Honoring Life & Death through learning, art, and racial justice…

This month we explore “Honoring Life and Death” as our ministry theme. Through worship, social justice, and faith development you will find various ways to personally reflect on how we choose to honor both life and death.

Our learning opportunities this month, offered in more detail below, provide a broad experience from talking about death, blessing our beloved animals, to exploring a creative meditative practice to help us prepare to be fully present in our lives, and also entering into how we value the lives of others as we introduce the Racial Justice exploration, Building the World We Dream About.

On Saturday, October 1st, we introduce the first of the Workshops for our Well Being series; a collection of intensive one-day gatherings that focuses on exploring topics that exercise ways to come together and foster healthy boundaries. What better way to strengthen advocacy for ourselves and others by building upon our growing edges.

This coming workshop, Facing Death in Life, allows participants time for personal reflection, learning, and spiritual growth focused on the topic of death and dying. It brings death, dying, and grief into the light of our daily lives and out of the dark, macabre recesses to which we often relegate it. This gathering is not a grief support, nor intellectual study of death, yet offers time for reflection, and personal and shared narrative. Child Care is provided, lunch is included, registration is required. Please register here.
On Sunday, October 2nd we come together in our multigenerational community to celebrate the beloved animals. The Blessing of the Animals is a beautiful tradition that lifts the wonderful value and impact that all earth’s creatures have in our lives. All ages are invited to bring their leashed or crated,well-behaved pet, or share a picture as Reverend Rachel Baker offers a blessing to them all inside our sanctuary.
On Saturday, October 8th from 2-4pm, we kick-off our creative exploration series, Let It Shine with a Coloring Party!! Let It Shine offers all ages and all skill levels an opportunity to take part in the spiritual practice of creativity. We all are creative beings, but often let our own fear and frustration get in the way of just enjoying the process and letting go of the outcome. We look forward to introducing a fun and rewarding experience that engages both child-like curiosity and discipline. Our coloring party offers a diverse selection of color pages for all skill and detailed levels with a variety of coloring instruments. Finding the right coloring tool is all part of the process. Free and all are welcome.
Throughout the month, there are a number of community events both at UUCLV and within the city to allow you to celebrate diversity. Pagan Pride Day takes place at UUCLV on Saturday, October 15th offering booths, activities, and presentations about earth centered spirituality. Also, the LGBTQIA celebration with Gay Pride the following week has UUCLV joining in on the parade Downtown and tabling at the festival events beginning on Friday, October 21st. Look for more information on these important events and how to get involved.
At the end of our month we will be offering previews to our upcoming Racial Justice Exploration program, Building the World We Dream About. Our engaged facilitator team is focused on offering you an introduction to what this exploration is all about. Three previews are scheduled for Thursday, October 20th from 6-7:30pm, and Sunday, October 23 from 12-1:30pm, and another on Thursday, October 27th from 6 – 7:30pm. We invite you to get a glimpse into the work that we want you to be a part of by introducing some of the activities and exercises that you will experience through the journey. This is important work that we truly hope you’ll consider.
The program officially begins Thursday, November 3rd with the first part of the series; The Spiritual Practice of Racial Justice, continuing for three sessions through November 17th, meeting each Thursday, 6-8pm, and then reconvening for a set in December, January, and February. Full schedule here.
So many opportunities to explore, both intentional and organic. We hope that you will take the time for your own reflection as well as the practice of listening and engaging in those conversations about death and life, that bring both joy and sorrow.

Building a Team:Building a World We Dream About

This Sunday we are seeking those that are calleWe Need (1).jpgd to Racial Justice work. This year the Life
span Faith Development program is committed to building up programming for all ages that includes the transformational work required of us to become an “anti-racist, multicultural faith community.” This work asks us to begin with ourselves, as individuals, as a congregation, and as a member of the diverse communities of which we are a part.

A large portion of our adult programming consists of the Unitarian Universalist Association, Tapestry of Faith series, Building the World We Dream About.

The program is intended to…

  • Promote multicultural welcome, inclusion, and affirmation in all facets of Unitarian Universalist congregation life.
  • Develop participants’ knowledge and skills in addressing issues related to race, ethnicity, and cultural identity both individually and institutionally
  • Identify ways congregations can build multiracial/multicultural communities of love and justice
  • Transform how participants see their individual selves, their congregation, their community and our world through the lens of race and ethnicity.

This is extensive programming that requires a commitment from both participant and leader. At this time we are seeking individuals that feel called to racial justice work, and have certain strengths and skills that would be especially effective more as a leader than as a participant. We are looking to build a team of facilitators to best share in the work of carrying out 24 2-hour workshops. The established team will also be responsible to work out the details of the frequency of the workshops, adapting material if necessary, and being a support to one another through the journey. Additional facilitator support, resources, and needed guidance will be offered by Danielle Bell, the Director of Lifespan Faith Development and Reverend Rachel Baker.

