Our adult classes are held in the evening or during the day. Most are open to the public. The teachers are members of the congregation and invited speakers who want to explore thought-provoking topics. The class format leaves time for questions and discussions. We usually ask for a $10 donation for a class series.
- Deepen the understanding of our faith and its history
- Explore other religious philosophies and their role in our spiritual growth
- Strengthen our connections with each other, other faiths, and the world
- Provide opportunities to enrich our spiritual paths
- Sign up on the sheets available at church in the Gathering Area.
- Attend the first class session and sign up then.
- Contact our Adult Education Coordinators to register or for more information.
Current and Upcoming Classes
Exploring the UU Seven Principles in Depth:
Beginning on Saturday, April 8 from 10:00 a.m. to noon, and running for four classes, ending on April 29, Rev. Paula Maiorano, UUSD Interim Minister, and Betty Kirk will facilitate in-depth discussions of our UU seven principles. The fee for the class is $22, which includes $12 for a book on the principles..
Seeking the World’s Wisdom
UUSD will offer a special five-week course on world religious traditions, Seeking the World’s Wisdom, on Thursdays, 7:00 — 8:30 p.m., starting April 13. The course is open to everyone. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn not just the "facts" about this or that religion, but also about the underlying meanings and purposes that make religion relevant. Advance registration is not required. A one-time $10 donation is requested. The course will be facilited by Dr. Len Bownan (left) and David Roell LeClaire (right),
The course consists of viewing and discussing five interviews (55 minutes each) held by journalist Bill Moyers with Huston Smith, renowned scholar of world religions and pioneer of interfaith understanding. Smith reviews his lifelong search for ever deeper wisdom in the world’s major religions and notes that “if we take the world’s enduring religions at their best, we discover the distilled wisdom of the human race.”
Each week focuses on a different religion in this order: Hinduism & Buddhism; Confucianism & Taoism; Judaism & Christianity; and Islam & Sufism. The last week discusses Huston Smith’s “A Personal Philosophy,” a summary of the world’s “distilled wisdom.”
The interviews contain Smith’s presentation of the various faiths’ core beliefs and practices, as well as his own personal experiences and interpretations of their meanings. Smith seeks to teach, not preach. No religion is attacked or put down. Positive aspects are found and presented from each. It is his desire that the world will come to believe, like himself, that all religions have a similar basis, and that all mankind can get along, accepting religious differences. The video sessions are a friendly back-and-forth between two well-spoken associates; they are like listening in on a rich, informative, and lively conversation. The series itself was very highly rated and considered by many as one of the best presentations on the wisdom of the great faith paths.
Facilitators for the course are Len Bowman and David Roell LeClaire. Len currently teaches at Johns Hopkins University, and has taught world religions and the philosophy of religion for over forty years. His PhD is in religion and literature, and he counts Huston Smith among his teachers. David followed his spiritual and metaphysical path for 50 years, travelling to India, Europe, Africa, and China exploring world religions, philosophy, and metaphysics. After 18 months in an ashram in Delhi, he returned to the U.S. to complete doctoral studies at Westbrook University. In his late 30’s David reconnected with his quest and studied with Bonpo Tibetan monks. In his journey, he has traversed the United States teaching classes, giving lectures, and leading spiritually oriented tours to Egypt. In 1982, he developed the Mantrika meditation series using sound to energize and deepen self-discovery.
UU101 Classes to be held Saturdays, March 18 and 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Rev. Paula, Len Bowman, and Betty Kirk will be offering two three-hour sessions on Unitarian Universalism and UUSD beliefs and values, history, and governance. The class is offered to anyone interested in learning more about the UU religion. The class is free. Lunch will be served. A sign-up sheet may be found in the Gathering Space. For more information, contact Betty Kirk at AdultEducation@uussd.org.
Gardening with Native Plants, March 8, 15, & 22, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
UUSD will host a three-week discussion series on Gardening with Native Plants to Sustain Wildlife starting Wednesday, March 8 at 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. The discussions will address the importance of planting native plants in the home garden landscape to provide food and habitat for wildlife and sustain healthy ecosystems. It will explore how to help reverse the decline in biodiversity starting in backyards. The discussion series will be moderated by Ptery Iris, who became devoted to native plants when she was serving on the Board of the Southern Delaware Botanic Gardens.
UUSD HOLDS ITS SECOND DARWIN DAY CELEBRATION ON SUNDAY, FEB. 19, 3:00-5:30 p.m.
UUSD will hold its second Darwin Day celebration on Sunday, February 19, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Our celebration this year will feature a film and two speakers. The event is free and open to the public. The film is “The Genius of Charles Darwin” featuring Richard Dawkins who explains why Darwin’s theory of evolution was, indeed, a revolution. Dawkins is a well-known evolutionary biologist and author, as well as a vocal atheist.
Our first speaker is Jennifer Biddle, Assistant Professor of Marine Biosciences at the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the
University of Delaware. Our second speaker is Ronald Martin, Professor of Geological Sciences, from the University of Delaware Geological Sciences Department.
Steps Toward Compassion Series Starts January 12 At UUSD
Dr. Len Bowman and Alex LeClaire will moderate a three-week discussion series on “Steps Toward Compassion.” The series is set for 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursdays, January 12 to 26 at UUSD. The discussion series will focus on how to give a compassionate focus to our lives. It will be based on the book Twelve Steps Toward a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong. Armstrong believes that each of us needs to cultivate our capacity for compassion to increase the harmonic quality of life on our planet. The Twelve Steps begin with learning about compassion and suggest ways to bring compassion into your personal life starting with yourself. She proceeds from there in ever-increasing spheres of influence with suggestions to enhance and enact compassion in our everyday lives.
