Come, come, whoever you are!
Welcome to an exciting journey of questioning, challenging, and celebrating life’s mysteries and wonders. For generations, Adult Programs at UU Santa Monica has welcomed seekers, exiles, and interfaith families along with those who have grown up in our own Unitarian Universalist tradition. We are a congregation made up of people who believe in God or a higher power, people who do not, those who are content to live with the mystery, and those who are ever searching for answers to the big questions. Most of all, we are enriched by one another’s life journeys, diverse beliefs, shared progressive values and uniting UU Principles as we learn and explore together.
Our Purpose and Our Guide
At its core, the purpose of our educational ministry is to provide opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to deepen their spiritual lives, and to live with compassion, integrity, and joy as we nurture beloved community and work together for peace and justice in this world. Adult Programs offers classes, discussion groups, and special events on an array of topics relevant to the Six Sources and our congregation’s spiritual life. Some of these may include in-depth study of theology and spirituality, discussion of science writing or Humanist ideas, opportunities to explore music, arts and crafts, or chances to connect socially for fellowship and fun. Many programs are made possible through the time and talent of our members and friends.
Community Building Activities:
NEW OFFERING: Envisioning Meeting for “Women of UUSM (and those who identify as such), Unite!” As we begin to think about how we want to be in community together as we emerge from the pandemic, you are invited to a “Victuals and Visioning” session around women-centered ministry. We’ll share scrumptious salads and take stock of all the ways we’ve been gathering in ministry over the past few years. We’ll also consider how the eight elements of effective ministry figure into current and imagined offerings. This is a “get (re)acquainted gathering and brainstorming session.” Everyone and all ideas are welcome. For more information, please contact Carol Ring through AdultRE@UUSM.org
Introduction to SoulCollage®: An Intuitive Artmaking Process Saturday, May 14
SoulCollage® is a collage art endeavor founded by art therapist Seena B. Frost, MA, MDiv, in which the participants create a personal deck of cards. The method of creating cards develops one’s creativity, encourages self-discovery, and provides personal guidance. Using the cards can help access those inner and outer resources in difficult times, access the sacred, strengthen our awareness of our dynamic lives, make decisions mindfully, and help resolve personal or interpersonal conflicts. Community is also very important to the process as we explore our group’s imagery together. People who have done this program before claim that the creation and usage of these self-crafted cards is transformative. This process is being shared across the world, in many languages, and enjoyed by people of all ages, genders, and cultures. So bring your curiosity, your wonder, your wisdom, your imagination and a beginner’s mind to this introductory workshop. This workshop is led by Adrienne Sumpter, who is a trained facilitator for SoulCollage®. This month, we will concentrate on Community Cards – significant people in our life journeys. Please gather and bring pictures of friends, family, and important people in your life. We will meet in person in the cottage from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. If you are new to the process, we ask that you come 15 minutes ahead of schedule. It is okay to attend only one workshop. Please note that there is a 10-person maximum for groups held in the cottage. All participants need to send proof of vaccination to the office, and people need to stay masked at all times. Regardless of past attendance, please sign up ahead of time so we can maximize the 10-person participation. Contact: AdultRE@uusm.org
Nature Journaling Sunday, May 22
Celebrate spring by spending time with flowers in this nature journaling and drawing class! We will be learning about, thinking about, and observing flowers. Flowers have tremendous diversity and are fascinating to look at closely. We will do a little botany, some drawing, and some writing. You are very welcome to join even if you have no knowledge of flowers, drawing or writing. All you need are paper and pencil and a flower to observe. Your experience will be enhanced if you also have a magnifying glass and colored pencils or other tools to draw in color but these are not necessary. We will meet from 2:30 – 4:00 pm. A lifelong lover of the outdoors, Dorothy has more than twenty years experience encouraging people to a love for the natural world. She leads hikes for children and adults in Topanga Canyon, Ballona Wetlands and Dockweiller State Beach. To reach Dorothy for the Zoom link, contact AdultRE@uusm.org.
Exploration of Ideas:
Science Non-Fiction Book Group Tuesday, May 17
We will discuss “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art,” by James Nestor. An Apple watch has us doing motivational breathing. Before we react to a situation, we are supposed to breathe. Proper breathing is supposed to help all manner of ills. What is the science behind it? To receive the link, you will want to be on the group email list. Contact: Rebecca Crawford, firstname.lastname@example.org. We meet from 7:30 – 9:00 pm. All are welcome.
UU Men’s Group Thursday May 5, Saturday May 21
The Men’s Discussion Group provides a special opportunity to the men of the congregation and other like-minded men to join in thoughtful and stimulating discussion and meet others with UU perspectives. We will hold the first meeting of May via Zoom on Thursday the 5th at 7:30 pm and our second meeting of May on Saturday the 21st at 1:30 pm under the outdoor pavilion on the grounds of UUSM. The discussion topics will be:
- 5/5/22: What was the worst date you ever had? Reflecting on the role you might have played in this disappointment or disaster, what might you have done differently?
- 5/21/22: How has formal education changed during your lifetime, from elementary school through college? In what ways do you believe that education should be improved?
To request more information or to join us, please ask the church office for information about how to contact Jim Rheinwald or Richard Mathias through the Adult RE Committee email, AdultRE@UUSM.org.
NEW OFFERING: Fostering an Undefended Heart – Morning Meditation and Check-in Weekdays
Join in a weekday morning meditation and check-in session on Zoom May 9-20 and May 30-June 10. We’re following along with Insight Timer’s Karen Anderson as she leads a course on Fostering an Undefended Heart. It’s a 30-day course, and we are in days 11-20, but you will benefit from even one day of participation.
As Karen Anderson says, “Many of us wait for conditions to bring about enjoyable emotions such as love or peace. But wisdom traditions teach that we can in fact practice cultivating these states, as they are at the core of our true nature but often get obscured by fear and confusion. This course invites you on a profound exploration of daily ‘heart practices,’ drawn from various traditions, to comprehensively promote positive emotional states. These pro-social attitudes–called the ‘abode of the gods’–include loving-kindness (founded on forgiveness), compassion, joy, and equanimity.” Although you may want to complete this course, it is recommended to repeat a given heart practice until it takes root in your heart and mind.
For these brief 30 minute sessions, we will sign on at 9 am, settle in for a brief lesson and meditation, and close by a 10 minute checking in and sharing what’s on your heart and mind as you launch your day. Contact AdultRE@uusm.org for further information.
Open Meditation Mondays, May 9, 23, 30
We gather and listen to brief readings, sit together quietly for twenty minutes, journal and share with each other what’s on our hearts. We explore the integration of meditation with ordinary life through reading and sharing. This is a non-guided, quiet meditation that may be deeply nourishing. A time to simply “be” amidst all the “doing,” calling off the struggle to become other than we are. We meet every 2nd, 4th, and if possible 5th Monday evening, from 7:30 – 9:00 pm. Contact Bev Shoenberger through email@example.com
Open Meditation: Wellsprings All Wednesdays and Fridays
Taking time for quiet meditation and sharing in the intimacy of having sat in silence together can help sustain and ground us during these difficult days. We trust each of you will use this group in the way that fits your needs. We listen to brief readings, sit together quietly for twenty minutes, journal, and share with each other what’s on our hearts. We simply sit together in our shared humanity. We call off the struggle to become other than we are. These are drop-in groups. You are welcome to join us when it feels right to you. If you come in late or need to leave early, just do so quietly. We meet every Wednesday and Friday afternoon from 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm online. Contact Bev Shoenberger through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reminders for Closed Groups:
Writing For Discernment with Bettye Barclay will meet on Wednesday May 11.