Please join us this Sunday after the service at 12pm in the Northwest Lifespan Faith Development learning area to hear about the program details and structure, look at workshop samples, and take part in a self-assessment to help you determine your strengths and areas of growth before entering this work. 

If you have any questions, are interested but unable to attend, please contact Danielle Bell, Director of Lifespan Faith Development at faithdevelopment@uuclv.org


Youth Group Ministry: THE OVERNIGHT

yruu sleep-in gathering 2016Before our Lifespan Faith Development 2016-2017 Church Year programming kicks-off on September 18th, we are excited to invite our high school youth to The Overnight, our Youth Group in-gathering. The Overnight is scheduled for Friday, September 9th-10th.

Each year we gather our families with youth in grades 9th – 12th to introduce them to our Young Religious Unitarian Universalist (YRUU) programming. Our families will enjoy some time getting to know one another as we open the evening with a potluck and some fun conversation starters at 5:30pm. Parents and guardians will hear about what we expect their role to be in our programming, as well as answering any questions that they may have.

After we say goodnight to our parents and guardians at 7:30pm, that’s when the real youth group experience begins.

An evening of fun and games, and work and progress. We’ll encourage our youth to share their ideas, needs, and wants when it comes to being in community. We will look forward to taking time with them in how to envision, plan, and take action with their determined goals.  We will support them as we hear their thoughts on how to build relationships within the many aspects of congregational life; worship, leadership, learning, community, social justice, and stewardship.

We’ll also have a great part of the evening planned for movie watching, the fabulous pictorial treasure hunt, midnight worship, and whatever the evening may bring us. Oh, and we must not forget the groggy breakfast in the morning and pick-up at 10am on Saturday.

Our Youth Advisor Team is made up of adult members and friends of the congregation who bring a strong sense of self-awareness and spiritual practice so that they can be their most present and best selves for this amazing group. They are skilled in listening, and nurturing healthy boundaries, and most of all willing to step-in to whatever role may be defined for them as they empower the youth to lead.

Here is the downloadable flyer and permission slip for the event.

If you have any questions about our programming or schedule for YRUU, please contact Danielle Bell at faithdevelopment@uuclv.org


Card Making at Let It Shine

Join us for another of our Let It Shine events this Saturday, May 14th (2pm to 4pm)! Join us as Erin Mara shares her creative self and leads us in her One Sheet Wonder card making session. Handmade cards can be a gift in itself. As the school year, and church year begin its swift wrap-up, this is a great opportunity to show gratitude or support to those around you. Even making cards now to save for later is a helpful tip for our busy selves. Bring your calendar or occasion book, who are you looking forward to celebrate. Perhaps it is even you?

Fun for all ages and stages. Bring a friend! If you have your own stash of favorite papers and supplies, feel free to bring them along.

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Playing with Rocks at April’s Let It Shine

Join us on April 9th for another creative exploration at our monthly Let It Shine series. The 2nd Saturday of each month we seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth through creative play and exploration.

It has been wonderful fun so far this year and we hope that we can continue this effort for another year, trying out your new ideas , building on our facilitator team, and inviting different creative expressions. Look ahead for a submission form to sign-up for your month!

In April we provide you with a fun and engaging experience we are calling “Pebble Mapping”. Thinking of our theme, Connecting to the Earth, we are inviting you to explore rocks through a Reggio inspired provocation.
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First we’ll start with a guided contemplation meditation with rocks, and then we’ll work through the steps to create your own personal set of “pebble maps”. This is easy to follow instruction that will lead to endless possibilities.


Hindsight, Humor, and Hope: Who, me, an elder? Adult Tapestry of Faith Program at UUCLV

Our LFD program is looking forward to presenting this wonderful learning opportunity provided through the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Tapestry of Faith lifespan curricula series, Hindsight, Humor, and Hope: Who, me, and Elder?

In reading author, Karin Peterson’s, preface to this curriculum, you can immediately get a clear understanding of her journey towards a strong sense of self as she came into her elder years. A now retired Unitarian Universalist minister, Karin Peterson provides us, with much care and insight, a six workshop series curriculum for older adults (55+) that invites participants to develop “a deeper understanding and appreciation of their elder stage of life and the path they traveled to reach it.”

We cherish our multigenerational community and efforts. We rely on the support of those from all-ages to take part in building relationships over generations. Yet, as the Hindsight series points out, sometimes after age sixty, individuals are faced with new challenges whether it be contemplating or adjusting to retirement, caring for parents, assessing commitments and new life experiences.

