Blessings from religious exploration at WUUC, Rev. Jamil here and I am so happy to be writing my first newsletter to you in this month of “Beginning” for our congregation, our child and youth religious exploration program, and our adult religious exploration program.
Transitions and beginnings are very challenging for some. Many of us are beginning school this year, a new grade, a new university, maybe like me a new job and you’ve moved to a new city. I often think we should shift our new year to Sept. 1! This is a time for many that is plagued by anxiety and fear of the unknown. For others, beginnings are times of excitement and visioning. Whichever of these you are feeling at this moment, this community holds you deeply and lovingly. We wish our children, youth, and wandering adults best wishes as they begin this new journey in their life.
Beginnings are inherently paradoxical, we are supposed to have hope for the future when there is still mourning in our hearts. I believe we are complex emotional beings and have the possibility of holding both sadness and excitement, both hope and fear, side by side and with care and mindfulness. Often, when I struggle, I seek community to help me navigate paradox, to make sense of the hope of beginnings and the fear of the unknown. In community we have others who can provide wisdom for how we might navigate our new paths, provide resources on our path, and partner with us as spiritual friends.
To our Senior youth who have bridged and are moving on to new things; Skylar Hopkins, Coen Owsley, Tristan Sherry, Jordan Hall, Miranda “Mia” Sanford, Alex Kinney we wish them well. To our religious exploration leaders who have held us so gently and wisely over this past year, Lindsay Rogers, Rebecca Guthrie, Cora Goss-Grubbs, and Alison Bush, we say thank you and we look forward to a new relationship with you at WUUC, and we send the Bush family on their way in love. We welcome our new host of volunteers who have joined our team this year and begin the year from a place of deep gratitude for all that you do for this community. May our new church year together help heal the world of suffering.
Soulful: A Program for Children, Youth, & Adults
Speaking of beginnings, the REALL committee and I are happy to announce our new education and spiritual formation program at WUUC called Soulful Exploration (Soulful for short). We are continuing our program of offering soulful worship, soulful learning, soulful community fellowship at WUUC.
For children and youth
Our preschool (caterpillars) will continue to have enriching early childhood religious education curricula in their classroom under the leadership of our amazing Nursery and Pre-school volunteers and staff. Our K-5th grade will begin SpiritJam, a program focused on children’s worship with Rev. Jamil and experiential Unitarian Universalist exploration in workshop rotations with special presenters.
Junior Youth begin the Building Bridges curriculum, in which they will learn about neighboring faith traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and more. Each month they will visit one of these traditions worship service and learn from the religious leaders. We will then close out the month with a fun, irreverent, yet informative viewing and discussion of the Simpsons!
Senior Youth will focus on social justice this year and decide on a social justice project to be a part of their project-based learning curriculum.
For adults and teens we have a few offerings for this Fall/Winter:
Facing Death with Life Class
Facilitated by Rev. Lois
This 8 session program facilitates a process of personal reflection, learning, and spiritual growth focused on the topic of death and dying. It brings death, dying, and grief into the light of our daily lives and out of the dark, macabre recesses to which we often relegate it. The program is not a grief support group, nor is it an intellectual study of death. It includes sociological information and reflection, theological reflection, personal and shared narrative, creative expression, journaling, and practical learning and preparation. It helps participants move from viewing death as an abstract concept to developing a personal recognition of its meaning in their life, with the goal that all who participate in the program find a closer and more comfortable relationship with their own inevitable death. This program invites participants to experience death and dying as a healthy part of life, including the preparation, the moment of death, the grieving, and the living on.
Class will be from 12 noon -2:00 p.m. with the first half hour sharing lunch together.
September 14, 21,28
Please RSVP to Rev. Lo at email@example.com
The Third Reconstruction — Rev. Dr. William Barber (Book Study)
“The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement,” by The Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Beacon, 2016), has been chosen as the 2016-17 Unitarian Universalist Common Read. Unitarian Universalists were electrified at General Assembly 2016 by Rev. Barber’s call for building and sustaining a movement for justice for all people. The Common Read selection committee believes that this is a moment for Unitarian Universalists to answer that call. The Third Reconstruction offers helpful, practical guidance for engaging with justice movements born in response to local experiences of larger injustices. Drawing on the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, while making room for other sources of truth, the book challenges us to ground our justice work in moral dissent, even when there is no reasonable expectation of political success, and to do the hard work of coalition building in a society that is fractured and polarized.
A paperback edition will be available for purchase at inSpirit: UU Book and Gift Shop in late September.
If you’re interested, sign up at the new Soulful Exploration information table in the lobby before service. Or email Jamil at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will be held this Winter after the paperback version is released; those who sign up will be contacted about the time and dates.
