Newsletter: October 2014 

Everyone welcome from
all districts!
October 24, 2014
UU Spirituality - a workshop for Religious Professionals with Rev. Jen Crow

October 25, 2014
UU Spirituality - a workshop for congregational leaders and members with Rev. Jen Crow

November 1, 2014
Cultivating Systemic Change in Your Congregation (NNED)

November 7 to 9, 2014
Our Whole Lives - K to 6
Facilitator Training

November 15, 2014
Love as Practice - a workshop with Hilary Allen and Meck Groot

November 15, 2014
Stewardship Saturday - an Arts & Crafts of Ministry offering in Taunton, MA

December 6, 2014
Cracking the Leadership Crisis with Doug Zelinski

January 15, 2015
Renaissance Module on UU History - webinar series begins

January 16 to 18, 2015
Our Whole Lives - 7 to 12
Facilitator Training

January 23 to 25, 2015
Our Whole Lives - 7 to 12
Facilitator Training


January 31, 2015

Youth Ministry in the 2K's 


January 31, 2015 

Master Class: Youth Ministry 

Next Gen



What Do Unitarian Universalists Do?
by Meck Groot
Operations Director and Justice Ministries Lead

Many years ago, I went on a three day silent retreat at Loyola House in Guelph, Ontario. I had never done anything like this before. A good Calvinist in the Christian Reformed tradition, I had no idea who St. Ignatius of Loyola was and had never met a Jesuit.  


But I had read Thomas Merton's Seven Storey Mountain and decided to give silence a try. On this retreat, I read, walked, cried a lot, and shared meals with silent nuns and a robed Franciscan who silently bummed cigarettes from me after meals. Though I didn't talk to anyone for three days, my mind was full of chatter that largely involved the question, "Am I doing this right?"


Unitarian Universalist Resources on Spiritual Practice
A video introduction to the Wellspring Program at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis:


In Writing to Wake the Soul, Rev. Karen Hering blends "writing prompts, meditations, and stories," inviting "you to begin wherever you are and explore and expand your own language of faith."
Rev. Cynthia Landrum doodles chalices as her spiritual practice. Read more about that in the latest issue of UU World.
FEATUREWhat Do Unitarian Universalists Do? - Continued from Top
It was March and I remember staring at an iced-over puddle, fascinated by its patterns. Ditto for a frozen brown Queen Anne's Lace flower. It turns out that fractals give me a spiritual rush.


Since then, my spiritual practices have included singing, writing, reading sacred text, praying, doodling. I still ask, "Am I doing this right?"

The point of spiritual practice is not the WHAT - though some practices work better for some than others. The point is that we have ways to develop a cosmic perspective, to grow our souls, to tap into our hearts, to connect to beauty, mystery and wonder.

Many religious traditions have particular spiritual practices: Buddhists meditate, Benedictines use lectio divina, Hindus chant, Sufis dance.


What do Unitarian Universalists do?


I think sometimes that Unitarian Universalism is too "reasonable" for spiritual practice. Consequently, if

we seek community support for our spiritual practice most UUs have to go outside their congregation. Mostly, we can count on our congregation for soulful worship, engaged justice ministry, religious education for our children and more meetings than we have time for. But what is UU spiritual practice?


And what if our congregations intentionally supported such practice? What difference might that make to the life of our communities? How might we as individuals and as congregations be transformed by the experience?

According to the founders and practitioners of Wellspring, a program rooted in Unitarian Universalism, when congregations support the spiritual practice of their members, both the individuals and the congregation are transformed. 

Individuals are given tools that help them  
  • find their  balance
  • listen deeply
  • clarify a sense of their Unitarian Universalist identity and calling and
  • put their beliefs into action.

This in turn changes congregations. Leadership capacities increase. A sense of connection grows among members. Radical hospitality becomes a new standard. The community finds new ways to live out its collective faith.  


For the folks at Wellspring, a congregationally-based Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice has five spokes:

  • a commitment to daily spiritual practice
  • participation in a small-group community
  • individual work with a spiritual director
  • readings and resources for knowledge and reflection
  • reflection and commitment to live out our values in the world.

If this speaks to your heart's longing or even just your curiosity, consider attending one of two workshops - one for religious professionals and one for lay people - being offered this month by Rev. Jen Crow, a founder of Wellspring. You'll get a chance to practice as well as learn about creating a program in spiritual practice in your own congregation. We hope you can come.