Honey in the Heart
Tuesdays, September 13 - November 22, 2016, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.This 10 week journal writing class is open to all. Journal writing uses memory and imagination as a creative force for documenting your experiences of the world. It can help to heal, inform, and inspire greater understanding of your personal history. We will be using the book Storycatcher by Christina Baldwin as a weekly map for capturing the dynamics of putting your story on paper for generations to come. The class will be facilitated by Rev. Paula Maiorano and Claire Griffith. There is a $10 class fee.
Four Spiritualities: Expression of Self, Expression of Spirit:
Sunday mornings, October 2 through November 20 from 8:30 a.m. — 9:30 a.m. Mac and Sue Goekler will conduct this class, which explores learning to understand our and other’s behaviors in a strictly non-judgmental way. This is a great way for UUs to learn to work with each other in team settings and explore why we react to situations in different ways. There is a suggested $10 donation for the class.
The course is a series of three discussions on death, and what death may mean for living. Moderators: Dr. Len Bowman and Jeff Cordiano. A strong response to this series in the spring, when it was offered during the day, prompts UUSD to offer it again, this time in the evening. We really don’t know what comes after death, if anything. But the world’s religious traditions are rich with images of some kind of afterlife. Further, over the past forty years, hundreds of people who were clinically dead and revived have experienced something after death, something that defies explanation. Moreover, many people have experienced memories that appear to come from a prior lifetime.ose from some extravagant claims made about them. A short PowerPoint review of near-death experiences will lead into discussion.
Low-Impact Aerobics Classes
Feel good, look good, and get a good workout, as you perform low-impact, easy-to-follow routines set to the songs of Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, the New Christy Minstrels, etc. the class will be held every Thursday, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. at UUSD. The first class is free.
The Ethics of Laudato Si’ — Discussion Series
UUSD will offer ‘The Ethics of Laudato Si’ ” — a series of discussions about the values affirmed by Pope Francis’ open letter, the ethical principles on which those values rest, and the letter’s ethical call to action. Dr. Len Bowman will lead the discussions. On May 24, Pope Francis published Laudato Si’, (LS) an open letter “on care for our common home.” Francis said, “I wish to address every person living on the planet.” Since the message of Laudato Si’ is couched in terms that strongly reflect the pope’s Catholic context, it may be challenging for people outside that context to hear and understand the message of the letter. For that reason, this series of discussions focuses on ethics, a rational perspective open to people with diverse points of view.
The Power of Myth
Bill Moyers Interviews Joseph Campbell
Dr. Len Bowman will moderate a six-week course starting March 5 at 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. that will focus on “The Power of Myth” – Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell. Course participants will view and then discuss six interviews of mythologist Joseph Campbell with award-winning journalist Bill Moyers. Joseph Campbell was first and foremost a scholar of world mythological traditions. Yet his work has continued to resonate in the creative arts and in personal spiritual journeys. Among those who acknowledge a debt to him are George Lucas (Star Wars), Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, and sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Campbell also recognized how closely mythology linked to psychological archetypes identified by C. G. Jung, so that the study of mythology can help people to recognize their “shadow”—hidden desires and possibilities that may be expressed in dreams and that may inspire creativity.
Religious Traditions With and Without "God"
In our time—now that we have seen the earth as "a single globe of remarkable beauty and unity," we are experiencing "the convergence of disparate cultures and the emergence of global consciousness." So said Prof. Ewert Cousins, known as "the Prophet of the Second Axial Age." Religions likewise are converging, he said, in "a new and complex form of religious consciousness," where "partners enter into the structures of consciousness of the others and return enriched to their own." Crucial is the capacity of people to "meet each other in center to center unions, discovering what is most authentic in each other." This course addresses the crucial question in relation to several diverse religious traditions, and reflects on each tradition (initially) from four diverse perspectives. The traditions studied include the Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Earth/goddess, Judaic, Christian, Religious Humanist, Muslim, and Sufi. The initial reflection is by a panel of four UUSD members:
“In Ancient Times” from “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven”
UUSD member Beebe Frazer will conduct this five-week class. “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” is a program in feminist thealogy (Greek word meaning the study of Goddess) for adults and older youth. The title comes from Jeremiah 7:17-18: Yahweh speaks, “…in the streets of Jerusalem …children gather wood and fathers kindle fire, and women knead dough to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven …in order to anger me!” Rev. Shirley Ranck designed the program for women to explore the Goddess, her presence in our lives, and women’s contributions to art, literature, and spirituality. She asks, “How would your life have been different if, when growing up, the divine had been imaged as female?” Hence, this course reclaims our forgotten, suppressed, rewritten history. Our purpose is not to replace a male god, but to restore balance and equality between masculine and feminine.
UU History Class
The series is entitled, The Long Strange Trip. Ron Schaeffer, our in-house UU historian, offers this exciting new class which traces 2000 years of UU history for six consecutive Thursdays.The class consists of a one-hour DVD hosted by Ron Cordes followed by a discussion. The first class is entitled In the Beginning. Contacts: Ron Schaeffer or Betty Kirk.
Famous Unitarian Universalists (UUs)
This class met bimonthly for one year. Members took turns facilitating discussion of a famous Unitarian or Universalist such as Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, or Horace Greeley. The class was open to the public. Facilitator: Betty Kirk