Art as a form of Meditation: Reflections of Sound

Michelle Tarsitano-Amato

“… lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and … stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to “walk about” into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?” ― Wassily Kandinsky At the 2017 Summer Institute we experienced Art as a form of Meditation that focused on the 7 principles. In 2018 we expanded the program to look to the UU Six Sources. 2019 SI theme is about music as a form of spirituality, let us then listen to spiritual music and reflect upon that music through the making of art. Wassily Kandinsky has shown us the way by using his art to reflect the music around him. Kandinsky states: “Our hearing of colours is so precise … Colour is a means of exerting a direct influence upon the soul. Colour is the keyboard. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano with its many strings. The artist is the hand that purposely sets the soul vibrating by means of this or that key. Thus it is clear that the harmony of colours can only be based upon the principle of purposefully touching the human soul.” This five day workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to reflect through art making on different spiritual music. There is much music to choose from. Four genres of music will be presented – Gospel, Buddhist, Chants (Hildagard), Shamanic. On the fifth day we will reflect upon the Friday morning worship music. Each day individuals will start with chalice lighting. Participants will use multimedia collage to individually reflect upon the music presented. The last 15 mins of each day will hold a reflection upon the images and how they relate to the music and one’s inner spiritual journey. Join us for self-expression through art making. This program is a combination of my years of training as an art therapist and my UU spiritual journey. The goal is to bring together an opportunity to explore self-expression through the art making process and reflection upon that process.

Please bring: Art supplies that you are willing to share. I have my images basics, but if people want yarn, glitter, textured paper, etc. they will need to bring scraps and such with them.

Michele Tarsitano-Amato, holds a Masters in Art/ Art Therapy from Ursuline College. She is an Art Therapist Registered – Board Certified. She has been a member of West Shore UU Congregation since 2002. Her passion is helping older adults with cognitive loss live their most resilient life

Inter-culture Competency for UU’s

The Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

Have you ever found yourself in a culture that wasn’t your own? Have you always lived in a wider culture that wasn’t your own? Insights from intercultural encounter can help us understand the challenges and opportunities of living in and building diverse communities. This program will help you be leaders of this work in your own contexts.

The Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson is senior minister of the UU Church, Rockford, IL. This is his 3rd SI. He’s passionate about how institutions can adapt to the world we live in, and are building together.

Relaxing and Rejuvenating Yoga Retreat

Maggie Comstock and Jeremy Brauning

Ever wanted to learn Yoga? Already a practicing student? Just interested in what all the yoga folks are talking about? Great! Join certified yoga instructors Jeremy Brauning and Maggie Comstock for a calm and uplifting experience. In this workshop, they will explore the different styles of breathing, yoga poses, and guided imagery. This workshop encourages all ages and levels to experience the beautiful art that is yoga.
Participants may bring yoga mat, blanket, or props as needed.

Jeremy Brauning and Maggie Comstock have been life-long UUs with a friendship that blossomed through this community over two decades ago. They learned at a young age to be peaceful and kind to everyone and both love to be able to teach this through yoga. Both instructors have a yoga 200 hour certification.

Five UU Spiritual Practices

The Rev. Dr. Rosemarie Newberry

The Rev Dr. Kendyl Gibbons developed a set of Unitarian Universalist spiritual practices over 10 years ago. Each of these develop our souls and help us live calmer and more peaceful. By developing muscle with these practices, we develop a deeper understanding of being human and humanity. Each day we will concentrate on one of these practices and report back our experience. No deep breathing, no physical exertion, no need to take notes. Simple meditations will be included.

Participants may bring an item for the altar that reminds them of their humanity; a folder for storing handouts. Note taking materials are optional.

The Rev Rosemarie Newberry is the minister at the UU congregation of Queens, NJ. She has served congregations in NJ, Cleveland and Long Island. She has also worked as a chaplain for adults with developmental disabilities. She is active in EqUUal Access being a strong advocate in our association.

Quilting the Old Fashioned Way

Sheryl Schrot

Before we had sewing machines, we had thread and needle. Rather than haul lots of equipment, all you need is needle and thread, good scissors and your choice of fabrics. Perhaps you have garments or fabric remnants from a special person or time. These make wonderful memory quilts. We will use Foundation Piecing on pre-marked fabric or paper (provided). No previous sewing experience is required. One of the best parts of the traditional quilting bee was the sharing of stories or concerns. Bring your stories, your creativity and your favorite fabrics.

