Lifelong learning is a key focus of our church experience, and our congregation generously supports education of many varieties for all ages.
Adults: Heart, Mind and Spirit
Our adult programming group calls itself the Heart, Mind and Spirit Ministry Team. With many volunteers, it strives to touch people in these parts of their being in many different ways.
We have a particularly active adult program. It offers evening, daytime and weekend classes in areas such as world religions, spiritual practices, Unitarian heritage, leadership, communication and other life skills. We explore everything from art forms to philosophy, theology, ethics, and values. In addition we offer support groups, book study circles and numerous discussion groups.
Our Freethinkers Forum periodically sponsors programs to explore and discuss in depth, over a series of five or six evenings, topics of interest. Some of the Freethinker Forums that have been offered in recent years included: "Religion for Atheists," "In Search of Secular Spirituality," "Understanding Evolution," and, most recently, a five-session Forum on "What is Consciousness?"
Another recent discussion group was based on the book Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Our Heart, Mind and Spirit program also offers more traditional programming including Building Your Own Theology.
We try to create programs that reach out into the greater community. For example, one of our members frequently offers a Theologians Café series at the local seniors centre.
Other examples of our recent or current programming include:
- Stories With Soul: includes oral reading of short stories followed by discussion
- Dying With Dignity: two workshops on advanced care plans
- Voters Taking Action Against Climate Change: a combined effort with members of the local chapter of Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
- Spirit Writers Circle: a year-long program in which participants were guided to explore their own writing process in response to the themes selected for the month of worship services
- Doc and Talk Nights: we watch documentaries together and talk about how we can help to make change
- Understanding Evolution…Concepts, Controversies, and Consequences: another in our Freethinkers Forum series, which always include specially prepared study materials, videos and questions for discussion.
- Expression of Reconciliation: As part of this CUC undertaking to reconcile with our First Nations, our Minister led a read/discussion group based on The Orenda and The Inconvenient Indian.
- Active Hope: we broke new ground by combining the study of a book with social action and a spiritual support group. We started with Joanna Macy’s Active Hope. The group continues to meet on a semi-regular basis.
- The Bible as Literature: a monthly program and discussion group created and led by a church member. Due to popular demand, it has been run three times.
- Create Your Own Memorial Service: a popular workshop presented by one of our former lay chaplains.
- Cronies: A women’s group aimed at older women who enjoy a monthly brown-bag meal together and discuss world issues.
- Book Club: for over two decades this group has met once a month to read and discuss primarily works of fiction. Many of its members have a great depth of literary knowledge that they enjoy sharing with others.
This is only a partial listing of the programs we have offered recently. As you can see, we take our commitment to fostering lifelong learning and spiritual growth seriously!