The third principle of Unitarian Universalism holds that we affirm and promote "Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations." At First Unitarian of Philadelphia, we believe all deserve life-long opportunities for religious education, theological exploration, and spiritual growth.
Small Group Ministries
Contact: Debby Schultz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Small groups consist of ~10 congregants who gather monthly from October to June to reflect on spiritual issues in our lives and the world. Groups covenant to support each other, speak from the heart and mind, and to care for each other, including honoring everyone's confidentiality. Sign Up Here: https://forms.gle/LHkNHb3m57RdC2V48
Contact: Rev. Hannah, email@example.com
Weekly groups of 4 that meet to check in briefly, touching base on what's weighing on your heart. These are casual groups that offer you a chance to get to know other folks in the congregation and to feel connected during a time of physical and social distancing.
Please check below for a few examples of past programming we have offered
1. The Shared Roots of Church and Country Music
(Instructor: Chase Castle)
Fans who listened to the radio staple found comfort in the tradition of country music and artists who achieved a spot on the program were deemed saints in the country music canon of faith. The musical significance of these broadcasts is well known, but the manner in which they have relied on tropes of congregational sacred worship have received less attention. And yet, sacred themes pervade the performances, which, as this paper shows, functioned as sacred ground that combined the pleasure of Saturday night and reverence of Sunday morning.
2. The Shared Roots of Church and Country Music II
(Instructor: Chase Castle)
The First Great Awakening established a robust tradition of evangelical revivalism in America that helped fashion American ethics and social practices throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Historians have long acknowledged the role of preaching in fostering heightened levels of religiosity during periods of revival, and devotional literature in sustaining that piety between revivals. Little attention, however, has been given to hymnody—a lyrical genre of sacred music that emerged during the First Awakening—as a spiritual resource for devotion. Analyzing hymnbooks, sermons, ministerial accounts of revivals, and spiritual autobiographies written between 1720 and 1750 shows that hymns also served as a musical currency in the moral economy of the early American revival tradition.
3. Listening as a Spiritual Practice
(Instructor: Tricia Way)
Tricia Way has been teaching in higher education and prison institutions for the past eight years, focusing on social justice-related issues. She was trained in JUST Listening (https://justlistening.net/) in 2014 and has been active in the organization's listening projects in Kensington, Phoenixville, and most recently at the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix. Tricia recognizes that listening justly to others--and being justly listened to--have changed her life for the better; she would like to continue offering her JUST Listening practice to anyone interested in learning the craft of listening more fully and in "right relationship" with another.
4. Loving Ourselves Into a Peaceful Existence
(Instructor: Crystal Mann Boyd)
This pilot series is a guided approach to improving self-esteem, soothing anger, and shedding limiting beliefs through the lens of presence, gratitude, and visualisation. Our working definition of a peaceful existence is one where we are grounded in our bodies everyday, with the ability to choose how we respond to life. It takes work to get there. During these times of constant stress, swift transition, and civil unrest we have a unique opportunity to test our skills from the course. You may be coming to this space with feelings of restlessness as you search for your space in the world or the modern revolution. Just know that tackling big things starts within. Can you ease your mind at night? Can you move from white-guilt to fearless ally? Can you emotionally deal with being Black in America? You should leave each week feeling a little more equipped.
5. Learning to See: Nature in Our Backyard, Porch or Park
(Instructor: Phaedra Tinder and Heather Speirs)
Mary Oliver wrote, “I do not know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention.” While most of us are spending a lot more time in our homes, we can deepen our appreciation for the spaces immediately around us by giving more attention to the plants, animals, and landscapes that share our urban and suburban environments. We will explore some techniques to make identifying plants, birds, and insects easier, practice intentionally noticing the world around us, learn about urban ecology and some of the particular natural history of the Philadelphia area, and draw on memories, art, and writing for inspiration.