IMPORTANT UPDATE for Brilliant Minds

An incorrect registration link went out in the weeklies and the newsfeed for the Brilliant Minds Workshop. If you believe you have already registered via one of those , please take a look at THIS registration link and verify that it is the one you used. If you signed up on the clipboard and or via the bulletin board QR code, you are already good to go! Thank you so much for your interest in this offering!

IMPORTANT UPDATE for Brilliant Minds

An incorrect registration link went out in the weeklies and the newsfeed for the Brilliant Minds Workshop. If you believe you have already registered via one of those , please take a look at THIS registration link and verify that it is the one you used. If you signed up on the clipboard and or via the bulletin board QR code, you are already good to go! Thank you so much for your interest in this offering!

Camp Blue Boat Save the Date

Mark your calendars because Camp Blue Boat is back for middle and high school youth!

Save the Date: June 30 – July 5, 2024

Location: Camp N-Sid-Sen in Harrison, ID*

Campers experience community, spirituality, justice & equality with UU youth from throughout the region and have TONS OF FUN on the shores of gorgeous Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Camper registration will open in February!! We will share the registration link here when it becomes available.

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

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!

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!

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!

Pacific Western Region Cluster Con

Acting on our commitment to fostering cross-congregational youth connections, UUFC kicked off the new year by hosting a regional overnight for teens from Washington and Oregon with worship, arts, and small group exploration centered on this year’s theme, building a new way.

Special thanks to this event’s youth deans, Michi Araki, Kameko Araki, and Haven Christison, as well as supporting adults Mark Aron, Becca Bedell, Steve Ferrell, Brandon Abbott, Ryan McConnell, Tyson Bryant, and Anya Ballinger. You represented the spirit of our congregation beautifully and created a memorable weekend for all in attendance. Thank you!