Lifespan Religious Exploration News

Jan 2020

Personal and Spiritual Exploration for Adults, January 2020

Learning and exploration are about the transformation of the individual, our community, and the larger society. Participation helps us grow in wisdom, compassion, and ethical living. See our upcoming activities, programs, and workshops for adults.
To contact the facilitator in regard to any offering, you may email with the title of the group in the subject line. Your email will be forwarded.

Special Offerings for January

The Diamond Approach offers an immense and precise body of knowledge about the nature of reality and the process of spiritual realization. Many levels of engagement with this approach are available ranging from online courses to three day retreats. Vince Draddy will give us an introduction to this approach along with a Q&A session. From 4-6 pm in the Sanctuary, with a reception in Forbes from 6:30-8 pm. Parking available at the lot at Arizona and 16th.  Contact: Mark Berlin.
How to be an Antiracist Sundays, January 19 and 26, or Thursdays, January 23 and 30
Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America — but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. In his memoir, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science — including the story of his own awakening to antiracism — bringing it all together in a cogent, accessible form. He begins by helping us rethink our most deeply held, if implicit, beliefs and our most intimate personal relationships (including beliefs about race and IQ and interracial social relations) and reexamines the policies and larger social arrangements we support. How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society. Part 1: Sunday, January 19, 3-5 pm (Forbes) or Thursday, January 23, 7-9 pm (Warren Mathews Conference Room); Part 2: Sunday, January 26, 3-5 pm (Forbes) or Thursday, January 30, 7-9 pm (Warren Mathews Conference Room). Sponsored by Faith In Action: Peace & Social Justice Committee. Contact: James Witker.

Community Building Through Personal Development:

Collage Group with Stan Bemis Saturday, January 11
Do you wish to express yourself creatively in art, and yet may feel inadequate or untrained? Do you yearn to make an artistic statement, yet not sure how? Do you have too many catalogs, magazines, and advertisements, and haven’t a clue what to do with them? We welcome you to create your own collages with Stan Bemis! Stan works to bring joy and peace into people’s lives by creating art. The goal of this group is to help foster personal worth and empowerment, entering that holy place within and having sacred fun. We encourage you to bring your old magazines to work with as well. We will meet from 10 am-12 noon in the NE Cottage. Contacts: Stan Bemis or Sarah Robson.
They say that dancing is combining fun with exercise and friends. Learn international folk dancing with instructors Sandy Helperin and Teri Hoffman. Folk dancing is for anyone who loves to move to traditional music. New dancers are welcome – there are no partners required. Donations accepted. We are meeting from 7-8:30 pm in Forbes Hall. Enter through the Arizona entrance. Contact: Ellen Levy.

Exploration of Ideas:

AAHS Freethinker Forum Sunday, January 26
AAHS (Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and Secularists) is an open group that meets for a lively and engaging discussion on topics of politics, science, religion, and philosophy. We also host occasional guest speakers, films, and outings. We are a home base for non-believers and questioners, but everyone is welcome. For many, atheism/agnosticism is a first step; Humanism is the thousand steps that come after. We’ll meet one hour after the service in the Warren Mathews Conference Room. Contact: James Witker.
We will discuss Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson quickly gives us just what we need to be fluent for the next cosmic headline. We meet from 7:30-9 pm in Forbes Hall. Contact: Rebecca Crawford.

Interest Groups:

The Disability Support Group will be promoting a dialogue on the topic, Seasonal Affective Disorders. We meet on the fourth Sunday of each month a half hour after the service in the SE Cottage. Contact: Michael Young.
Parents’ Group Sunday, January 26
Come join to discuss the joys and challenges of parenting in a group setting! Childcare will be provided. We meet from 11:30 am-1 pm in the NW Cottage. Contact: Chris Brown.
UU Men’s Group Thursdays, January 2, 16
The Men’s Group offers a special opportunity to the men of the congregation and other like-minded men to join our welcoming group with provocative and stimulating discussion and to get to know others with UU perspectives in a more meaningful way. The topic for Thursday, January 2 is:  What New Year’s resolution would you like to achieve – and/or what reflection on the New Year, or the one just passed do you have?  The topic for Thursday, January 16 is:  Which of the cities, towns or neighborhoods you have lived in is your favorite, and why?
We meet the first and third Thursdays of the month from 7:30-9 pm in the NE Cottage. For more information contact Richard Mathias.


Bill Blake will present an enjoyable dive into the “who and what” we are. This on-going, twice a month class on the 1st and 3rd Monday is presented to help participants master specific meditation skills. We endeavor to answer the questions Who am I? (attitudes and beliefs) and What am I? (essence or true nature). This class will include meditations that explore participants’ spiritual goals. The monthly group meetings will also focus on insights gained throughout the month. It is expected that participants will develop and enjoy a regular meditation practice. The class meets in Forbes Classroom 3 from 7:30-9 pm. Contact: Bill Blake.
Open Meditation Mondays, January 13, 27
We gather twice a month to sit together quietly for 20 minutes, to walk with gentle awareness for seven minutes, and to explore the integration of meditation with ordinary life through reading and sharing. Anyone who senses they would benefit from 20 minutes of silent, non-guided sitting is welcome to join us. We have found that this time of quiet meditation and shared exploration can be deeply nourishing – a time of simply “being” amidst all the “doing” of our lives. We meet in Forbes Hall, from 7:30-9:15 pm. Contacts: Bev Shoenberger or Carol Ring.

Highlights of additional interest groups meeting in January

  • Knitters and Friends NOTE: on hiatus until further notice. If interested, contact: Linda Van Ligten.
  • Body-Mind Tune Up for Seniors This group is for seniors, superseniors, and people with physical difficulties. Each Saturday from 12:30-1:30 pm in the Warren Mathews Conference Room. Contact: Bruno Lacombe. Note: Free for church members, $10 suggested donation for nonmembers.

Brave Spaces: Mindful Social Practice and Authentic Allyship

Please join the Healthy Congregation Council in welcoming Jeremy Arnold, son of Board member Abby Arnold, to our church for a workshop on the topic of Microaggressions. Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D., defines these as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership.” The persons making the comments may be otherwise well-intentioned and unaware of the potential impact of their words. Jeremy will share tools for navigating fraught conversations, around marginalization, and maintaining positive relationships with fellow community members.
Jeremy, who was raised in our church, is currently Program Director at Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), an interfaith worker-justice nonprofit. At Tulane University, he studied critical perspectives including Critical Race Theory, Feminist Studies, Queer Theory, Marxist Analysis, New Media Theory, and New Historicism, and was the Community Outreach Director for the Tulane chapter of Amnesty International. Throughout his time in college, he worked in the restaurant and bar industry as well as with the local hotel workers’ union, Unite Here Local 23. In his role at CLUE, he supervises a team of community organizers who educate, organize, and mobilize religious communities to support workers and immigrants in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
We will meet on Sunday, February 2 at noon in the Warren Mathews Conference Center. For further information, please contact