Add innovation to Sunday worship

From August’s InterConnections feature story, now online at UUA.org:

Is it worth the risk to try something new on Sunday morning?

Absolutely, says the Rev. Erika Hewitt. So do the Rev. Mark Belletini and the Rev. Wayne Arnason. Hewitt, Belletini, and Arnason shared worship experiences at two workshops at General Assembly 2010 in June, and InterConnections. All three talked about ways to introduce change to worship to bring it more depth and meaning.

For starters, it’s important to do rituals properly, says Belletini, minister of the First Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church of Columbus, Ohio. Take the annual water service, which will be coming up this fall in many congregations. How do you make it meaningful when it can easily veer off into “Look where we went”?

Go to the full article.

‘What Moves Us’ adult curriculum ready

A new adult curriculum, “What Moves Us: Unitarian Universalist Theology,” by the Rev. Dr. Thandeka, is available online through the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Lifespan Faith Development staff group’s Tapestry of Faith program.

The curriculum uses ten 90-minute sessions (expandable to two hours) to explore the life experiences and theological writings of historic and contemporary UU theologians, highlighting those moments that caused them to have a change of heart, a new hope, or a deeper understanding of their faith. What Moves Us invites UUs to engage in their own theological reflections through examining their own experiences.

Theologians included in the What Moves Us curriculum are William Ellery Channing, Hosea Ballou, Margaret Fuller, George deBenneville, Charles Chauncy, James Luther Adams, Sophia Lyon Fahs, Forrest Church, William F. Schulz, and Thandeka. It is being field tested by 12 congregations and cluster groups, but is available for other congregations as well.

Thandeka has taught at Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago, San Francisco State University, Harvard Divinity School, Brandeis University, and others. She is the founder of Affect Theology, which investigates the links between religion and emotions, and the author of several books and articles including Learning to Be White: Money, Race and God in America.

Find out more about What Moves Us here.

‘Harvest the Power’ Curriculum Strengthens Congregational Leaders

Harvest the Power, a new UUA curriculum created to strengthen the skills and confidence of congregational leaders, is available now as part of the Tapestry of Faith series of programs from the Lifespan Faith Development staff group.

Adult Programs Director Gail Forsyth-Vail says Harvest the Power will be useful for summer leadership retreats and other types of gatherings of leaders. “It also offers an intentional pathway for making leadership an opportunity for spiritual growth,” she says.

Harvest the Power is composed of 12 workshops structured in three units of four workshops each. Each unit explores progressively deeper aspects of leadership, beginning with helping leaders explore their own identities, then moving into the purposes of leadership, including how leaders can care for themselves, and finally focusing on learning skills and new ways of thinking which are helpful in leading congregations.

Forsyth-Vail adds, “Harvest the Power is not a program about the mechanics of leadership. It rather invites lay leaders to grow in spirit, in skill, and in confidence as they help congregations navigate changing circumstances. It is designed for maximum flexibility, so that leadership groups might do the entire program, or one of several combinations of three or four workshops, or even a single workshop.”

Harvest the Power, and other Tapestry of Faith curricula, can be found, free of charge, at uua.org/tapestryoffaith.