Faith & Renewal
Classes and Other Adult Education Opportunities
The Faith & Renewal Committee encourages the personal, spiritual, ethical, and intellectual growth of the congregation and the larger community. We coordinate activities and events that represent the diversity of UU perspectives and interests.
We run a wide range of free programs for adults in person at the church and outdoors, on the internet, and on Zoom. You do not need to be a member of the church to participate in most. Watch this link for our latest offerings.
Faith and Renewal Spring 2021 Term
Here are the programs we are offering this season, which will start the week of March 1. All
programs are free and open to anyone, even if you are not a UU Church member. For more
information or to register, contact the leader directly. All of our leaders are experienced
practitioners and facilitators in their subject. For more information about Faith and
Renewal in general or to suggest some adult learning ideas, contact Linda Buckmaster at
Conversations About the End of Life. First Mondays beginning March 1, 10:00 to 11:30
on zoom. Contact Jacqui Robb firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for a new monthly drop in discussion group about the end of life. We will be
discussing the practical, medical, emotional and spiritual aspects.
By exploring the practicalities of preparing for the end-of-life, we are hoping that the
journey we embark on will enable you to move forward with knowledge to support you
during this time. It has been expressed by those attending these groups that it is refreshing
to be able to talk about this topic with others.
Big Open Heart. Fridays, 10:00 - 11:30 am, 02/26 - 04/02 . To register, email Bob
In our everyday lives, we can practice remaining open; open with curiosity to whatever
arises within us and outside of us. This enlightened approach is known as Bhodhicitta.
We will cover basic Shamatha Buddhist meditation practice, loving kindness meditation
(Metta) and Tonglen). This is a continuation of Bob’s earlier classes and is open to
Exploring Our Dreams. Sundays beginning March 7 on zoom, 4:00 – 6:00. Contact Allison
Morrill at email@example.com.
Dream life offers a unique avenue for personal and spiritual growth, especially when
explored with a trusted group. Each week each member will be invited to present one
dream. Then others may offer interpretation ideas for the dreamer to consider. We'll also
exchange information about dreaming and tips on recall.
Note: At the initial meeting with no obligation, those present will discuss: Introduction to
dreams; techniques to aid recall and keep a journal; ways to recount a dream; value of
feedback from others. At that meeting, each person will decide whether to join for the rest
of the next six sessions.
Wintering: A Writing Session. Saturday, March 13 on zoom, 10:00 – 12:00. Register by
March 7 with Linda Buckmaster, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Immerse yourself in some time to reflect, renew, loosen up, and explore through writing.
Using prompts from the sublime to the ridiculous we’ll give ourselves permission to get a
little lost. Come play with words, and who knows what we’ll find! Absolutely no experience
necessary. Experienced writers can get re-charged.
INTRO: FOREST BATHING RETREAT
LINDA BUCKMASTER, FACILITATOR
Hello and welcome to a remote experience of a Forest Bathing Retreat. I’m your facilitator, Linda Buckmaster, and am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast, which is sponsoring this program. I will be using materials from the book, Forest Bathing Retreat: Find Wholeness in the Company of Trees by Hannah Fries.
Here is a definition of “forest bathing” written by Robin Wall Kimmerer in the “Forward.” (Some of you will know of Kimmerer as the author of Braiding Sweetgrass.} She says:
The name “forest bathing” arose from an understanding of the deep therapeutic benefits, both physical and spiritual, of being in the company of trees. It is a translation of the Japanese term shinrin-yoku, coined in the 1980s as a form of forest therapy to treat the many ailments which arise from urban life, calendars full of stress, and pavement beneath our feet.”
“(Forest Bathing) does not involve water (unless you feel inclined to dip yourself in a stream or pond, in which case, by all means!), and it does not require strenuous exercise . . . Think, rather, of a slow, leisurely stroll, a pace that gives you time to notice small things, like a caterpillar crawling across a leaf or the unique scent of a pine forest – time to open your senses to the world around you. ‘Attention is the beginning of devotion,’ wrote Mary Oliver. . . . And as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote ‘In the woods, we return to reason and to faith.’”
This forest bathing experience is a bit of an experiment since it would be difficult to do this in a group on a narrow woods path during this social distancing time. The experiment is to do it remotely. Here’s how it will work: I will record a session for each of three weeks starting Friday, October 9. It will be posted by 4 p.m. each Friday. If you listen to a session straight through, it will take about 15 minutes, and listening to it at home would be a guided visualization.
The idea, though, is that you have the audio on your phone or other device and take it into the woods of your choice at a time during the week that works for you. At various points in the recording, I will invite you to stop the recoding and just absorb the activity until you are ready to start again. I am imagining that the experience might take 45 minutes or so. But who knows – It’s an experiment!
The last session on October 30 will be a zoom session to talk about our experiences. You may come to any or all of the sessions, and they will stay posted for a while. If you have any questions, get in touch with me at email@example.com. Registration is not required.
I’m looking forward to walking with you.