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Ancient Roots is a Unitarian Universalist adult religious education curriculum that explores the history of the female in Western religion from around 3, BCE to the present, grounded in the belief that archetypes and understandings from long ago have remained important in the development of religious ideas and roles right up to our own time.

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The curriculum is broken up into three classes of four session each. This year Rev. Search for: Search. Google Map. First Unitarian Church of Providence a safe harbor that welcomes liberal religious seekers. Facebook Instagram. Search Directions Contact. Adult Programs. Gilbert is the author of books of meditations, social justice and religious education. A retired minister, he holds degrees from St. He lives with his wife Joyce in Rochester, NY, where they enjoy time with their three grandchildren. Closing with a group : Share, or have a participant share, a reading.

By yourself : Use your notebook to respond to this question. Forrest Church creates a metaphor of Universalism as the many windows of a cathedral, each coloring the same light in different patterns.

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If you were to create a cathedral representing your personal religion, what kinds of windows would it have? Which religious traditions or other sources of wisdom particularly inspire you in your ethical and spiritual life? Imagine yourself designing a rose window expressing all the facets of your faith. Use colored pencils or markers to sketch your design in your notebook.

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By yourself : Write in your notebook any explanatory comments you want to make about your rose window design. With a group : Take time to share and explain your rose window designs. Then consider the following questions as a group, or in small groups if you prefer: Does your congregation draw on a variety of faith traditions, or primarily from Judaism and Christianity?

In what ways would you like to see your congregation become more inclusive of other traditions?

Mandy Beal - Finding God at the Margins: A Unitarian Universalist Faith Journey

What do you think blocks Unitarian Universalists from really appreciating and learning from other traditions? In Chapter 6, John Buehrens writes: "The secret to dialogue is passing over and then returning. We pass over into an appreciative attempt to understand the experience and insight of another person or tradition.

We are changed by the experience, in some way transformed and enlarged. In your notebook, list as many of these dialogue partners as you can remember. Choose one of these people and write a paragraph in your notebook describing the interaction with that person and how it has affected your thoughts and feelings about religion. By yourself : Imagine what kind of dialogue you might have with the person you chose if you could speak together today. Close your eyes for a few moments until you are able to visualize the person and enter into his or her presence in your own mind.

How would you explain your present religious viewpoint? What do you suppose he or she would say in response? And how would you respond to that? Try writing this dialogue in your notebook, letting it continue as long as it stays alive in your mind. With a group : Seek out another person with whom you can share the paragraph you have just written.

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After both of you have read your paragraphs, talk about the similarities and differences in the experiences you have shared. At the end of your dialogue, write a sentence in your notebook about how the interchange may have transformed or enlarged your feelings and thoughts about religion. Closing with a group : Regather, and share an appropriate reading.

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For next session, read Part IV, Chapters 7 and 8 pp. Arrange to have one or more translations of the Bible on hand. Just for fun, try the brief Bible quiz Handout 3. Reflect on your own experience with the Bible. Are your associations positive or negative? Do you have a favorite Bible passage or story or character? Make note of any biblical favorites in your notebook. Are there aspects of the Bible which repel or anger you?

Also make a note of these negatives about the Bible. By yourself : Write a paragraph about why you believe you like or dislike certain passages or aspects of the Bible. Draw on your personal experiences which may have influenced your reactions positively or negatively, citing your own memories and associations. With a group : With two or three others, share your reactions to the Bible.

After each person in the small group has shared his or her notes, discuss the positive and negative memories you associate with the Bible. With what personal experiences do you associate your favorite Biblical passages? Are there different kinds of memories associated with the negatives you noted? The phrase "loving our neighbors as ourselves" brings to mind the recently noted "not in my backyard" response to possible sitings of waste-treatment plants, prisons, shelters for the homeless, halfway houses for recovering mental patients, or other necessities of the larger community.

What does the word "neighbor" mean to you? Do you think of neighborhood as an island of retreat from the rest of the world, or an open, diversified community? In your notebook, make a list of persons or facilities you honestly would not welcome "in your backyard. Add a paragraph describing what you think would be a fair and responsible way to deal with the problem of maintaining sufficient personal space and security while at the same time meeting community needs. With a group : On a chalkboard or a large sheet of paper, create a group "unwelcome neighbors" list by sharing sample items from your individual lists.

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How might your congregation respond? Discuss this hypothetical situation as a group and decide how you might live out your Unitarian Universalist values as a congregation in such an eventuality. In Chapter 8, John Buehrens tells the story of having his expectations of a particular church experience changed completely by the actuality. He also speaks of unrealistic expectations on the part of people coming to Unitarian Universalism for the first time.

Do you remember what expectations you had of Unitarian Universalism on first acquaintance? Has subsequent experience surprised you, or have your expectations been largely confirmed? By yourself : In your notebook, write whatever you recall as being your earliest expectations of Unitarian Universalism.

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Then add any surprises or confirmations you have experienced as you learned more about your chosen faith. In the light of your own experience, describe how you might introduce Unitarian Universalism to a newcomer. With a group : Take a few minutes to share the expectations each of you had when you first came to your congregation. Chances are that, in a number of cases, the actuality exceeded your expectations.

However, some of you may have been disappointed with your experience in one way or another. As a group, discuss what might be done to meet those expectations which are as yet unrealized. Look again at the versions written by authors Church and Buehrens. Using your notebook, try a version of your own, based on the blessings you have experienced as a result of your struggle to do the right thing according to your own definition.

Handout 5 includes excerpts from the 17 points of the revision of this document. Consider these statements carefully, and ask yourself whether you would be willing to sign The Humanist Manifesto II. By yourself : Read the excerpts from the Manifesto. In your notebook, comment on your reaction to the document. To what extent does it express your value system? To what extent could it serve as a personal religious statement for you? With a group : Distribute copies of Handout 5 and allow time for group members to read and consider it.

Ask how many would be willing to be signers of the document, based on these excerpts.