Free Mental Health Film Screening 1/18 @6:30

The Religious Exploration Staff is aware that our children, youth, and young adults are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis and we acknowledge the lack of mental health resources available to families in our community. As such, we are elevating our commitment to educating ourselves and expanding our program’s capacity to hold space for children, parents, and caregivers to connect with one another in mutual support.

One of the first offerings we present in this a screening of What I Wish My Parents Knew, a film by Tell My Story, designed as a mental wellness tool to help parents better understand how to support the mental health of their children.

The event will be a two-part, 90-minute experience with a group viewing followed by a discussion facilitated by a licensed mental health professional. Pre-registration is requested.

This film is not available for general public streaming, but this event is open to the public. We ask that viewers be over 18. On-site childcare will be provided free of charge by a team of experienced and background-checked adults.

If you plan to attend, we recommend watching this talk by the creator of the film to prepare. PLEASE NOTE: themes of self-harm and suicide are present in both the talk and the film.

Direct questions to DRE@dreuucorvallis-org

Post-Holiday Break! 12/28 @1PM

This time of year can be a lot for the ritual keepers known as parents. To honor all you do, we’d like to offer you a break! Drop off school-aged children in the social hall from 1-4 on December 28th. We’ll have a thank you card writing workshop (with helpers for those who haven’t mastered the pen yet), make snacks, and settle in for a movie while you take a few hours to recover from the holiday hustle. To make the most of the thank you card workshop, please send your child with a list of specific people & gifts for which to offer thanks. Pre-registration is requested at

Spiritual Practices Workshop Collective Lectionary

The Spiritual Practices Adult RE workshop has wrapped until April. Thanks to all who participated – we learned a lot together!

Check out the RE new page to see our book recommendations for your personal lectionary and some of our art journaling commitments for practice.

We recently completed Part 1 of the Adult RE Spiritual Practices workshop and it was a true delight!

In our time together, we discussed and defined spiritual practice, explored how to pray (even if the G-word makes you itchy), experienced various forms of meditation, mindful walking and eating, tried our hand at the ancient practice of devotional reading called lectio divina, and practiced art journaling our commitments to daily-ish spiritual practice that we will work on individually until we come together for Part 2 of this series in April.

Several of you have expressed interest in attending this workshop during the day so that you don’t have to drive at night. If you would like to see a round of the Spiritual Practices workshop offered on Mondays at 9:30 AM, email me ( If enough people are interested, we’ll launch a day-time workshop in February.

As a gift from our Spiritual Practices graduates to the wider Fellowship, we offer this list of book recommendations that you might choose to add to your own personal lectionary. If you don’t have a personal lectionary, or don’t even know what that means, you should consider joining the next round of the Spiritual Practices workshop!

Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman
recommended by Sherri Argyres

Love Poems from God by Ana Huang, Eden O’Neill, Ghassan Zeineddine
recommended by Sherri Argyres

Heart to Heart by the Dalai Lama and Patrick McDonnell
recommended by Bonnie Morihara

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God by Anita Barrows & Macy
recommended by Rebecca Bedell

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
recommended by Heather Thomas

Untamed by Glennon Doyle
recommended by Heather Thomas

Beauty by John O’donohue
recommended by Jay Coffman

A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World by Thomas Moore
recommended by Skyla King-Christison

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor
recommended by Skyla King-Christison

The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices by Casper ter Kuile
recommended by Diane Weisner

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown
recommended by Anya Ballinger

Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land by Rabbi Shefa Gold
recommended by Melinda Sayavedra

Adult Coming of Age

Adult Coming of Age is returning to UUFC on Monday evenings, January 8th-February 12, from 5:30 to 7 in Room 7. Unitarian Universalism requires you to be an active participant in building your own identity, a task that sometimes requires letting go or “unlearning” painful lessons from our past. What does it mean to “be you?” What role does your community and lived experience play in constructing a religious identity that matches your unique journey? Together, we’ll explore these topics and more. All are welcome. Pre-registration at is requested.

Prayer with the Family

November’s tool in the Family Faith Formation Toolkit is prayer! Pop over to the RE news page and read about the importance of prayer (even when you’re not cozy with the idea of God), a short and easy formula for prayer (in case you’re feeling rusty), and links to inspiring resources, all to help you grow in strength as the spiritual leader of your family!

Prayer can feel like a loaded word, especially if you have an itchy relationship with the term “god.” Still, children have an innate desire to connect with something bigger than themselves, and parents and grandparents are their best spiritual guides. Even if you’re not a fan of the G word, you can teach your child how to pray.

Why pray? Many studies by secular scientists find that prayer can result in reduced anxiety and increased calm and well-being. It’s a great tool to have in your family’s spiritual toolbox!

Not sure how to get started with prayer? Back in the Summer, Reverend Jill McAllister gave us a simple formula for prayer that anyone can use.

  • address your source of strength
  • name your complaint
  • confess your trust
  • add a petition
  • express praise & gratitude

EX: Dear Spirit of Love, this world & it news cycles are too much to bear! Love is the only thing I know that can fix this. Please blanket this world in your healing power. Thank you for being a force for good that’s always available.

“I’d go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky…up…up…up into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness and then I’d just feel a prayer.”

That’s just one way to pray. I was twelve the first time I heard Anne Shirley’s ideas about prayer. I knew immediately, “That’s the right way to pray!” For me, anyway.

Some people like to pray with ancient language written in far away places. Some prefer to chant prayers or sing them out loud. Some people like blessings, like those written by Kate Bowler in her book Bless the Lives We Actually Have.

