Many paths. One welcoming and diverse community.

Adult Exploration

Adult Exploration programs include Sunday Forums; classes to educate, open new horizons, and enrich your spiritual journey; monthly discussion groups on various topics; and more. Any programs that offer the opportunity for development of a personal philosophy to live by will encourage open dialogue on questions of beliefs and spiritual practice.

Adult Exploration News

A Popular Series is Repeated - TWICE

Long Strange TripIn March we will begin two repeat programs, one series in the afternoons and one in the evenings, of "A Long Strange Trip", a six-part series that details the 2000 year history of Unitarian and Universalist thought from the beginning of the Christian era to what we know today as Unitarian Universalism. You will see an exceptionally well done video and participate in a discussion.

This fascinating story includes the compelling life stories of heroes such as Michael Servetus, David Ferenc and Joseph Priestly, William Ellery Channing and Hosea Ballou: it details the role of transcendentalists such as Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller in developing our commitment to a free and open search for truth and meaning. You’ll follow the evolution of both Unitarianism and Universalism in this country from bible-orientated religions to the non-creedal movement we know today, and you’ll learn of the diverse influences such as the Civil War, Suffrage ,and Feminism. And you’ll learn the how the two movements came together and merged in 1961, creating what we know today as the Unitarian Universalist Association.

1: Monday Afternoons March 20-April 24 1-3pm Asta Linder House
March 20 "In the Beginning", examines early liberal religious thought prior to the Protestant Reformation and tells the story of one of our most compelling heroes Michael Servetus.
March 27 "The Birth of Unitarianism" chronicles the spread of Servetus' message and the development of the first coherent Unitarian theology. It tracks these ideas across Europe and eventually to England where we encounter Joseph Priestly (yes, the scientist) and discover his role as a Unitarian minister.
April 3 In "American Universalism", we come to America with the arrival of Unitarian thought in this country and learn about three separate movements all of which compete with the early churches established by the Pilgrims and Puritans. This session includes understanding the impact of the Transcendentalist movement through the work of Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller.
April 10 “Universalism" introduces us to Universalism from its early development in Germany to its explosion in America during the first half of the 19th century as people adopted the teachings of Hosea Ballou.
April 17 "Evolution" follows both Unitarianism and Universalism as they evolve from bible-orientated religions to our present day non-creedal movement. It Includes the effect of several diverse influences such as the Civil War, Suffrage, and Feminism.
April 24 "The Hundred Year Waltz" documents the century-long courtship between Unitarianism and Universalism leading to their their ultimate merger in 1961. This video follows the resulting UUA to the present day.

2: Monday Evenings March 27 – May 1 6:30-8:30pm Asta Linder House
March 27 "In the Beginning", examines early liberal religious thought prior to the Protestant Reformation and tells the story of one of our most compelling heroes Michael Servetus.
April 3 "The Birth of Unitarianism" chronicles the spread of Servetus' message and the development of the first coherent Unitarian theology. It tracks these ideas across Europe and eventually to England where we encounter Joseph Priestly (yes, the scientist) and discover his role as a Unitarian minister.
April 10 In "American Universalism", we come to America with the arrival of Unitarian thought in this country and learn about three separate movements all of which compete with the early churches established by the Pilgrims and Puritans. This session includes understanding the impact of the Transcendentalist movement through the work of Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller.
April 17 “Universalism" introduces us to Universalism from its early development in Germany to its explosion in America during the first half of the 19th century as people adopted the teachings of Hosea Ballou.
April 24 "Evolution" follows both Unitarianism and Universalism as they evolve from bible-orientated religions to our present day non-creedal movement. It Includes the effect of several diverse influences such as the Civil War, Suffrage, and Feminism.
May 1 "The Hundred Year Waltz" documents the century-long courtship between Unitarianism and Universalism leading to their their ultimate merger in 1961. This video follows the resulting UUA to the present day.

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club

The UUCOV Book Club will hold its April meeting on Thursday, the 13th at 1:30pm to discuss "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right," by Jane Mayer.

