Fall 2019 – 2020

Want to learn more about Adult Faith Formation and how YOU can facilitate a class? Click here!

2019-2020 Themes

​What Does It Mean to be a People of…

September:  Expectation
October:  Belonging
November:  Attention
December:  Awe
January:  Integrity
February:  Resilience
March:  Wisdom
April:  Liberation
May:  Thresholds
​June:  Play

Faith & Theology Classes

Building Your Own Theology and Faith Statement with Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

“Building Your Own Theology, Position Statement, or Faith Statement”

Come and join Rev. Amy Shaw for this eight week class which explores the seven major questions whose answers make up a theology, moral/ethical position statement, or statement of faith. Each week we will examine and discuss one question or area, and will spend a week crafting our individual responses to that question. There will be discussion, but sharing of current position or answer to any question is never required. At the completion of the class, all participants will have had an opportunity to craft a fully developed statement of their current set of moral, ethical, spiritual, or theological beliefs.

All beliefs are welcome- the class is suited for all and does not require any/any particular belief in any theological or supernatural or divine construct.

*  This class will be capped at 12 people


Meditation & Mindfulness

Drop-In Meditation Group
Sundays, 10:30 – 11 am

Class Description: Take a moment to center yourself for the coming week by attending drop-in meditation each Sunday between the first and second services. We practice a simple form of breathing meditation; no previous meditation experience necessary. Please come as you are able; no need to register in advance.

Facilitator: Karen Massetti Miller
No registration needed

Awakening Heart Sangha
Mondays,  7 – 8:30 pm
Awakening Heart Sangha is a mindfulness practice group in the Plum Village Tradition of Vietnamese Zen teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, or ‘Thay’. All are welcome on a drop-in basis to this ongoing group. All levels of practice are welcome, regardless of whether you are a new-comer to meditation or have had a meditation practice for a while. Brief meditation instruction will be offered at each meeting as needed for any newcomers. Chairs will be provided. If you prefer a meditation cushion, you are free to bring your own. Please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to help set up chairs.
At each meeting, we will check-in, practice 20 minutes of sitting meditation and 10 minutes of walking meditation followed by a short reading and discussion.
Activity Schedule:

  • 1st Monday: Book Reading (Nothing Special: Living Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck)
  • 2nd Monday: Five Mindfulness Trainings
  • 3rd Monday: Book Reading (Nothing Special: Living Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck)
  • 4th Monday: People of Color and Inclusivity Focus with Book Reading (Nothing Special: Living Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck)
  • 5th Monday: Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings or alternate program

Facilitator: Debra Rodgers.
Debra has a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Chaplaincy and was ordained in 2013 by Thich Nhat Hanh as a lay-practitioner in the Order of Interbeing as True Chrysanthemum Garden.
No registration needed. Drop-ins welcome.

Social Justice and Community Building Classes

Book Study and Webinar Groups

Apophatic Mysticism

Wednesdays, 12 noon Rm 114

Jan 8, 15, 22, 29 (alt Feb 5)

Materials Needed:

In Love With Everything: Apophatic Mysticism, The Benefits and Dangers of Love Without Reason

Class Description:

On meditation: Faith and works in atheism and theism. Self-judgment as to the quality and endurance of one’s meditation is to be avoided at all cost. In regard to how effectively one is meditating, one is best to only do notice. The purpose of meditation is to “be delivered” from the conventional ways of judging our world, its values, and the quality of a person’s life. Meditation helps us increasingly realize that each of us (and everyone else) is already perfectly okay; our fundamental value is immutable. Our intrinsic worth is not subject to change. And of course, we cannot realize that if we judge ourselves to be failing to meditate as well as we think we should be.

This principle is found in the agnostics Laozi and Zhuangzi; I would say that faith is actually not needed, only curiosity. This sense of impeccability is the heart of mystical ecstasy: a love for the world “as is,” and the embrace of all beings in this world.

Up to 8 people Name of Contact: Melissa Harris


Understanding Your Grief

Sundays, 2-4pm, March 8 – April 26 Stonewall Conference Room

There will be a $15 ask to help cover the cost of the materials:

Understanding Your Grief

Understanding Your Grief Journal Books by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Understanding Your Grief is a 8-week grief education and support group in which we will explore the Ten Essential Touchstones of grief using Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s materials as a starting point.  The Ten Touchstones are “essential physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual actions for you to take to help yourself heal.” Group will include reading and personal sharing in which we listen deeply to each other’s stories of grieving and mourning the loss of a loved one.  There will be opportunities for journaling, creative expression and movement.  Wherever you are on your grief journey, whether your loved one died recently or many years ago, you are welcome to join us.  The facilitator would like to meet with each of you individually once before group starts.  This is not a drop-in group and we ask that you plan to not miss more than one meeting.

