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

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.

More Focus on Preparing for the Future

HandsOldYoungDuring November and December, the Caring Team and ARE offered a series of sessions focused on issues of Aging and End-of-Life. Potential topics for future sessions emerged as questions were asked. Two of these topics will be featured in February:

“Guiding a Care Giver” will be held on Feb. 6th , 1pm in the Sanctuary. Paula Falk, Director of Caregiving Services for Sarasota County, provides support services of various types at the Friendship Center in both Venice and Sarasota. She will help guide us through a booklet, “Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families.”

This session is for you if you have been wondering what you need to share with the person who will be stepping in to help you or your loved one. Since a crisis can occur at any age or in any place, there is not one person in our congregation who can afford to ignore these issues!

Physician-assisted death will be the focus of two sessions during the last week of February. On Mon., Feb. 20th, 1pm, we’ll show the video, “How to Die in Oregon”. Oregon adopted ‘Death with Dignity’ legislation in the mid-1990’s. This video shows how the law has been implemented in Oregon and touches, as well, on the adoption of similar legislation in the neighboring state of Washington.

On Friday, Feb. 24th, 1pm, we are fortunate to be hosting a presentation by Winnie Downes, who is the face of the Sarasota Chapter of Compassion and Choices. This organization is responsible for much of the volunteer work associated with physician-assisted death in states where it is permitted. Ms. Downes will be able to help us understand what is currently possible in Florida.

In March other topics will be addressed: “Trusts, Wills and Other Legal Issues” and “Questions You Should Be Asking Your Physician.” Watch for specific dates and times.

Message from our Director of Religious Education

WilliamsJaye150Happy New Year!! It will be wonderful to see our congregants and friends who don't return until January this month. I have heard from a number of you that you really don't pay as close attention to the goings on at UUCOV while you are out of the area, and I can completely understand. With that in mind, I want to focus on some upcoming programming ideas that came out of LIfespan partnering with Caring and Remembrance in November on Aging and End of Life. Kudos to Bev Morrison and Nancy Zarowin for much time devoted in support of making this theme of programming a reality.

With five sessions devoted to Aging and End of Life in November and early December, my takeaway is that this topic is of enormous importance and concern to significant numbers of not only our congregation, but the many from the general public who attended. In one of the small breakout groups I was a part of, two participants noted that as a result of the programming they had a first conversation with their adult children about their wishes when their life nears its end. That is huge!!!!

I do know that UUs are engaged and involved in many activities so for those of you who are just arriving back, and the 100+ people who attended one or more of the programs, here is advanced notice for your 2017 calendars. On Monday, February 6th we will provide a Prepare to Care workshop from 1-3pm. A special workbook will be provided to each participant and we will walk through and work through the workbook together, as the group consensus was that was the best follow-up programming to begin with.

Stay tuned for dates of programs on Euthanasia, Tidewell Palliative, Legal/Medical aspects and the not-to-be- forgotten Death Café. We will go......... sometimes bravely, sometimes with humor, perhaps a little better educated, but all of us together on this critical aspect of life's journey.

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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