WONDER & INQUIRY

WONDER AND INQUIRY SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER 2024
ADULT RELIGIOUS EXPLORATION PROGRAMS OF THE UNITARIAN FELLOWSHIP OF PETERBOROUGH

ALL PROGRAMS (but one) ARE HELD AT THE UNITARIAN FELLOWSHIP, 777 WELLER AVE.

The Minister’s Book Discussions: September 19 & 21 and December xx& xx
“These works of theology and philosophy have shaped my ideas and I am enthused to share them with the congregation. Each Sunday, I try to reflect on moral, religious and spiritual questions. Now, this is an opportunity to go deeper with some of the themes that you have heard in my sermons.”
LEADER: Rev. Peter Boullata
September 19 at 7 pm. in person. Or/ September 21 at 3:30pm online
On Repentance and Repair: Making amends in an unapologetic world By Danya
Ruttenberg

This progressive American rabbi explores the personal, political, religious, and spiritual
practices of atonement, forgiveness, and repair from harm through the lens of the
medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides. Grounded deeply this way, how might we
create a culture of responsibility and respect? This is jointly, offered with members of
the Beth Israel congregation.
December XX 7 pm. in person. Or/ December XX at 3:30pm online
American Sage: The spiritual teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. By Barry M.
Andrews

Emerson was a nineteenth century Unitarian minister who left the ministry to pursue a
career of essay-writing and lecturing. He was a key figure of American
Transcendentalism, a movement that drew from direct transcendent experience in the
natural world. Transcendentalist philosophy became a current in mainstream
Unitarianism. Andrews, a UU minister, explores what Emerson taught, grounding his
accessible account in the historical context of the time, with implications for how
Emerson’s legacy can still inspire us. A good companion volume is The Spiritual
Emerson, edited by David M. Robinson, (Beacon Press, 2003), which contains
Emerson’s most salient spiritual essays.

Spiritual Practice Seminars: Saturday, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec. 7 9:00 am. -10:30
Members and friends of the Fellowship have asked for more knowledge about ways to deepen their sense of mindfulness, connection, and transcendence. Others would like to develop a spiritual practice but don’t know where to start. These one-time seminars are designed to introduce participants to the history, culture, and practice of disciplines from various traditions. Many of these practices can be found in several different world religions, and so we will be cognizant of both the universality and particularity of these exercises.
Included practices are primarily those in which Rev. Peter Boullata is proficient. There are many more options, and those with experience with other spiritual practices may want to consider offering their knowledge to the community as well. The formation of ongoing practice groups is a possibility.
LEADER: Rev. Peter Boullata
October
Finding A Spiritual Practice – This workshop is for those who would like to have a regular spiritual discipline but don’t know where to start. Through lightly exploring different methods and approaches, participants will begin finding a practice or practices that work for them, that fit their temperament and needs. 
November
Meditation – There are various approaches to meditation and mindfulness, including secular and Buddhist. Abrahamic traditions include contemplative and “centering” prayer. This workshop will explore the various approaches to what meditation might mean or do, along with experiencing those aspects of practice that are common among traditions.
December
Sacred Reading – “Lectio divina,” literally “sacred reading,” is a practice that comes to us from the monastic tradition of Western Europe. It’s a form of meditation that focuses on the written word. Traditionally, lectio divina involves entering mindfulness through the prayerful reading of holy writ. We will explore this practice through various sacred and secular writings. Short texts will be reflected upon using the step-by-step process incorporating reading and listening, silence and insight.

Caring for Your Well-Being in Turbulent Times: Saturday, October 19, 9:30 to
12:00

Held at the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre, 2505 Pioneer Rd. Peterborough.
It can be very challenging to prioritize our well-being in these turbulent times. Many ancient and modern sources of wisdom encourage us to engage in practices which nourish us and deepen our connection with others and the “more-than-human” world. Spending ‘slow time’ in nature in an accessible Mindful Nature Connection program is a proven way to experience profound benefits to your physical and mental health, relationships, resiliency, creativity, decision-making and more. During our time together, you will be invited to experience gentle and accessible practices that are designed to help you leave your concerns/worries behind, immerse yourself in nature, tune into your senses, calm your mind and soul, and leave you feeling energized and rejuvenated.
LEADER: Beth McKinlay aims to balance engagement in justice issues with the need to nurture personal well-being and cultivate opportunities for joy, wonder and adventure.
She facilitates Mindful Nature Connection programs for community groups and weaves in insights gained from her experiences as a teacher, naturalist, spiritual companion, climate activist and Crisis Responder.
The programme starts and ends indoors. Bring a mug for tea and dress for the weather.
You may choose one, two, or all three outings. There is a fee for each one.