Do you remember how you learned to pray? Who taught you? How did you feel? Consider sharing that experience with your children or grandchildren. Remember, there’s no wrong way to connect with the sacred.

A member of our recent Spiritual Practices workshop found their way to my inbox with a request. “Can we take the word sacred out of the workshop so that people who don’t believe in God will feel welcome?” I want to share with you what I shared with this kind-hearted soul. One definition for “the Sacred” is God. Yes. But another definition I’ve seen used is that sacred refers to anything worthy of awe and wonder. You don’t have to believe in God to experience things that are larger than yourself and inspire a sense of awe. Awe is part of the human experience, and prayer is a way to commune with that. What better gift could we give our families than a framework they can use to regularly connect with the sacred?

Homework for Caregivers

If it’s been a while since you prayed, try out Jill’s 5-step plan for prayer and see how it goes. Pay attention to how you feel in your body when you practice prayer. Do you feel tense? Do scratchy feelings well up reminding you of ways that prayer has been weaponized against you in the past? Are you reminded of people who treat prayer like a divine vending machine, always asking for things to be just the way they want them? Or maybe you feel a melting sense of relief when you connect to something that makes you feel small. Maybe it’s comforting to be reminded that you’re not responsible for everything. That something or someone else can handle some of the care of the world and its people.

As you weigh how things are within you, consider your hopes for the children in your life. Are you hopeful that they can connect with their smallness as well as their power? Are there ways you can help your child voice their needs and wants without the entitlement that comes from the ATM-style prayer? Is there a value, to you, in this kind of practice?

These big questions are best when explored with a parenting partner, a friend, or a mentor. Consider calling up someone in your circle of support and asking them to discuss them with you. When you feel ready, discuss them with your kiddos. You might be surprised what you learn.

And, as always, if you want to pop in and discuss prayer or anything else, my door is always open!

Young Adult Pizza Hour

Every 4th Sunday of the month, the young(er) adults of the UUFC are invited to gather after the service to enjoy pizza and conversation together, to deepen social connections between the two newest adult generations of our culture. The term “young adult” is a wiggly one, especially in today’s social climate, where some Millennials identify more with the elder Gen X, while others find they have more in common with the younger Gen Z. As such, our Young Adult Pizza Hour attracts quite the spectrum, a delightful mix of 18 year-old college freshmen all the way to elder Millenials who are starting to inch into their fourth decade. All of these age brackets are welcome!

Every month, regular attendees receive a reminder email in the week leading up to the fourth Sunday with an evocative quote and a few discussion questions to ponder for that month’s meet-up, and then when we get together for pizza (including GF and vegan options) to chat, learn from one another, and commiserate about the struggles of adulting in the world in which we live.

Wheel of the Year Services

Every six weeks or so, we gather at each of the eight points on the Wheel of the Year as an intergenerational community to celebrate holidays from nature-based neo-pagan tradition with story, song, and ritual. Some of these holidays are widely known, like Yule, the Winter Solstice. Some, like Lughnasadh, are not as well recognized. The eight sacred days on the Wheel start with Yule in December, then proceed to Imbolc in February, Ostara in March, Beltane in May, Litha in June, Lughnasadh in August, Mabon in September, Samhain in October, and then right back around the Wheel to Yule. This cycle of celebration echoes the cycles of the changing year, and it honors the interdependent web of which we are all a part,

The stories we tell as part of these services are told together, with an ever-changing cast of voices. Congregants of all ages can volunteer to take roles in these services, bringing the tales alive with costumes, props, and lots of fun congregational interaction. In addition to the services themselves, each point on the Wheel has been recognized as a holiday throughout human history, and so we honor some of these occasions in extra ways, too! A May Pole for Beltane, Hallow’s Eve costumes for Samhain, sing-a-longs for Yule… Honoring the Wheel of the Year calls for celebrations of all kinds! In addition, each point on the Wheel is accompanied by a Celebration Week — a handful of self-guided activities that are appropriate for all ages that deepen understanding and interaction with the truths of each seasonal celebration.

We hope you’ll join us!

YRUU Values Scavenger Hunt

Last Sunday, the YRUU participants went on a scavenger hunt around the building to see if they could find evidence that UUFC members act on their values. Thanks to your awesomeness, they found plenty of clues that the adults in our congregation are actively living into our faith! Thanks for being such excellent UU role models!

UU Advent

UU minister Ralph Roberts has created an Advent series to help us learn and delight in the ways that our Unitarian and Universalist ancestors helped shape many of the winter holidays.

You are invited to engage with this offering in 2 ways:

1. Anyone can register HERE to receive a very short daily email from December 1st through the 24th. Each note will contain a sweet piece of our religious heritage to warm your winter days and help you reflect on your place in this long line of justice makers and creative souls.

2. Children who attend the Holiday Fair on December 2nd will be able to make a UU Advent calendar at our craft table with the fun UU history facts attached to a small daily treat bag. 

Ginny Gibson on the Road!

You may already know that Ginny Gibson courageously took an Adult RE workshop assignment and transformed it into one of the most beloved Sunday services of the year — her Knowings and Callings talk for Pride Month. What you might not know is that last week she quietly took her moving presentation on the road to the Church of the Brethren in La Verne, California. In this full circle moment, Ginny spoke in the Spiritual Formation program as a kind of thank you to the congregation that once supported her so well and that featured prominently in her presentation. She was welcomed by old friends and an evening reception where members of the LGBTQIA+ community came together to reflect on several decades’ worth of social change.

Ginny, we are so proud of you! Thanks for being brave enough to shine your light near and far!