Adult Spiritual Development in Life Span Education

Edith Hunter, 20th-century Unitarian religious educator, said "Isn't half the job of becoming educated learning to ask the right questions? The philosophy of Unitarian Universalist religious education, especially the concept of lifespan faith development is based upon the search for truth and meaning that goes on throughout our lives. And as UUs, not only are we challenged to undertake that search in our daily experiences, we are called upon to assist and support each other on our individual journeys. The goal of the Spiritual Development, formerly Adult Religious Education, program is to provide experiences and resources that encourage the personal religious development of individuals as members of our congregation and the Unitarian Universalist tradition. We endeavor to do this by offering a variety of activities, discussion groups, workshops and courses designed to further each person's exploration and understanding of Unitarian Universalist history and principles and their application to living in today's world. Broadly, over the course of each year, we try to organize learning opportunities in each of the following areas (adopted and paraphrased from the UUA Tapestry of Faith Programs, as described on the UUA website):

Spiritual Development - Defining and enhancing our relationship with the Spirit of Life, however one understands It; developing a deep, reflective and expressed response to the wonder, joy, and pain of being alive.

Ethical Development - Examining ethical and moral issues that may confront us in our lives; exploring the possibilities and challenges of acting in accordance with the seven principles promoted and affirmed by Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Unitarian Universalist Identity Development - Providing information and opportunities to learn about Unitarian Universalism as a religious tradition, its history and heritage, its identity as a faith community and relationship to other faith communities.

Faith Development - Unitarian Universalist faith development emphasizes each person's religious journey. When we develop in faith, we develop as meaning-makers. Faith is about embracing life's possibilities, growing in our sense of being "at home in the universe."

We believe experience, and shared narratives of those experiences, is the most powerful teacher, so many of our Spiritual Development programs are experiential in nature. And they are interactive, giving us the opportunity to learn from each other, to reflect on life's challenges and gifts and sort through conclusions together.

Some of the programs we are offering (all are open to members and friends):

Popcorn Theology

At 7:00 p.m on the second Thursday of the month, in the cafeteria, unless otherwise announced. These are monthly "main-stream" movies followed by a discussion focusing on issues stimulated by the movie that are relevant to being a UU in today's society. Oh yes, and free popcorn! Come join the entertainment and interesting dialogue!

Trips and Discussion

Occur as announced. These are group outings to places and events of interest to us as Unitarian Universalists. We have taken trips to Walden Pond, the Shaker Village in Canterbury, NH, the UU Arlington Street Church and Kings Chapel in Boston. Each trip includes additional information and/or time for sharing and discussion. Trip planning is ongoing and upcoming events will be announced.

Pathways to Unitarian Universalism

The Spiritual Development Committee works with the minister and other individuals and committees in the congregation to hold introductory workshops throughout the year for potential new members or those interested in learning more about Unitarian Universalism. These are generally held after a Sunday Service, as announced.

Spiritual Development Courses and Workshops

Seminars and workshops are offered at various times during the church year to enhance members’ understanding of Unitarian Universalist history and principles and to foster personal development in their beliefs, spirituality, and practices as Unitarian Universalists. These courses may utilize resources developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and may be led by our interim minister or by one or more lay persons. This winter we are offering, “The New And Not-So-New UU”, a workshop series adapted from a Tapestry of Faith program. Other topics and times to be announced.

In addition to these offerings, there are additional religious and personal development resources available to members that operate outside the regular structure of the Life Span Education program. These include:

The Nashua Buddhist Meditation Group

The Group offers a regular space for UU Church and Nashua community members to practice meditation and study the dharma with longtime practitioners and students of Buddhism. Every Wednesday from 7 – 8 pm, group sitting and walking meditation is practiced in the auditorium. Programming for the group consists of periodic open house book discussions, opportunities for in depth study of Buddhist teachings, and monthly dharma talks given by our teachers, on a rotating basis. Please consult the Church newsletter for current offerings. Information flyers are available in the church office and in the back of the church. See the Nashua Buddhist Meditation Group page for more information.

Karen Fitzpatrick Message to Karen is the Church Liaison and Martha Roberts Message to Martha is the Group Coordinator.

Reiki Drum Circle

The intention of Full Circle Reiki Drum - to broadcast the healing energy and love of Reiki and spirit drum rhythms for the intent and purpose of Universal and community healing.

Once each month, the Reiki Drum group gathers to share Reiki healing and a spiritual meditation journey ending with community spirit drumming. All are welcome to join with us as we journey with healing Reiki energy and powerful percussive rhythms. Participants bring their own percussion instruments to play and share if they wish. All are welcome to participate by taking an active role: calling the directions, offering a meditation, to share a teaching... Reiki practitioners are invited to share in the offering of healing Reiki energy.

All spiritual practice is welcome.

The group facilitators are Anya Zakiewicz Message to Anya and Robin Panousis, both Reiki Master/Teachers and Reiki Drum Master/Teachers.

Covenant Groups

Covenant Groups are based on a model of "small group ministry" that offers members a chance to meet in a gathering of 8-10 people to connect with each other on a more personal level than is possible in other areas of congregational life. There are currently four on-going covenant groups, and plans are underway to offer a covenant group for new members. Contact our Interim minister, Rev. Olivia Holmes Message to Rev. Holmes, for more information.

The Spiritual Development Program is overseen by Chris Parker Message to Chris, the Director of Religious Education, and the Spiritual Development Committee, chaired by Jerry Ross Message to Jerry. The regular meeting time and place is the first Monday of the month at 7:00 in White Wing Room 7. The committee welcomes new members.