All Souls is excited to announce the start of a powerful pathway for spiritual growth and relationship building that advances our dream of beloved community. A transformative curriculum grounded in spiritual practice and our UU faith, Beloved Conversations is a learning laboratory for how to live healthily in a multiracial, multicultural, theologically diverse community, and how to work for a racially just world, both within and beyond our congregation. Led by Dr. Mark Hicks, Meadville Lombard Professor of Religious Education, Beloved Conversations opens with a 1.5-day immersive retreat at All Souls (Fri., Apr. 13, 6:00-9:30 pm & Sat., Apr. 14, 9:00 am-4:45 pm). A light dinner and lunch will be served. After the retreat, small groups of 10-15 people will meet for eight two-hour sessions, scheduled every other week. The schedules for the groups (named for spring flowers) are listed below. Click on the group that fits your schedule to register.
Maximum benefit for all is achieved through a commitment to attend the retreat and all the sessions. Of course, life can intervene with unexpected demands that may require missing a session, but one’s intention should be to fully engage without missing any sessions.
Your participation is invited and encouraged! For more information, contact Minister of Adult Spiritual Development Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How Beloved Conversations came into being. Dr. Hicks, designer of the curriculum, tells the story of how Beloved Conversations first came into being: “As I moved deeper into the religious and cultural experience of Unitarian Universalism, I discovered I shared a common thread among friends and colleagues. Like me, people were compelled to name and critique how race misshaped their sense of wholeness, of justice. Folks could earn top grades doing the work of denouncing racist language, behaviors, and practices. But while quick to march or turn out a business meeting or publicly shame a wrongdoer, there was a haunting shrillness that was not softened by a spiritual core, the sense of compassion and empathy the nurtures the soul after a heart has been broken.” Mark set about creating a curriculum that would nourish the heart, deepen capacities for listening and speaking hard truths, enhance self-awareness and empathy, foster cross-cultural dialogue, and ground and grow souls spiritually in accord with our UU faith and informed by the theoretical framework of transformative teaching and learning. He writes, “Beloved Conversations is framed in the spirit of small-group ministry or a covenant group. Beloved Conversations should be thought of as a ‘spiritual practice.’ Facilitators and participants work to encourage seeing anti-racism/anti-oppression work as acts of faith formation of becoming more fully human.”
Registration is closed until the new schedules for the small groups are determined. Check back soon.