Participants should bring: sewing scissors, hand sewing needles, straight pins, neutral colored all-purpose or cotton thread, fabric.

Sheryl Schrot has been sewing for 52 years and loves to teach quilting to her 4-H kids as well as adults. Sheryl is a member of the UU Bay de Noc Fellowship in Escanaba, Michigan and loves SI as an opportunity to hang out with fellow UUs and her sister

Connecting with the Ancient Ones

Jeanne Crane

Many have recently connected to their ancestry roots through DNA testing, others feel drawn to ancient cultures without explanation. This workshop links an exploration of our personal roots to our Unitarian Universalist sources and invites a deeper connection to both though activities and discussion. Roots and sources – Tree roots, family trees, cultural roots and their impact on our worldview Rituals and ceremonies – circles and drumming Places of deep connection – both natural and designed Wisdom, spirituality and beliefs – similarities and differences among cultures Myth and Story – an invitation to share a story that moves or identifies each of us.

Participants should bring written passages, songs, pictures, drums, flutes, sketch pad and/or items for an altar if you wish.

Jeanne Crane is a retired organizational consultant, leadership and life coach. She worked with OMD and UUA for two years before CERG. Presently, she writes and gives presentations about her travels in Ireland and to the Neolithic sites of Celtic lands. She was drawn to Unitarian Universalism because of our unique and rich embrace of multiple sources. Her latest book, Amidst the Stones of Celtic Ireland, can be previewed on Amazon.

The Promise of Permaculture: Saving the World One Backyard at a Time

Renee Ruchotzke

The threat of climate change calls for a revolution in our way of life, toward a sustainable future. Permaculture offers this revolution in the brilliant disguise of a gardening fad that is really developing a deep understanding of the complex workings of natural systems. Renee will share the basic principles of Permaculture, how they connect with UU Principles. She will share examples of how she is implementing biological principles in her back yard garden and social principles in her work as UUA Congregational Life Staff. Participants will practice the principles by designing their own project.

Participants should bring a notebook.

Rev. Renee has served as Central East Regional staff since 2010. On her recent sabbatical, she studied permaculture by taking a two-week intensive design course, spending a week on a Permaculture farm in Latvia, and designing and creating her own permaculture backyard food forest with her husband Randy in Kent, OH.

Artistic Hand Embroidery

Kim Homsher

Design your own artful embroidery while learning stitches, design tips, pattern transfer techniques, and framing methods. With the knowledge of a few easy stitches you can create trendy, quirky, and heirloom pieces. Join me for fresh perspectives on embroidery, hands-on instruction, inspiration, and resources. Enjoy a little slow time as we practice this relaxing, centuries-old meditative art.

Kim has been embroidering since her aunt taught her Candlewicking and “Chicken Scratch” techniques over thirty years ago. Since then she’s explored and completed pieces in Blackwork, Drawn Thread, Ribbon Embroidery, Surface Embroidery, Knotwork, and Whitework. She’s currently having fun creating her own designs and “free-styling”, making it up as she goes.

Living Our Seventh Principle

Bob Mitchell and Cindy Frantz

Heat waves, droughts, and rising ocean acidity threaten the interdependent web of our existence. Shortages of food and fresh water are already producing contention for diminishing resources that undercuts human dignity and fosters authoritarian societies. Scientists now tell us that another decade without strong action will lock us into a frightening future. This workshop will explore specific actions we can take in our home and church lives to confront the climate crisis. We will examine our household and church carbon footprints to discover the most effective actions we can take, as well as ways to engage other churches and the larger community. Finally, we will consider collective actions we can take as citizens of the nation and the world.

Participants are invited to bring enthusiasm.

Cindy Frantz is an environmental psychologist and activist who has taught at Oberlin College for 15 years. She belongs to the Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and has attended Summer Institute every year since 2010. Bob Mitchell retired in 2014 following a physics and engineering career that ranged from high power lasers to robotic perception systems. For the past eight years, he has been researching and teaching about climate change science, impacts and solutions. He belongs to the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh and has been attending SI with his family since 1998.

