of rules for living that might seem to make it relatively straightforward to figure out how to “live” our faith. So we have the potential for a great deal of personal and community growth when we explore what does Unitarian Universalism mean with respect to parenting, relationships, community, work, school, and other basic aspects of our lives?
- Anti-oppression. We acknowledge that we, as a faith tradition and as individuals, exist within a white supremacist, patriarchal, and colonialist culture, all of which are contrary to our Unitarian Universalist values and principles. We must, therefore, work intentionally to understand and dismantle these forces in our own lives and our organizations.
- Social Justice. Social justice work begins with education: we educate ourselves on the issues, and raise awareness among others to grow a movement. But to be effective in our actions we must also ask ourselves some faith-related questions: Why am I drawn to this work? What inner work is necessary to ensure that I am coming from a place of love, humility, compassion and respect, rather than fear, guilt, or rage? What cautionary tales should I be aware of to avoid doing harm in my efforts to help? How do I form healthy, respectful relationships with those I am serving? Am I listening well?
2023-24 Adult Religious Education Prospectus
Here is a listing of Adult Religious Education offerings for the 2023-24 church year!
Online registration is available at the link above, or contact the office at 332-3695, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative Expressions: “Making Things” as Possible Paths to Spiritual, Psychological, and Emotional Growth
This class will explore the creative process through drawing, painting, and collage using a variety of materials. Entering “creative flow” often involves a shift in consciousness from verbal thought and expression to non-verbal “thinking in images,” which may share some of the same characteristics as meditation or prayer. This class will invite participants to experience themselves in new ways and open themselves to personal growth. No drawing or painting experience necessary. Facilitated by Jeanne Myers. Meets in Fellowship Hall, every other Saturday from September 16 to November 11, 2023, from 11am to 12:15pm (except Nov. 11, when the time will be 12 - 1:30pm). Open to 12 participants, ages 17+
Listening In: A Circle for Spiritual Deepening
This class invites individual spiritual exploration and deepening, in the context of community. Participants commit to attend regularly; choose a daily spiritual practice; engage with provided resources between sessions; meet monthly with a spiritual director; and honor the group’s covenants. Facilitated by Denise Breeden-Ost and Angi Sullivan. Meets in person at UUCB on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, 6:30 – 8:30, starting September 26 and continuing through April (no class Dec. 26). Registration deadline: September 19.
Book Discussion Group: Poverty, By America
Matthew Desmond writes, “To understand the causes of poverty, we must look beyond the poor, which makes this a book about poverty that is not just about the poor. Instead, it’s a book about how the other half lives, about how some lives are made small so others may grow.” He reveals that a system maintains poverty and some people benefit from that system, and that the reality is often not what we have been told. The Bloomington Multi-Faith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity committee (BMA F4RE) will offer a book read this fall of Matthew Desmond’s “Poverty, by America” with a community capstone event being planned for the afternoon of Sunday, October 29th. Multiple faith communities will be leading book groups that will meet at different times and in different modalities; they are open to all. Ruth Aydt will facilitate on behalf of UUCB, meeting Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30 on Zoom on Aug 15, Aug 29, Sept 12, Sept 19, Oct 10, and Oct 17. For information on other groups/times please visit our website.
What do you believe, not just in your head but in your life?
According to James Luther Adams’ pragmatic theory of meaning, theology is “meaningful” only insofar as it affects actual practice. The question is “what difference to our practice and to our expectations it will make to believe this rather than that.” As Unitarian Universalists, we formulate our belief statements in terms of credo (“I believe”) not creed (“we believe”). Our stories are among our sacred texts, and we are responsible for developing our own beliefs in light of our own experience and conscience.
This workshop is designed to help participants figure out what they believe about some theological questions (such as the meaning of life and death; the nature of human beings, and our place in the universe). Readings, conversation, writing, reflecting, sharing, etc. Facilitated by Rev. Connie Grant. Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, September 12, 19 & 26; October 3, 10 & 17 Min. 6, max. 18.
Indigenous Studies Working Group
This group will meet on a regular basis to learn together through readings, videos, and other resources. We may opt to take field trips or engage guest speakers. Our aim will be to gain a greater understanding of the experiences, both past and present, of the Indigenous peoples native to this area. We will share what we learn with the congregation as appropriate, along with calls to action. Facilitated by Stephanie Kimball. Meeting dates and times to be determined by the participants.