Facing Death with Life Tuesday, October 15 to Tuesday, November 19
6 two-hour evening workshops 6:30-8:30 plus 1 Saturday workshop 9:30-4:00
At the Fellowship, plus 1 field trip timing TBD and a Funeral Home visit also TBD

This programme facilitates a process of personal reflection, learning, and
spiritual growth focused on the topic of death and dying. Drawing on a variety of
contemporary religious and secular resources, it helps participants move from
viewing death as an abstract concept to developing a personal recognition of its
meaning in their lives.
LEADERS: Barbara Shaw has always liked the big conversations about life which
inevitably includes death. Her spiritual path is expressed through Celtic paganism and
traditional ceremony, time in nature, crafts and gardening. Her professional life as a
RMT and Osteopath required years of anatomy study and occasionally also walking
with those who were dying or grieving. She’s been an instructor, a Hospice volunteer, an
adult education retreat leader, a mother and an unabashed singer.
Fred Kooy: is a retired Occupational Therapist. In his career at the Hospital, he
engaged clients adapting to diverse life changing conditions and experiences. As part
of his duties, he was honoured to serve on the palliative care unit for 10 years. These
experiences helped him to embrace a lifelong journey to appreciate the diversity of the
never- ending cycle of life and death.

Where next? Writing in Transition Times: Friday and Saturday November 29-30
Friday 6:30-9:00pm Saturday, 9:30am-4:00pm. Bring a bag lunch
Beginning with the understanding that the only thing constant in life is change,
this writing workshop invites you to explore the nature, meaning and impact of
living as a being-in-transition. Finding and writing from a grounded centre will
help bring your emerging material into focus. Beginners and experienced writers
are welcome.
LEADER: Jan Stirling-Twist is a long-time Friend of the UFP community and co-
leader of covenant groups. She’s a published writer, adult educator, death-doula,
theatre founder, and arts-based therapist. Jan brings a wealth of experience and skills
to draw out participants’ inner wisdom and facilitate their move from insight to text.

WONDER AND INQUIRY JANUARY TO MAY 2025
ADULT RELIGIOUS EXPLORATION PROGRAMS OF THE UNITARIAN FELLOWSHIP OF

PETERBOROUGH

ALL PROGRAMS (but one) ARE HELD AT THE UNITARIAN FELLOWSHIP, 777 WELLER AVE.

The Minister’s Book Discussions: February__ and _ May _ and __
“There works of theology and philosophy have shaped my ideas and I am
enthused to share them with the congregation. Each Sunday, I try to reflect on
moral, religious and spiritual questions. Now, this is an opportunity to go deeper
with some of the themes that you have heard in my sermons.”
LEADER: Rev. Peter Boullata
February XX at 7 pm. in person. Or/ February XX at 3:30pm online
She Who Changes: Re-imagining the divine in the world By Carol Christ
Essentially a religious philosophy of feminist Goddess spirituality, Christ draws from
process theology to account for a wellspring of new ways of relating to the divine and
the Earth. This readable work dialogues with Charles Harthshorn, a philosopher in the
process tradition and a Unitarian Universalist. Christ touches on issues of power, hope,
ethics, the body, sexuality, mortality, and more. An excellent companion volume is
Christ’s Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding meaning in feminist spirituality.
May XX at 7 pm. in person. Or/ May XX at 3:30pm online Registrants: 6 min to 12
max
The New Cosmic Story: Inside our awakening universe By John F. Haught
Science tells a story about the cosmos and the emergence of life on this planet. It is a
story that is still being told, and we have a part to play in the unfolding drama.
Humanity’s interior life is left out of the scientific narrative, however. Haught explores
this alongside the question of how our understanding of the universe as an unfinished
story informs a contemporary spiritual attitude. This work represents a deep
conversation between religion and natural sciences.
Spiritual Practice Seminars: Saturday, February 1, March 1, April 5 9:00am –
10:30
Members and friends of the Fellowship have been describing a need for more
knowledge about ways to deepen their sense of mindfulness, connection, and
transcendence. Others would like to develop a spiritual practice but don’t know
where to start. These one-time seminars with the minister are designed to
introduce participants to the history, culture, and practice of disciplines from
various traditions. Many of these practices can be found in several different world
religions, and so we will be cognizant of both the universality and particularity of
these exercises.
Included practices are primarily those in which Rev. Peter Boullata is proficient.
There are many more options, of course, and those with experience with other

