Morning Seminars for CERSI 2023

Morning seminars are classes designed for adults to learn a new skill, get creative, move and meditate or contemplate a deep topic in the company of others who share a similar interest.  Morning seminars run Monday – Friday after the theme talk and you attend the same seminar the entire week as each day builds upon the day prior.

Morning seminars fall into three categories, with lots of crossover: the thinking/religion/spiritual (dealing with Unitarian Universalist issues, historical matters, things around you, or social justice), movement (yoga, tai chi, dancing, or exercising), and the artistic/creative (collages, music, journaling, etc.). Each year’s seminars will differ depending on available teachers and interest.

Seminars available for 2023 are listed below. When you register you will enter your 1st & 2nd choices on the registration form. Seminars may be cancelled due to poor enrollment or a teacher cancellation so please have a backup selected.

# Seminar Title Description Instructor
1 Creating an Urban Ecovillage: A Model for Revitalizing Our Cities With over half of people now living in cities, our cities need to become sustainable. In this workshop we will look at one very viable way to do this – the urban retrofit (in existing neighborhoods) ecovillage. We will look at areas such as community, children, work, play, aging, spirituality and housing in an urban ecovillage. This way of living meets both our human need for community and the Earth’s need for deep concern, care and understanding.

In-person and online via Zoom

Mary Vietmeier & Jim Schenk
2 Creating Communities of Communities: Exploring the Impact of Whiteness in Multi-Cultural Space We’ll explore how cultural norms created in the United States that center “whiteness” impede our capacity to connect with people and create community and how reducing our capacity for connection was the point. We’ll then explore how other communities build community and use different norms of behavior to create deep, rich, and resilient communities of care. And, at the end of the week, we’ll imagine together what a multi-multi-multi communities of communities might be at CERSI and what is needed for us to do that together.

In-person and online via Zoom

Debra Boyd & Kim Diana Connley
3 Enneagram as Spiritual Practice This seminar will explore the history and spirituality of the enneagram while helping participants determine, deepen, and understand their enneagram types. Through story, video, and activities, we will learn about the different types, wings, and subtypes. After we have established basics, we will explore the spiritual aspects and practices related to the enneagram. Spiritual for the purposes of this seminar means “that which gives our lives meaning and purpose.”

Masking required for all participants in this seminar.

Sunshine Wolfe
4 Everyone is an Artist This workshop is designed for those that believe they are artistic and those that believe they aren’t. Enjoy learning mixed media upcyling and other techniques as you create a wall hanging, altered playing cards or whatever you want to make. I truly believe that everyone is an artist and all we need are fun supplies and a little instruction. Cindy Williams
5 Finding Your Voice – Yes, You Can Sing! Would you like to sing with more confidence? Learn some technique to keep your voice healthy and strong? And have fun? Singing can be a spiritual practice, a way to create beauty (alone and with others), and just plain fun. Participants will learn basic vocal production, breathing, and simple exercises to strengthen and expand vocal range.

Masking required for all participants in this seminar.

Michelle Buhite
6 Medical Ethics: What really matters? What makes a good life? What makes a good death? Can suffering have meaning? How do I make decisions when decisions are difficult? How do I make high-stakes medical decisions for someone I love when they can’t? When is medical care futile? This workshop will use the lens of clinical ethics and medical humanities (especially literature) to address some of the biggest questions in life and how medical care promotes or detracts from a good life or a good death. Janine Winters
7 Meeting our Inner Elder The second half of life is a time of integrating all we have learned, experienced and dreamt. Using elder tales, developmental psychology, wisdom from Joan Halifax and Ram Dass and Zalman Schachter and Alan Chinen, we’ll add our own as we mentor one another. When we remain open, centered and grounded there is much we have to give to the world around us. Elaine Strawn
8 Mental Health, Illness, Disabilities: Creating Radically Welcoming and Safe Communities for All Often mental illnesses & disabilities are hidden and go unnoticed. Many people may be unaware that we battle Depressive or Anxiety Disorders, and/or more debilitating affective illnesses such as Borderline, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, etc. Understanding the processes and support systems that may lead to greater mental health outcomes, and recognizing the humanity & intrinsic worth of all who struggle with their mental health, may help us welcome all more fully into our congregations & embrace the strengths of diversity they bring.

In-person and online via Zoom

Elaine Ball
9 Purses, Pouches and UFOs Sew a cross-body purse with matching pouch from 2.5 inch strips of fabric. Learn an easy method to put in a zipper that even a beginner can master. For those with unfinished quilt projects (such as last-year’s t-shirt memory quilt?), here is an opportunity for you to make progress under the guidance of an experienced quilter and sewist. You will need to bring your sewing machine and related supplies, an iron and pad and stories to share. A complete supply list will be provided before the start of SI. Sheryl Schrot
10 Shall we dance? Spend your mornings learning the basics of a social dance or two. Social dances are partner dances with a ‘lead’ and a ‘follow’, like ballroom, Latin, or swing. We plan to teach one “smooth” ballroom dance (probably waltz) and one in a different style, either Latin (maybe cha-cha) or swing (our favorite is West Coast Swing). We know several dances, and we’ll seek feedback from the participants on which dances we teach. We intended this to be non-judgmental and joyful. No experience required. No partner required. We do ask that you choose and stick to either a ‘lead’ or a ‘follow’ role per dance so that you can develop skill and confidence in that role during the time we have together. Clark & Megan Ritz
11 The Parables I Wish Jesus Hadn’t Told I think a lot of us know of, or about, the most famous Parable or Stories that are attributed to Jesus in the New Testament: the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, the Mustard Seed; but there are others that I wish Jesus hadn’t told – or maybe he didn’t. Those are the ones I want to explore with you this week. Please bring a Bible or two of different translations. Rev Rod Thompson
12 Understanding your Evangelical Neighbor Evangelical Christians have a lot of power and visibility in American life, and yet can be difficult to understand for those outside of their ranks. Join us for a discussion about what it’s like to be raised in the Evangelical church, their core beliefs, thought processes, and culture. We’ll also take a look at the growing “exvangelical” movement of those who are leaving the faith, and the needs of that community. This will not be about vilifying or mocking Evangelicals, but rather an attempt to better understand them, and find ways that we might present ourselves as an alternative for those looking for faith in a country where Evangelicalism may sometimes appear to be the only option available. Gina Phillips
13 Who Knew Whom: Black and White Unitarians in Early Boston This seminar will be based on an independent research study to explore the relationships between Black and White Unitarians in early Boston. Abolitionists lived on Beacon Hill; Whites on the southern slope and Blacks on the northern slope. How could it be possible that Unitarians like Charles Sumner did NOT know Black abolitionists and especially the ones who were Unitarians. Information will be drawn from a variety of resources. Let’s have a discussion about contextualizing what we think about early Unitarians.

Note: This seminar will be moving to a one-time afternoon or evening lecture & discussion. Time/Date TBD.

Melissa Jeter
14 Yoga for Self-Transformation Heidi Shaffer Bish has been teaching yoga for over 25 years and has multiple certifications. She is trained in the therapeutic yoga tradition which focuses on practical applications of the tools – body, mind and breath – to improve our everyday lives. Her classes are accessible, fun and inspiring. Heidi Shaffer Bish
15 Zen Tie Dye This workshop will be designed to help you learn different tie dye techniques in a calm setting. Each day we will learn about different folds and styles of tie dye. There will also be an opening and closing meditation. Maggie Comstock