Friday, January 29, 2010

Bibleodeon is coming!

Register your family today for Bibleodeon! 
A multigenerational workshop introduction to the Bible for UUs; Saturday, Mar. 13 (9am to noon)
Developed by the Shelter Rock Unitarian Universalist Congregation for use by UU churches, Bibleodeon is an experiential program introducing young Unitarian Universalists to stories of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles.
This half-day workshop is an adaptation of the curriculum by Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Becky Brooks. Our program is designed to offer adults, teens and children ages 8 and up a fun, engaging way to learn more about the Bible using games, role play, discussion and hands on projects. We will explore the idea of sacred text, find out what’s special about the Bible and what these stories can teach us, even across lines of diverse theologies. 
We will meet Saturday, Mar. 13, 9am to noon in the downstairs classrooms at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. Families are encouraged to register together, but you need not have children to participate. Childcare for younger children will be provided upon request. The class minimum 10, Limit 20

Register online here or print a registration form here.  Or contact Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Becky Brooks 

(photo by Jessah Serafini)

EDITED to include new date: Mar. 13 (not Feb. 20)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New to the Adult Religious Education Program at First Unitarian

The Construction of 
Spiritual Practices and Rituals
Led by Uri Nodelman
Wednesday Evenings, March 3 - April 7, 7-9 pm

If religion be a function by which either God's cause or man's cause is to be really advanced, then he who lives the life of it, however narrowly, is a better servant than he who merely knows about it, however much. Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another. -William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

What does it mean to live the life of your faith?  What practices and rituals are a part of your spiritual or religious life?  What is their function?  How might you incorporate new rituals or practices?  What might they be?  What support is needed in taking on a new practice? What does it mean for such practices to "work" or feel "broken"?  

This six session class will provide an opportunity to engage these questions as we learn from selected readings and from each other about how we practice our faiths.  We will examine rituals and practices for individuals, families, and communities covering life-cycle based practices (e.g., rituals around birth, coming-of-age, wedding, death), calendar-based practices (e.g., celebration of holidays), and daily/weekly practices (e.g., right speech/lashon hara, meditation, observing Sabbath).

The class will be facilitated by Uri Nodelman, who is Jewish and will bring a Jewish perspective and information about Jewish practices to the class.  Uri is a friend of the congregation (who is often seen taking pictures at First Unitarian events).  By day (and sometimes by night) he works as Senior Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and is a Research Associate at Stanford University.

Childcare will be provided on reques. Limit 12 participants (minimum 6.)
When: Wednesdays, Mar. 3–Apr. 7, 7:00–9:00 pm
Register online here: or contact Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Becky Brooks, at 443-921-6912 or

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Read sermons online at

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord Ashton would aver, and many of us who have forsaken hierarchical religion are ready to see all power as bad, oppressive, stifling, tainted, evil ...

In a religion that doesn’t talk much about evil, it is interesting to see how easily we demonize power. We have an unattractive (and maybe unhelpful) habit of exhibiting fear about power. We think that those in power use their power in unjust ways—the corporation that runs rampant over the environment; the politician that calls himself a servant but rules as a master; the commission or authority that skirts the law to impose undemocratic measures for the sake of development. We see bad power everywhere. We fear that the Minister will exert too much influence on the church’s decisions. We are wary of a Board that acts decisively and sets a direction. We are curious about the power of “those people” in the religious education program, or the choir, or the kitchen...

You may disagree with me, but I think we have plenty of lived evidence that we think that there is something wrong with power.

But let me tell you something: it is not only power which corrupts, but powerlessness corrupts. Powerlessness leads to corruption, to individual survival behaviors that are not inthe interest of other individuals and the community, to escapism in wacky religion and mind-altering substances, to bribery and favoritism to gain the approval of the ones with just a little more power. Powerlessness corrupts!

— From Rev. David Carl Olson's Jan. 3 sermon, "The Problem of Power"
Read the full text and other sermons at First Unitarian Church website here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Lunch, Jan. 10

Each week our Religious Education program for Children and Youth succeeds due to the efforts of a fantastic team of volunteers.  Teachers and Assistants are invited to gather in the downstairs classrooms on Sunday, Jan. 10, 12:45 pm for a celebratory appreciation lunch.  We will also use this opportunity to hear feedback from teaching volunteers about how the year is going, what improvements might be made and what our priorities should be for budgeting for next year.

Volunteers, please RSVP to RE Chair, Idalee DiGregorio.

Thank you so much for all you do for our congregation!

Big Question of the Week

All people everywhere wrestle with the big questions in life.  On the heels of our first ever Big Questions Letter Exchange program, each week we'll propose a "Big Question of the Week" for you to think about, comment on, and talk about with your friends and family and kids.  This week's Big Question:

How did we come to be? (Who/What created the world?)