Forgotten Christianities: Diversity of Belief & Practices Among Early Christians
Over the past century, archaeological discoveries and scholarly research have revealed a remarkable diversity of beliefs and ideas about Jesus and his teachings prior to the establishment of Christianity as the Imperial religion of the Roman Empire. For example, some early groups asserted that Jesus was not a god-man, but was fully human (like the Unitarians), or that salvation was ultimately given to all (like the Universalists). Some groups believed that the god of the Gospels was different from the god of the Tanakh (Hebrew Old Testament), or that the creator of the world was an evil deity. Elaine Pagels makes an intriguing case for a feminine entity, “God the Mother”, as one variant conception of god in some Christian communities. Our reading and discussion group will explore the rich and very diverse religious world that arose in the first centuries after the life of Jesus. Facilitated by Brian O’Donnell. Enrollment limited to 12. Meets on Zoom on five Wednesdays, Oct 11 - Nov 8, 4-5:30pm.
A Journey through Unitarian Universalist History
Have you ever wondered how the Unitarian Universalist church evolved? Where this way of doing church came from and who the leaders and founders of the Unitarian and Universalist movements in Europe and North America were? Come find out in this one-day workshop led by Stuart Yoak. Saturday, dates TBD, 10am - 3pm. Lunch included. Please register.
OWL (Our Whole Lives) for Adults
Over the course of 12 sessions, the Adult Our Whole Lives Program explores sexuality issues for adults of all ages using values, communication skills and spirituality as starting points. The OWL program helps participants build an understanding of healthy sexual relationships, affirm diversity and accept and affirm their own sexuality throughout their lives. Our Whole Lives presents sexuality as a good, creative force with enormous potential to enrich as well as to generate life. Facilitated by Abby Gitlitz and Matt Stonecipher. Meets in person on Tuesday evenings at 7:00pm starting on January 16 - April 2 in Room 112.
Poetry as Spiritual Practice
Are you interested in exploring new ways to engage in spiritual practice? Do you want to delve into what spiritual practice is or could be for you? Do you simply love poetry and want to have an opportunity to share your love with others and in doing so deepen that appreciation? Do you write poetry and want to share your work and your reasons for writing poetry with others? These, and perhaps others, are good reasons to join this course. A series of five meetings will focus on sharing poems that the participants bring to the group. The first meeting will give participants a chance to talk about what "spiritual practice" means to them and about why they joined the course. Literary analysis is NOT the purpose of the course; rather, practice in experiencing poetry as a vehicle for spiritual practice is the goal. Facilitated by Linda Pickle. Enrollment limited to 7. Meets in person or on Zoom, every other week on Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30 pm beginning March 19 and ending May 14.
“Do the Work” Racial Justice Education Group
This informal discussion group will gather on Zoom to talk about what we learn as we make our way through the Do The Work Activity Book by W. Kamau Bell & Kate Schatz. This is an informal, drop-in event; no need to attend every session. But please register, so we can send you the details (the Zoom link, what pages we’ll focus on, which Sundays we’ll meet, etc.) Meets on Sundays at 4pm. Facilitated by participants in the 2023 Legacy Museum trip.
Readings and Discussion in Unitarian Universalism
This will be a discussion of selected readings by Unitarian Universalism authors and theologians. Some of the readings will focus on how early UUs in America as they defined and constructed this new way of doing church and some of the readings will focus on challenges that are facing UU churches today. Facilitated by Stuart Yoak. Meets in person or on Zoom, on dates TBD, 7-9:00pm for 5 weeks, in the spring.
The Inner Work of Age
In the words of Connie Zweig, “Aging is our next frontier - a physical, emotional, moral, cognitive and spiritual frontier. Its mysteries and its terrors need to be faced consciously and mindfully, and this book offers the inner tools we need to do just that. We can only truly reinvent late life from the inside out.” Together, we will work through Zweig’s book The Inner Work of Age: From Role to Soul, taking time to do the work ourselves and support each other in the process. Facilitated by Stephanie Kimball. Meets on 14 Wednesdays from 10am-noon starting on January 12 (exact dates TBA). Registration required.