In May, we’ll talk about "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City”, by Matthew Desmond

From June-September, we will meet on second Tuesdays of the month in the Sanctuary, 2pm.for programs sponsored by the Venice Area Historical Society and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice; these programs are free and will be funded by the Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation. The programs will deal with local history and will, we hope, feature local historians. Please direct any questions to Barb Smith 941-408-1729 or

BuddhaMindfulness Meditation
Guided meditation and a look at early Buddhist teachings on living a more peaceful life. Meets weekly Wednesdays 6-7:30pm. 

platoPlato's Circle
Plato's Circle will meet on Wednesday, April 5th , from 1-3pm, at Asta Linder House.
The topic is "Change", which we’ve all been through plenty of during our lifetimes--personal, technological, and societal. But the pace of change has accelerated very sharply in recent years, and may now be exceeding our capacity to adapt in time. Thomas Friedman strongly suggests this in his latest (he says maybe his last) book, "Thank You for Being Late", which essentially is a survival guide for this new age. His solutions (more co-operation and collaboration and more interaction at the local, grass roots level) have also been espoused by more conservative writers such as Charles Murray. No advanced reading is necessary, however, for us to have a lively discussion on the topic of Change.
socrates

Socrates Cafe
Socrates Cafe are gatherings around the world where people from different backgrounds get together and exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences while embracing the central theme of Socratizing, the idea that we learn more when we question and question with others. UUCOV’s Café meets every third Wednesday of the month in Waters Hall at 1pm. All UUCOV members, friends, and neighbors who enjoy lively discussions are invited to participate on March 15.

ParkWellness Walking
The Saturday walking group, led by Marianne Lombard, has a new starting place in April. Meet her at 10:30 at Sleeping Turtle Preserve, 3464 Border Rd. Venice. We focus on awareness and light exercises (breathing, posture, stretching). Donations to UUCOV are welcome. Contact Marianne 941-485-5270, with any questions.

Message from our Director of Religious Education (2)

Jays WilliamsDifferent and Difficult
I was going to use the word challenging instead of difficult, but for me difficult was a better fit. Last September Connie Goodbread, UUA Southern Regional Congregational Life Staff team member, wrote an article that I printed and have been carrying around in my notebook and looking at now and again. The focus was UU as a covenantal faith. Covenant is what makes us different from many other religious traditions. I have participated in enough UU groups now that I have been a part of writing the Covenant to guide the group's participants. As Connie states, "the writing is the easiest part".

The difficult comes in when Covenant is broken.

Connie states, " In order for us to come back into Covenant we must lean into one another, stay at the table, and work it out. If that cannot happen, someone is leaving." I have certainly thought at times, "well it sure would be easier or more fun or productive or successful if those "other people" wouldn't say, act, like or believe that". Our UU faith provides us at its core with a commitment to one another, even when it gets tough. We practice at our congregation level something beautiful and loving. I believe it serves us not only in our congregational life, but the wider world of which we are a part.

I think the timing of the “UU and You” and “A Long Strange Trip” classes is perfect for this moment. For those of you with a long history with UU and those that have just joined us, I encourage you to gather at one or both of these courses. Our history built this faith and coming together to share it might just provide us with essential tools to meet and take positive, loving action when things seem difficult.

Message from our Director of Religious Education, Jaye Williams

WilliamsJaye250Connie Goodbread, UUA staff member serving the Southern Region on the Congregational Life Staff Team, , led a UUCOV-hosted “Teaching As Relationship” workshop for DREs and those involved in all aspects of religious education. Congregants and leaders from around the state participated. It was a powerful and thought provoking day.
From Connie, we learned the Mantra of the Southern Region

Faith Development is all we do.
Unitarian Universalism is the faith we teach.
The congregation is the curriculum.

Over the summer, I will share various sources and ideas Connie presented as it relates to RE learning and teaching; among them is James Fowler's Stages of Faith. Here are the summary descriptive words for each, but I encourage you to explore these stages online to better understand them.

Stage 0 - (birth to 2 yrs.) Love and Trust
Stage 1 - (ages 3-7) Trusting and Loving
Stage 2 - (7-12, mostly) Truth
Stage 3 - (12-adulthood) Proof of Truth
Stage 4 - (mid-20's-late 30's) My Own Truth
Stage 5 - (mid-life crisis) Truth is a Difficult Concept
Stage 6 - All Truth is One Truth

How many of these stages have you already moved through ? How might our RE programming for all age levels support faith development?

From Our Director of Lifespan Religious Education

I am in awe at the amazing ambassadors our children are for what UUCOV stands for. They created a loving and welcoming space for our Family Promise children in November. Set your eyes a bit lower as you enter for our Sunday service, as you might be fortunate enough to be welcomed and handed the order of service by a young person who is changing our world.

The Sunday Adult RE (11:00 in Asta Linder House) is meeting with great success! So much so, that Bonnie Norton is providing a second "airing" of the program with discussion following on Tuesdays at 1:00.

We are beginning to build our Lifespan RE programming to take us through May. I want to hear from you regarding ideas, interests and needs for our Lifespan RE program. -- Jaye Williams, Director of Lifespan Religious Education, or 941-587-2981.YREFieldTrip

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