Morning Seminars

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 [FULL]

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. 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 [FULL]

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.

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.

Five Favorite Things From GA

Debra Boyd

Join others UUs to watch one memorable & thought provoking aspect of GA each day. Then, we’ll have time for questions and conversation about what this means for us individually & as a faith community. Will include the Ware Lecture, Sunday morning sermon, Service of the Living Tradition sermon, a highlight reel of General Sessions, and a mystery pick by Debra.

Debra just finished her eighth year of service on the G.A. Planning Committee. As a “G.A. Junkie” she is excited to share how our largest UU gathering can deepen our experience of UU personally, within our UU communities and the larger world.

The Glorious Diversity of Gender

Elizabeth Mount

Are you already exploring your relationship to your gender? Curious about your gender? Curious about the history of concepts of gender? Wondering where gender shows up in religious texts and spaces? Wanting to get your mind and spirit flowing through creative conversation and play?

Come and explore how gender expression, societal expectations, the patriarchy, and our spiritual roots connect us to who we are! We will be connecting with the roots of our internal understanding of gender in mind, body, and spirit, through guided conversation and creative response. You do not need to know lots of things about gender theory, queer theory, or trans people in order to attend this course. We will work to create a space in which brave sharing about tender pieces of ourselves can occur, so this space will be most suited to those seeking a deep listening, playful, and connective experience rather than debate or “theoretical” understanding of trans experience.

Participants are invited to bring a notebook, a willingness to believe the experiences of marginalized people, and their open hearted selves. Participants are encouraged to email or Facebook message Elizabeth with any questions or wishes they may have before class begins so that this experience can be shaped for those attending.

Elizabeth Mount is the Director of Religious Exploration at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio and a fellowshipped UU minister. They received their Master’s of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2018. Elizabeth identifies as genderqueer and is a member of TRUUsT, has trained as an OWL teacher for K-12 levels, and as a religious educator stays highly engaged with the ever changing landscape of gender variation in terminology and expression blooming among our children and Youth.

How do UU’s read Hebrew and Christian Scriptures? [FULL]

Amanda Hays

Encountering the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures is rare in many UU worship services, but these texts are among the sources of our living tradition and vital to our history. Maybe you grew up in a tradition that held these texts as the literal word of God or have friends or family members in such traditions. Maybe you have never read the Bible, but you’re curious and wondering where to start. This seminar will give a basic introduction to the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and spiritual reading practices from a UU perspective. How can UUs engage with the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures? What can we learn from these ancient writings? How can this passage speak to me?

Participants are invited to bring A curious mind and an open heart.

Understanding the Bible by John Buehrens (available through the UUA Bookstore. We won’t spend class time reading Understanding the Bible, but you might want to read it ahead of time, or during your free time for more context.

This is also a great opportunity to dust off and get out your copy of the Hebrew Scriptures (TNK) and/or the Christian Scriptures (The Holy Bible), to borrow one from a friend, or to acquire a copy if you would like to own one (or, whip out on your device). There will be print-outs of the passages we read together (all in the same translation), but it can still be nice to see where these passages are in context

Amanda Hays is finishing her M.Div. at Meadville Lombard Theological school and her ministerial internship at First UU Columbus in Spring 2019. She grew up evangelical, became agnostic while earning her master’s from Calvin Theological Seminary, and loves to nerd out about the Bible.