spiritual practices may want to consider offering their knowledge to the
community as well. The formation of ongoing practice groups is a possibility.
LEADER: Rev. Peter Boullata
February Singing Meditation/Chant Religious traditions cross-culturally have used
repeated rhythmic sung or spoken phrases as a spiritual discipline. Raising one’s voice
with others in singing short, meaningful sentences or words invite both transcendence
and community building. We will explore this practice using secular, Hindu, Wiccan, and
other sources of chant. Singing meditation, song circles, and devotional chant (kirtan)
are significant aspects of several spiritual communities. You do not need to be a trained
singer to participate; all levels of vocal production are welcome.
March Sabbath-Keeping A twenty-four-hour moratorium on work has been a
cornerstone of Jewish practice and spirituality. Some Christian traditions adapted the
practice. We’ll explore the various ways a Sabbath is kept. A consideration of time and
work, including the social justice aspects of time off and the counter-cultural resistance
to overwork and hustle culture, are woven into the practice of keeping a Sabbath. This
workshop will explore the implications of this practice for individuals, families,
households, communities, and our more-than-human neighbours.
April Loving-Kindness “Metta” practice comes to us from Buddhism and involves
sitting quietly and offering loving, kind thoughts to and about certain people in our
sphere, in outwardly extending concentric circles. This workshop will explore the
spiritual teaching behind “metta,” compassion, and what the Christian tradition names
as “agape.” Participants will experience the practice of opening one’s heart to others
and the living cosmos.
Resilience and Acceptance in the Face of Collapse: January 5 – March 2
Sadly, our culture turns away from facing crises in spite of the reality of the
climate crisis and worldwide geo-political-economic instability. In this time of
unravelling and uncertainty, looking towards the reality of collapse, grieving it,
and building resilience is essential. Preparing ourselves, through a series of
videos, readings and refection-writing, participants gather to speak about their
learnings and responses. This programme is a combination of two in-person and
seven online gatherings.
LEADERS: Barbara Herring: “I have been associated with the UFP for about twelve
years and lead the Journeys monthly reflection group. My passion is to share with
others my love of the earth and all living things.”
Marcia Perryman: “I live in Hastings with a commitment to stay awake and spiritually
healthy in these times of collapse. I am an ordained clergy with the United Fellowship of
Metropolitan Community Churches and a social worker who supports men with a history
of abuse. I love to empower people to stay true to who they are and who they want to
be.”
Sessions #1 and 9 are in-person on two Sundays, January 5 and March 2
From 1:00 – 4:00 at the Fellowship over your brown-bag lunch,
Sessions # 2 to 8 are 1.5 hour online, for eight Thursdays, January 9 to February 20
time TBD

Religion is a Queer Thing: Mondays, January 15 to March 5 7:00 pm to
9:00
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are finding a new confidence in
their ability to think spiritually, ethically, and theologically about their life
experiences. Queer theology is emerging as a distinctive, radical and explosive
theological tradition It will affect all churches eventually forcing them to take
notice. It exposes the heterosexist and homophobic thought structures of many
faith traditions, doctrines and practices and it fashions theologies untainted by
misinformation. Elizabeth Stuart’s groundbreaking book, Religion is a Queer
Thing, makes queer theology accessible whether readers were raised in a faith
tradition or think of themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious.’ As a study guide it
contains exercises and liturgies as well as queer theological exploration of topics
like sacred texts, divinity and humanity, good and evil, body theology, the church,
ethics and morality, and death.
LEADERS: Meredith Hill: “An early lesson to ‘trust my doubts’ as a guide to my
important life questions has served me well. Experiences as a straight wife and mother,
and now grandmother, high-school teacher, Anglican priest (briefly) and married lesbian
stepmother all confirmed my passion for questioning the status quo in faith traditions.
Exploring ‘queer theology’ continues the journey.”
Judith Tansley: “Multiple roles as a bereaved life-partner (twice), mother and
grandmother, seminary student, social-justice activist/ worker, chorister and textile artist
have propelled my faith journey among the interweaving strands of theology, creativity,
sexuality and spirituality. I’m excited to be exploring more with a co-leader and
participants.”
Earth Dharma: Mindfulness and Nature:
Tuesdays, March 25 to April 22 7:00 to 9:30 & Saturday, April 26 10:00am to
4:00pm
Earth Dharma is an exploration of Buddhist philosophy and practice that relate to
our connection with our planet. We will study: Duality, the nature of mind and
how and why the self/other split arises; Sacred World, the view of the earth and
all life as sacred; Interbeing, Thich Nhat Hanh’s concept of interdependence;
Drala: how the world speaks to us through living, perceptible patterns of energy;
and Buddhist Activism, how to help the planet without experiencing reaction,
anger, frustration and burnout. Classes include readings, contemplations,
meditations, experiential exercises, and dialogue. The outdoor intensive will
focus on guided and solo experiential practices to foster a deeper relationship
with the natural world.
LEADER: David Marshal is a retired scientist and currently volunteers for Kawartha
Land Trust. He is an experienced presenter of Buddhist meditation and an
environmental activist experienced in wilderness preservation, sustainable forestry, and
wildlife management. This curriculum is based on a course originally developed by
Russell Rogers; used by permission.

From This Vantage Point: Writing for Elders:
Friday April 25 6:30-9:00pm and Saturday April 26 9:30am-4:00 pm Bring a bag
lunch
This writing workshop invites your exploration and self-expression around the
perspectives reached through a lifetime of living. This is a chance to reflect
through your unique writer’s voice on your past, present, and future in the
company of well-travelled peers. Beginners and experienced writers are welcome.
LEADER: Jan Stirling-Twist is a long-time Friend of the UFP community and co-
leader of covenant groups. A published writer, adult educator, death-doula, theatre
founder, and arts-based therapist, Jan brings a wealth of experience and skills to draw
out participants’ inner wisdom and facilitate their move from insight to the written word.