OUR WHOLE LIVES [OWL]: Sexuality Education for Adults of All Ages

Offered in January 2016 and taught by certified facilitators Nadja Sanders and Jon Miller, this class was attended by 21 participants and was well-received. Our Whole Lives models caring, compassion, respect, and justice in all our relationships. OWL addresses topics typically excluded from sexuality education and health classes, including sexual expression, identity, orientation, and life issues for adults of all ages. Join us to gain information, boost self-knowledge, enhance sexual safety, and strengthen social skills. Interactive, inclusive, welcoming.


Offered in February 2016, this class used a variety of approaches to imagery and manual markings that will help us access and understand depth and spiritual meaning within ourselves. It was presented by the team who brought you the fall Writing as Spiritual Practice class: Melody Carr, Sherri McCutchen, Maren Peterson-DeGroff, and Bonnie Phipps. They did not give drawing lessons, or teach perspective. Their approach to art was more akin to you understanding your dreams. Art can be meditative and revealing and integrates the head, heart and hand. 17 participants attended.


Bonnie Phipps has an M.A. in Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking.  She enjoys writing as a way of exploring her inner world. She facilitates three of the active poetry groups at church, and frequently helps with editing and proofing the poetry journal.  For her, art and writing are on-going explorations.

Maren Peterson-DeGroff is a teacher who has also been a musician and vocalist for over 30 years, which is part of her spiritual practice.  She uses journaling and art, including Soul Cards, for emotional exploration.  Maren loves to write and create music with others, and is currently in a UUCE Poetry group, and the Chalice Choir.

Sherri McCutchen has been a teacher for eighteen years and joined UUCE when she moved to Eugene from Colorado almost three years ago. She’s taught in the children’s RE program since soon after joining the church. She really enjoys the monthly poetry group she belongs to with other women from UUCE.

Melody Carr taught English composition for two years at the U of O. She also facilitated or helped facilitate several intuitive art and creativity groups and workshops.  These workshops were designed to encourage people who had no art experience to explore the power of image making for greater insight, growth, and healing.


In January of 2016, Eugene/Springfield NAACP Chapter President Eric Richardson offered a 4-week seminar series of creative conversations. Together, he and the class explored historical, spiritual, and political roots of racial relations and work to forge a creative and active vision of equality and equity for the future.

Eric Richardson grew up at the center of social activism for African Americans in Eugene. His family led an African American workshop series and spearheaded the development of culturally inclusive curriculum and pedagogy in Oregon school districts. Richardson has built on the legacy of his parents’ leadership by advancing the mission of the NAACP in Southern Oregon.


These popular End of Life courses were offered in March and April, 2016.

I. End of Life: Have it Your Way

Six sessions dealt with spiritual, legal, medical, and practical aspects of planning for the end of life. Participants heard from attorneys, funeral directors, hospice and compassionate choices experts, and Rev. Sydney Morris.

The objectives were to encourage and help participants take steps to ensure their end-of-life arrangements will be carried out in accord with their preferences and to encourage and help participants to take steps that will guide their survivors and make their responsibilities easier.

II. Death and Dying Small Group Ministry 

This program uses the small group ministry model to facilitate a process of personal reflection, learning, and spiritual growth focused on the topic of death and dying. It brings death, dying, and grief into the light of our daily lives and out of the dark, macabre recesses to which we often relegate it. The program is not a grief support group, nor is it an intellectual study of death. It includes sociological information and reflection, theological reflection, personal and shared narrative, creative expression, and journaling. It helps participants move from viewing death as an abstract concept to developing a personal recognition of its meaning in their life, with the goal that all who participate in the program find a closer and more comfortable relationship with their own inevitable death. This program invites participants to experience death and dying as a healthy part of life, including the preparation, the moment of death, the grieving, and the living on.

DISCUSSION GROUP: The Ten Commandments in Modern Terms

This group introduced participants to the writings of Carl Nelson ( UUCE Minister, 1962-69) as a jumping off point for further discussion and exploration. Rev. Nelson’s booklet, The Ten Commandments in Modern Terms, was provided without cost to those who register. Each week the group discussed one of the commandments, led by Dan Robinson and the late Truleen Delgado. Offered in February of 2016.


Offered in October of 2015, this class explored with other parents what it means to bring UU values to your parenting practices, offering an opportunity for parents to share stories, inspirations and concerns in a safe and sacred space. Leaders were Intern Minister Kimberly Wootan and Director of Religious Education Katy Siepert.


In October, participants were invited to join us as we help guide you to your inner, sacred place of personal meaning. This workshop is not about how to write, but leads you through writing exercises that inspire a private dialog with yourself. There will be writing time and discussion about the writing process, the thought process, and the concepts used as prompts in the exercises. No one will be required to share, and there will be no criticism of your writing.


Appreciative Inquiry: Kay Crider and Rev. Sydney delved into this positive approach to purposeful change.  It is the methodology we have used for the last two years in the Dreamcatchers process.  According to the Alban Institute and UU facilitator Larry Peers. Appreciative Inquiry  invites us to discover what is lifegiving through appreciation; envision what might be and what the world is calling for; co-construct and co-create; and shape sustainable actions. Participants drew from this and the body of UU practices to practice and grow stronger.

True Colors: Leadership and participation-ship are enriched by our work toward deepening understanding.When we know our own personal predilections for learning and interaction, we are better able to understand and celebrate the diversity of people in our lives and welcome those yet to come. The self-reflection tool called True Colors is widely used and trusted in UU circles for its inclusive unbiased approach, and the joyful insights we can gain from it.

Group Dynamics and Leadership: It turns out that there are very similar patterns in group behavior which can be orchestrated in ways that increase effectiveness and satisfaction. Clear and simple techniques for designing and running meetings, as well as practice and reflection on leadership styles and options will be part of our two sessions together.

Your UUCE: Increasing the capacity of our church to do the work of our mission depends on each person orienting themselves within the congregation and our larger faith tradition.  How DO you get things done here? What is the structure, and the leading edge question at UUCE today? What is honored tradition and legacy and what is new? Discussion, power point and humor will guide us along as we move our church forward.

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