Contemplation, Meditation and Drawing

Linda Scharf

This class is designed to get in touch with certain words or phrases that will hopefully connect with your heart. I will conduct a short guided meditation, then we will let images, words, feelings, colors, whatever shows up in the moment to be expressed on paper with colored pencils. Or just let your pencil start wandering across the page and see what emerges. This is not a thinking experience, it’s a feeling experience. No previse art experience necessary, just come with a curious and open mind. We will have a short discussion about our experience. You may be surprised at what you can do when you go with the flow.

Participants will need a large drawing pad (14×17”) so you can really express yourself and colored pencils (Crayola)

Linda is a graduate of Kent State University with a BFA and a minor in education. I’ve had a career in graphic design, and now teacher art classes at local art galleries in my area. I spent six years working at a Buddhist retreat in upstate New York where I learned to meditate. I now live in Ohio and I attend the UU church of Youngstown, where I offer meditation practice.

Use Your Voice to Get What You Want Out of Life

Sharon Marrell

What could you do with a powerful voice? Every day, you’re using your voice to influence, lead, sell, service, heal, advise, teach…and a thousand other critical functions. For a tool you’re using so often…how much do you actually know about how to use your voice? Find out how to use the building blocks of voice through volume, pitch, pace, tone, and melody to unlock your voice that says “You WILL hear me!” Your voice speaks the truth. Express your passion for issues important to you and get the respect and recognition you deserve. Change lives and achieve the life of your dreams…with the power of your voice!

Participants are invited to bring a notebook.

Sharon Marrell has been a music teacher for over 40 years. She has coached vocal ensembles, including church choirs in UUC and UU congregations and community choirs. She is the founder member of the woodwind quintet, Winds of Fire. She has been coached by Roger Love, “Vocal Coach to the Stars.”

The White Ally Toolkit

Deb Lemire

The White Ally Toolkit Workbook was developed by David Campt, PhD, author, professor and former advisory board member for President Bill Clinton’s Initiative on Race. The toolkit is designed to encourage, empower and equip white folks to have more effective conversations around race. Using active listening, empathy and personal storytelling these conversations can help us not avoid not confront but engage in a way that is more effective. Together we will work through the Toolkit so maybe the next challenging thanksgiving dinner conversation won’t have to end with “you’re a F&$#@King racist!

Participants are invited to bring something to write with and a notebook if they wish to take notes; handouts will be available.

Deb Lemire is Co-Chairperson of the Racial Justice Task Force of the UU Church of Akron. Like most white folks she struggles with having productive conversations with other white people about race, particularly those that deny or minimize the impact of racism on us all. Deb is an artist, organizer and advocate.

Aging and Spirituality

Pat McDaniels

A five-part course in which participants identify and discuss the challenge and gifts of aging along with the aspects of spiritual maturity necessary for successfully traversing this third phase of life.

Participants are encouraged to bring a sense of curiosity.

Pat McDaniels, LISW-S is a semi-retired therapist, trainer, and seeker. She speaks to various church and senior citizen groups on this subject and is currently leading this class at the UU Fellowship of Wayne County

Jesus the Flaming Liberal

Katie Griggs-Miller

What is the real story about Jesus and his followers regarding conservative and liberal values? Atheists and Christians alike will investigate what the New Testament and other non-canonical texts actually say – and don’t say – about refugees, women, capitalism, gender issues, war, and other topics so frequently contested in today’s religiously charged political climate. We will study and discuss the words and actions of the original Christian and their application to current topics in a scholarly way that should be comfortable for most attendees whether they believe the historical record or not.

Participants should bring a copy of the New Testament (any modern translation).

Katie is a life-long student of the Bible and related texts, while consulting Bible scholars. She has read the Bible in its entirety with an open mind and willingness to be surprised. Because of the claimed “ownership” of morality by various political-religious groups, her current passion is to investigate and debunk erroneous claims about Christian teachings.

Vision Boards 101

Karen Jepsen

Jung said “Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.” In this hands-on workshop, we will create Vision Boards, explore personal vision statements and share positive goals and intentions for our future. No art skills required. Gain clarity about what you want and put the Law of Attraction to work for you!

Participants are invited to bring photos, pictures or any other inspirational print materials to include on their vision boards.

Karen created her first vision board on the wall of her bedroom in high school and has returned to this practice at times of transition and growth throughout her life.

Categories: CERSI 2019