Hindsight focuses on the ways to live this stage of life with meaning and intention, as a commitment to caring for oneself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  We know our community grows from the wisdom, experience and skills that only senior years can bring.We feel it is important for our programming lens to nurture the needs of all of those in our community which includes steps towards fostering more opportunities to our older adults.

The workshop will happen on Thursdays from 10am to 12pm,

from April 14th to May 19th.

We have a team of facilitators that will share in leading the six sessions, including Rev. Rachel Baker, Danielle Bell (Director of Lifespan Faith Development) and lay leaders Terri Boling, Mark Hutcherson, and Binnie Wilkin.

Each session, participants will gather with tea/coffee and snacks for their welcoming and entering time. They will be guided through a variety of activities that offer conversation, reflection, creative expression, and spiritual journaling (which comes in many forms other than just writing).

Workshop 1: Elderhood-A Work In Progress

Workshop 2: Solitude and Connection – The Stuff of Life

Workshop 3: Diving through the Layers – The Fabric of My Life

Workshop 4: Creating New Visions – Building on Experience

Workshop 5: Making Friends wiht Mortality

Workshop 6: Hindsight, Humor, and Hope

Registration is open and available hereHHH. This is a free offering.

Leadership…Come and Get It!

CLO-Leadership You Got ThisThe next Community Learning Opportunity; Workshops for our Well Being is scheduled forApril 2nd (10am to 4pm). These workshops encourage us to explore and exercise ways to come together and nurture healthy boundaries in our congregation and culture. We look to deeper practices that can continue to provide a safe, healthy, and inspiring space for our mind, body, and spirit.

This upcoming workshop is an intensive, one-day workshop aimed to provide you with new views, tools, and purpose around leadership. Leadership development goes hand in hand with faith development as we learn to navigate through a time of rapid cultural change, both inside and outside of our communities. Serving as allies and advocates for causes that are important to us require a broad range of skills, both technical and visionary.

Our goal is for you to come away with a new perspective on some of your most pressing challenges, help you create a fresh exchange of ideas between peers, and also to encourage you to think bigger and more creatively as challenges and opportunity come your way.  And most importantly, learning something new is a positive effort towards personal and spiritual enrichment.

Register here!


Let your stories shine!

We all love hearing a well told story! It can be riveting and riotous, calming and curious, inspiring and aspiring! Often we shy away from our stories, not realizing how healing or empowering the telling can be. We also underestimate the power of our own stories with how impactful they can to another person’s journey. At this Let It Shine, February 13th from 2-4pm, we gather to embrace the opportunity to craft our story. Engaged UUCLV member and engaging story teller, Hilary Howarth invites us to explore the art of storytelling through some creatively motivating exercises.  This event is all-ages yet child care is also provided.


Deep sharing can come from even the youngest of us.

2015-12-20 10.56.30.jpgOften we look at our Sunday Session groups with the children as small group ministry. We can have anywhere from two to 15 in a group, so planning ahead can often be tricky. One thing our participants can rely on is that they will have an opportunity each week to be heard. Whatever it is that they have been carrying with them, they have the chance to share and lay it all out on the table.

We’ll always do a check-in. Sometimes funny and silly, often a getting to know you, but mostly a “how are you doing?”. Last Sunday, December 20th, after a beautiful telling about the Yule Log by Jane Feldman, during the Time For All Ages, our young congregants were given a tealight to signify lighting the yule log. We took those back to our learning area and sat down. I allowed the children each to select a glass stone, something that called out “joy” to them.

Then we spoke about sharing our joy with one another, and also sharing our light with those feelings that might need a little brightness. The sharing that took place was sincere and authentic. Each child added their stone and light to the large shell. The sense of “safe” was apparent in the group; sharing fears, anxiety, excitement and curiosities. To witness these experiences with our youngest Unitarian Universalist’s is an honor. They are bright, mindful, caring, and present.

I hope that someday you’ll be willing to spend time with these amazing individuals. They have so much to offer you.

If you’d like to consider what the experience might be like, please never hesitate to contact me. faithdevelopment@uuclv.org

Danielle Bell

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

Let It Shine lights up again January 9th

We are a community that is rich in spirit and excitement, especially when it comes to the creative side of spirituality. Join us this January 9th with a gleam of mystery in B.Y.O.T (build your own tarot). Led by Elaine Edmiston. Elaine is looking forward to helping us craft our own tarot, or oracle card, decks. The deck can be as large or small as you like and as creative or personal as you like. Think about what symbols and messages resonate with you. Perhaps leaf through a traditional deck to get an idea of the format. Cardstock, washi, glue, and tape will be provided. Although we will have a nice lot to choose from,if you plan on joining, please take some time before the event to gather some images that you would like to use. These could be magazine clippings, photos, postcards, etc. Also, think about the messages you would like to correspond to your images, so your deck will be personal to you. And have fun! Let-It-Shine-JanTarot-Flyer