Up to 10 people

Understanding Your Grief will be facilitated by Debra Rodgers.  Debra has her Master of Divinity Degree in Buddhist Chaplaincy and is also a nurse, having worked as an oncology, palliative care and hospice nurse.


WEBINAR: Whose History Is It Anyway?

Monday   6:30 pm, January 27-February 24, 2020 Channing Hall

How much do you know about the roots of our faith tradition? Explore the history of Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism in this five-week class. Using an anti-colonialist, multicultural lens, we’ll look beyond the traditional, dusty facts of history and examine to see how our faith was born and how it has developed and evolved over the years.

Topics include: Whose story is it anyway, Why history matters, The Roots of Liberal Religion, The Universalists, The Unitarians, Transcendentalism, Westward Expansion, Humanism, Consolidation, Principles and Sources, Drawing the Circle Wider, Indigenous, Latinx, Black and Non-Black People of Color, GLBTQ, and Disability.

Presenter: Reverend Connie Simon; Contact Sue Huber


Self-Esteem as Psychological-Spiritual Development
Every other Sunday, 11 am Room 114

The basis for group discussion is Nathaniel Branden’s book, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. Other psychological and spiritual sources will also be discussed.

Facilitator: Shirley Willard

Covenant of UU Pagans Classes (Sacred Bridges CUUPs)

Paganism & Creating Rituals Andrea LeMeuse facilitates. March 9- April 27, 2020. 6:30-8PM

An 8- week course to develop and create a public ritual experience for up to 50 people during the Beltane Sabbat celebrated on May 2nd, 2020.  This class will go through the steps of creating a ritual, how to write blessings and invocations, and moving a large audience through an esoteric, spiritual experience. We will be building props and creating costumes as part of the ritual team. No previous experience is necessary.

This class will begin Monday, March 9th and continue on Monday nights for 8 weeks until April 27th.  Missed classes due to weather will not be made up.  Class  meeting time will be from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.  The Beltane Sabbat ritual will be held after the Witches and Pagans Symposium at First Unitarian Church on May 2nd.

Trance, Meditation, and Altered States. Monday’s 6:30 to 8pm, January 20 to February 24, 2020 Room 107

This class will be an experiential exploration of Trance, Meditation, and Altered States using guided meditations, hypnosis and self hypnosis, as well as Buddhist and Shamanic practices to access subconscious/non-conscious resources and non-ordinary reality.  These techniques are regularly used around the world for healing, relaxation, metaphysical, and spiritual purposes.

Each week, participants will be led through a couple of guided experiences, and as well as receive background and supplemental information about the techniques used.  Class material will build on previous classes, so regular attendance will enhance each exploration.  No previous experience in these topics is required, but an open mind, an inquisitive nature, and child-like curiosity will produce the best results.

The instructor, Zac Bailey, is trained as a hypnotherapist and shamanic practitioner and has been working with individuals, groups, and the land, in Europe, Asia, and North America for almost two decades.

Witches and Pagans Symposium Saturday, May 2

Sage Programs

The SAGE programs are designed to address issues and concerns of people as they grow older. Anyone is welcome to attend (not just ‘seniors’).

Sage Bookgroup
2nd & 4th Tuesdays, 10:30 am Mary Safford

The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler

A reassuring and thoroughly researched guide to maintaining a high quality of life—from resilient old age to the first inklings of a serious illness to the final breath—by the New York Times bestselling author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Join us for lively, thoughtful discussions.

Saging Seminars
On one Thursday a month starting October 10 @ 1:15 pm

Topic vary widely. The following programs are scheduled:

  • Aging and the Law: January 9, 2020
    In this lively session with Harvey Harrison, we will explore a number of important questions around the theme of aging and the law. The questions we will explore:In health care decision making, what does it mean to make informed decisions? What are my rights to approve or refuse life-sustaining procedures? How does making decisions in advance free me up? What is asked of substitute decision-makers in healthcare if I cannot decide? How do I go about establishing a durable power of attorney (POA) arrangement? Can I combine POA with a living will to give directions to my “attorney in fact” and my healthcare providers? How do I make sure my wishes are followed in end of life care? Why is a discussion with all family members important to make sure my living will is followed? How important is my will? How do I help my executor in following the will? Do I need a trust in combination with my will? How do we prevent abuse of dependent adults? What are the signs of elder abuse? What should I do?

    Do you have concerns about your balance?  Do you want to do some gentle exercise to improve your strength? Are you stressed and want an easy way to focus your breath and relax?  If you answered yes to any of these questions , please join us for a lesson in tai chi.  Dr. Kathy Mercuris, PT, DHS from Des Moines University will be presenting a session on March 12 at 1:00.  We will practice a tai chi lesson and complete the 12 forms of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention.  Wear comfortable shoes. If you have difficulty standing- no worries- we can do seated tai chi too!