Building Your Own Theology
As Unitarian-Universalists, we are all theologians. Our church as a spiritual community encourages each of us to create our own personal credo (Latin for “I believe.”) This 8-week UUA curriculum will help us examine our values and beliefs about God or ultimate reality, human nature, ethics, and the meaning and purpose of life. We search for what is true in life. Through a combination of reflection, group discussion, study, and writing, we will examine our own spiritual odysseys and articulate our own credos. How does your life inform your faith?
Please note that this is not a “drop-in” class. Unless you’re ill or have an emergency, it’s important to attend all eight sessions, since they build on one another.
We will meet in the church Portable 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. for eight consecutive Tuesday nights, starting Oct. 4 and ending Nov. 22, 2016.
In this class you’ll be kept busy NOT listening to Chuck and Lauren talk, but thinking, talking, and writing about your own spiritual paths.
Soul Matters is WUUC’s small group ministry – a ministry of pause and creation in community. Soul Matter groups are an opportunity to build deep connections, a place to be accepted as you are and to open yourself to transformation.
Groups of 8-10 people make a commitment to meet once a month for four months beginning in October. There will be a group that meets at the church and one that meets in member’s homes. A facilitator guides each discussion. Our discussions follows the church’s monthly theme, with relevant readings to contemplate and discuss.
Sign-ups will be available online in the next few weeks but you are welcome to visit the Soulful Information Station in the lobby this Sunday to let us know you are interested. Times TBD.
Questions, email Stephana Ditzler, email@example.com
Mutuality Movement with Rev. Jamil
We are beginning to do the work of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the work on privilege, and some direct action work. What is the spiritual bases of our solidarity work with Black people in America?
Following research on the uses of Unitarian Universalist contemplation in social justice with Meadville Lombard Theological School’s Fahs Collaborative Fellowship program, Rev. Jamil began developing plans to develop multi-faith, multi-generational communities of spiritual practice that can quickly answer calls to social action mindfully and lovingly. (The initial thought project can be found on mutualitymovement.org). He has since coined the term “sympathetic contemplative practice,” as spiritual practice done in solidarity with the marginalized population one is serving.
Believing in the power of sympathetic contemplative practice to develop solidarity with marginalized populations, Rev. Jamil will guide us through the practices of the Contemplative Black Spiritual Tradition including attentional-awareness practices, tarrying or waiting, call and response, and more.
Weekly: Every first Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary starting Oct. 5th. Interested? Visit the Soulful Exploration Information table Sunday morning and let us know.
Other Soulful Exploration opportunities: ongoing Buddhist meditation, and more, please visit http://wuuc.org/calendarevents/ to find out about our ongoing classes and offerings.
● Sing to the power of love within! We need children’s choir members. If you are interested, please email Terry Simon and join our amazing choir. All abilities are welcome and we would love to have your child join us. Terry Simon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
● Child Dedication will be held Oct. 16 during the service. Please visit the new Soulful Exploration welcome table in the lobby before service to sign up or email Rev. Jamil at email@example.com.
● Interested in social events for families? We are starting a Parent Activity Group to help organize and grow the social life of this church. Visit the Soulful Information Station in the lobby Sunday morning to sign up or email Rev. Jamil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
● Jr. and Sr. Youth Group Parent/Youth Orientation, Sept. 11, 2016, 6-8 p.m. in Portables P1, P2.
● Jr. and Sr. Youth Kick-off Movie Night. Senior Youth: Friday, Sept. 16, 7-10 p.m. & Junior Youth: Saturday Sept. 17, 7-10 p.m. Offsite at Cora Goss-Grubb’s home. Please email for directions and information: email@example.com
● PNWD YOUTH CON for youth in 9th-12th grade. WHEN: Oct. 21-23, 2016. WHERE: Camp Cispus, Randle, WA. WHAT: PaUUse: Finding sanctuary in our busy lives. Registration information will be out in late August. Join the YRUU list to stay informed! Email Ashley Lacy at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the YRUU email list.
● We send best wishes to our High School youth who are attending the Youth Revival in Portland, OR Sept. 23-25 and to our Middle School Youth who will be at their annual Conference on Vashon Island the same weekend and thank you Ashley Lacy and Jack Brand for being chaperones.
● Starting Sept. 4, our children (K-5) will be processing in at the beginning of service with a light for our chalice. They will sign in at the Soulful Information Station, gather in the library, enter during service and march to their classrooms together. We will be using a new digital sign-in process, so there may be a delay in signing in on Sept. 3 and 11. Please arrive early to sign in on those days.