Last year, the UUSM Board of Directors authorized our Intersectional Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Commission to begin laying the foundation for us to more effectively engage with this critical work. Our first programmatic offering was Beloved Conversations. This faith-formation, anti-racism program offered by the Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, Meadville Lombard Theological School, included more than 1,200 virtual learners in the first phase last fall. This spring over 20 from our congregation participated with UUs from across the country!
Participants meet online monthly for large group worship and discussion — with lessons published every two weeks — as well as in biweekly small-group check-ins. In the program’s current phase, “Within,” we engage with a personal exploration of race and our work for racial justice. In Beloved Conversations, we are here to heal the impact of racism on our lives.
A new session is starting online September 21, “Meditations on Race and Ethnicity.” About the spring session, our own Cheryl Barnett commented: “… as I read, listened, sang through the lessons, I felt challenged to think about my ancestors, my growing up with white privilege/heritage, and to first reflect on my life experiences as I worked through the program.” Larry Weiner said simply, “Loved it.”
Cheryl added: “The entire program is separated into two groups: White Folks and People of Color, letting the primary message of racism percolate personally without that inner or outer critique. By offering care to ‘move at the speed of trust,’ my own stories have no less meaning, rather they allowed me to move towards increased clarity on how I got to this place of privilege with my own White Supremacy. I felt no triggers to accept personal blame from the variety of lessons, rather an ever-increased awareness of the myriad of ramifications that race now has/had on my life as well of those persons of color in America. The phrase most clearly defining this is: ‘through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us.'”
Rev. Jeremiah is again encouraging us to participate in this experience of connection and spiritual development. Scholarship funds are available. If you are registering now, or have done so already, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Beloved Conversations); add a note to request funding. Folks need to register on their own at the Meadville website; we do not handle the registrations but will just keep track of those who register and notify her.
Here’s your invitation, with links for details and signing up.
Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity
Fall Registration extended to September 14th!
So much has shifted in our wider world over the last couple of months. We know this has thrown off all kinds of plans and leaves many of us in a place of uncertainty. When we set our program deadlines, we had no idea what the state of the world, our lives, or our hearts would be.
In recognition that many of us need some extra time for discernment and planning, we have extended the deadline by 2 weeks. Please join us by registering and/or applying by September 14th for our Within program. See below for more details and head to our website to learn more!
Fall Term Within Registration: June 22nd- September 14, 2021 visit: www.meadville.edu/beloved
Fall Term Within Begins: September 21st, 2021
Fall Term Within Ends: Mid-December, 2021
Cost: $250 USD per person (lay folks and religious professionals). White folks and anyone with economic privileges/ample professional expenses will be encouraged to pay more. Full and partial scholarships will be generous and easily accessible.
*No one will be turned away for a lack of funds. Please email JeKaren at email@example.com to request a full or half scholarship.
If you have completed at least one term of Within, check out this ongoing learning opportunity with Beloved Conversations Virtual!
Within+: Exploration Stations Launching Fall 2021, for individuals who have completed at least one term of Within
Finished with Within and ready for more? Join one of these play stations for your soul and engage in deep and creative ways, focused on one topic, as it intersects with issues of race and racism. Each Station will:
- Serve Faith Development
- Include Fun
- Be a space for spiritual growth, deepening, and practice
- Address multiple learning/gleaning styles
- Feel flexible/ emergent
- Encourage celebration
- Be a space for the broken-hearted
- Focus on personal work
We will be adding additional Exploration Stations over time, but in the Fall of 2021, we expect to launch Stations focused on:
Registration Opens October 1, 2021 and will be ongoing. Participants will have access to the course materials for 3 months from the date of registration. See our website for more information and pricing for Within+ Exploration Stations.
If you have questions or need assistance with anything related to the program, please email JeKaren Olaoya at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to being together in community!
Jenice, Katie, Kierstin, Mark, Janine, Sarah, CB, Deanna, and Rhonda
Your Beloved Conversations Virtual, Gathering Ourselves Design Team