Personal and Spiritual Exploration for Adults, August 2019

Personal and Spiritual Exploration for Adults logo

Learning and exploration are about the transformation of the individual, our community, and the larger society. Participation helps us grow in wisdom, compassion, and ethical living. See our upcoming activities, programs, and workshops for adults.

To contact the facilitator in regards to any offering, you may email with the title of the group in the subject line. Your email will be forwarded.

Community Building Through Personal Development:

Collage Group with Stan Bemis Saturday, August 10

Do you wish to express yourself creatively in art, and yet may feel inadequate or untrained? Do you yearn to make an artistic statement, yet not sure how? Do you have too many catalogs, magazines, and advertisements, and haven’t a clue what to do with them? We welcome you to create your own collages with Stan Bemis! Stan works to bring joy and peace into people’s lives through creating art. He has taught many who didn’t realize they had creative talent, from all across the world – from California to Palestine/Israel. He welcomes any age, from youths to older adults. The goal of this group is to help foster personal worth and empowerment, entering that holy place within and having sacred fun. The objectives are: 1. to create works of art; and 2. to possibly create cards for events or celebrations. We encourage you to bring your old magazines to work with as well. We will meet from 10:00-12:00 pm in the NE Cottage. Contacts: Stan Bemis or Sarah Robson.

Conversations and Connections NO MEETING FOR AUGUST. The next meeting is scheduled for September 21. Information about the September meeting will be available prior to that date.

Our guiding intention is to provide structure and opportunities for meaningful connections between individuals in our congregation. We will break into groups of 2, offering an opportunity for one-to-one conversations with 3 different people during our time together. It isn’t necessary to have attended previous Conversations and Connections gatherings. All are invited. Contacts:  Sue Stoyanoff or Bettye Barclay.

Gentle Yoga Mondays August 5, 12, 19, 26

We will explore traditional yoga poses in a safe, compassionate, non-competitive environment that is welcoming to all who are able to get up and down from a yoga mat.  We will be working on traditional yoga poses with a focus on creating a safe, effective, compassionate, non-competitive environment that is welcoming to all.  We will work on strength, flexibility, restorative poses and deep relaxation. Some equipment is required, including a yoga mat, 2 blankets, and a strap, and several other suggestions – see the calendar page linked above. Mary Lee Olsen has a 500 hour certificate as a yoga teacher.  She will be offering this weekly yoga class beginning Monday, August 5 and continuing through Monday, September 9, from 6:00-7:00 pm in Forbes Hall, except for Labor Day. Preregistration is necessary. For more information or to register, drop by the Adult RE table on Sunday or email Mary Lee through


Exploration of Ideas:

“The Hate U Give” Book Discussion, August 14

Please join us to discuss Angie Thomas’ award-winning debut novel The Hate U Give, which depicts the efforts of 16-year old Starr Carter to cope with personal and societal upheaval in the aftermath of the police shooting of a friend. Issues of identity, including race, class and age, and the values of community, loyalty and  integrity, are all implicated in this 2019 selection for Santa Monica Public Library’s Santa Monica Reads. While this offering is directed to adult participants, it is equally appropriate for mature teenagers, who are very welcome. Learning objectives include: Enjoy reading a good book, have fun together in a relaxed, inter-generational setting, voice our own perspectives and actively listen to differing opinions, grow community, appreciate the American experience through the lens of a Black teenaged girl, enhance our awareness of systemic oppression, and consider our obligations as UU’s in the struggle for justice. The class, facilitated by Melinda Ewen and Audrey Lyness, will meet in Forbes Hall on Wednesday, August 14, from 7:00-9:00 pm. Books are available for sale at the R.E. Table in Forbes Hall, and please sign up there to attend. For more information, please contact us at, including the book title in the subject line.

AAHS Freethinker Forum Sunday, August 25

AAHS (Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and Secularists) is an open group that meets for lively and engaging discussion on topics of politics, science, religion, and philosophy. We also host occasional guest speakers, films, and outings. We are a home base for non-believers and questioners, but everyone is welcome. For many, atheism/agnosticism is a first step; Humanism is the thousand steps that come after. We’ll meet 12:00-1:00 pm in the Warren Matthews Conference Room Contact: James Witker.

Science Non-Fiction Book Discussion Tuesday, August 20

Science Non-Fiction Book Group: We will discuss Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, by E. O. Wilson. In order to save biodiversity and the human species, Wilson proposes setting aside half the Earth. Is that doable? A preeminent biologist and naturalist, Wilson makes the case for trying. All are welcome. We will meet from 7:30–9:00 pm in Forbes. Contact: Rebecca Crawford.


Interest Groups:

Discussion and Support for Persons with Disabilities Sunday, August 25

The Disability Support Group will be promoting a dialogue on a selected topic at each of its meetings throughout this church year. All church members interested in the topic are invited to attend. For August, the topic of discussion is “Money Management and Budgeting.” We meet on the fourth Sunday of each month from 11:30–1:00 pm in the NE Cottage. Contact: Michael Young.

UU Men’s Group Thursdays, August 1, August 15

The Men’s Group offers a special opportunity to the men of the congregation and other like minded men to join our welcoming group in provocative and stimulating discussion and to get to know others with UU perspectives in a more meaningful way. We meet the first and third Thursdays of the month. The topic for August 1 is:  We are told that accumulating material things is not the route to happiness.  Do you agree?  Should happiness be the goal in life?  The topic for August 15 is:  “Atoms are not… things,” Werner Heisenberg.  Is that true, and if so, what is everything else, including us, based upon that fundamental basis of all chemical structure?  7:30 PM in the NE room of the Cottage. Contact: Richard Mathias.


An Enjoyable Dive into Who and What We Are Mondays, August 5, August 19

This ongoing class helps participants master specific meditation skills. We endeavor to answer the questions Who am I? (attitudes and beliefs) and What am I? (essence or true nature). This class will include meditations that explore participants’ spiritual goals. The monthly group meetings also focus on insights gained throughout the month. It is expected that participants will develop and enjoy a regular meditation practice. This group meets on the first and third Mondays from 7:30-9:00 pm in Forbes Classroom 3. Contact: Bill Blake.

Open Meditation Mondays, August 12, August 26

We gather twice a month to sit together quietly for 20 minutes, to walk with gentle awareness for seven minutes, and to explore the integration of meditation with ordinary life through reading and sharing. Anyone who senses they would benefit from 20 minutes of silent, non-guided sitting is welcome to join us. We have found that this time of quiet meditation and shared exploration can be deeply nourishing – a time of simply “being” amidst all the “doing” of our lives. We meet on the second, fourth, and fifth Mondays from 7:30-9:15 pm in Forbes. Contacts: Bev Shoenberger or Carol Ring.

Highlights of additional interest groups meeting in August:

  • Knitters and Friends On hiatus until September 22, 2019, when we return to two services. Contact: Linda Van Ligten.
  • Body-Mind Tune Up for Seniors This group is for seniors, superseniors, and people with physical difficulties.  Now on a new day of the week!  Each Saturday from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm in Forbes Hall. Contact: Bruno Lacombe. Note: Free for church members, $10 suggested donation for nonmembers.

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