Spirit Groups: Coming in October

Spirit Groups is a congregation-wide program we’re starting this fall. A Spirit Group is a group of four or five people that comes together virtually for one hour each week to delve into an array of issues relating to the spirit. The purpose of the Spirit Group is to deepen connections among FRS parishioners as you explore your own beliefs and values.

Spirit Groups will be randomly assigned. Once the group is formed, members will determine a day and time to meet regularly. (Groups may determine on their own if they’d prefer to meet safely in-person.)

Each week, all Spirit Group participants will receive a prompt, something on a spiritual or philosophical theme. This might be a provocative quotation, or a link to a brief article or video. Themes/questions might include:

  • Do science and spirituality complement or contradict one another?
  • Are humans innately good?
  • What role has fate played in your life?
  • Is one born with an innate purpose in life, or does one create it?
  • Where does evil come from?
  • Is your perception of reality the same as mine?
  • Is suffering a necessary part of the human condition?
  • Is there life after death?
  • What is the purpose of prayer?

One person in each Group will serve as facilitator—to ensure that all members are heard, and to keep things running smoothly.

Each weekly conversation will last for an hour and will include a chalice lighting and brief reading, personal check-in, reflections on the theme, discussion, and closing.

These are, of course, big questions, and not meant to be “covered” in the span of an hour. The time spent with your Spirit Group is intended to expose you to different ideas and to give you food for thought and further reflection.

Spirit Groups will run for 10 weeks, after which time the group may choose to continue. If the whole group does not wish to continue together, individual members might choose to join a new Group. The first session will be spent on extended introductions, icebreaker questions, and reviewing/amending a group covenant.

Fall Groups will begin the week of October 17. To register: https://bit.ly/SpiritGroupsFall2021


Your Journey of Faith—In-person and Zoom options!
Wednesdays in person 7-8:30pm, October 13-November 17
Fridays on Zoom, 9:30-11am, October 15-November 19

Want to explore your spiritual journey? Take a look at how your spiritual beliefs and practices have evolved over your life? What events, people, places have informed your faith and your growth? Want to discover patterns, articulate what gives your life meaning, share your story with others? If so, we hope you can join us for this virtual five-session workshop series—whether you hope to eventually share your Journey of Faith with the congregation or not. This will prepare you to do so, but producing such a piece is an option, not a requirement.

Please register by October 12: http://bit.ly/yourjourneyoffaith


Alternatives to Violence
Wednesdays, October 20-November 17, 5:30-9pm, in person

This Fall FRS members trained as Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitators will offer an AVP basic workshop for FRS members and friends. In an AVP workshop, participants work through experiential activities to build community, affirm one another, and practice communication skills that help in conflict resolution.

The workshop design was initially built by men in prison in New York state with help from Quakers and Civil Rights activists. The goal was to confront the violence in the prison, to bring the men together for their mutual benefit, and to help younger men avoid the bad effects of being incarcerated.

Over the past 40 years, AVP workshops have been used in diverse settings to help individuals to reduce conflict, trauma, and isolation in their lives and to strengthen their community connections. A focus on resilience and connection in the face of challenges is central to the AVP design. Many people have found participation transformational in their lives.

Preregistration and a commitment to full participation are required. Use this link to register: https://bit.ly/FRSAVP

For more information, call Kathy Desilets at 978-255-4277 (please leave a message) or contact her at kathydesi@gmail.com.


FRS Film Forum
Fall Focus: The Seven UU Principles
Tuesdays, November 2-December 14, 7-8:15pm, Zoom

Please join us for enlightenment, inspiration, and connection!

In this series, we will discuss a variety of films, each relating to one of the seven UU Principles, while building community, articulating our beliefs, and diving into Unitarian Universalism. All films are available for viewing on Netflix or Prime; contact Julie if you don’t have access and we can have a viewing at the church. Watch the film before the session and come prepared to share your reflections, listen to others, engage in discussion, and reflect further.

Register here by October 29: https://bit.ly/FRSFilmForum

1—Dead Man Walking
2—Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
3—Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring
4—Life of Pi
5—Knock Down the House
7—My Octopus Teacher


Forest Walks and Meditation – Maudslay State Park
Mondays, October 25, November 8 & 22, December 6 & 20, 9-10:30am

Much research in recent years has brought to light the benefits of being in nature mindfully, using all the senses, giving rise to practices such as Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku) in Japan and Scandinavia. Join us for five such walks, experiencing fall turning to winter. Walks will be silent and will include a number of mindfulness practices, and will be followed by tea and conversation.

Register here by October 22: https://bit.ly/ForestWalksandMeditation


The Spectrum of Awareness 

In this eight-week virtual program, participants will meet once a week for one hour to explore and reinforce a daily practice of both formal mindfulness meditation and mindfulness in the activities of our daily life.

Our manual for this program will be a book written by Diane Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at the UCLA Center for Mindfulness Research – The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness. (Having the book is highly recommended, but not required.)

While each of us is our own teacher, a community of learners supports us as we continue to deepen our understanding and practice of mindfulness meditation. Both new and experienced meditators are welcome.

If you have questions about this program, please contact David Turner, a longtime student and practitioner of mindfulness meditation, who will be the group facilitator: davidyturner@comcast.net or 617-669-1950.

When we know who wants to participate, we will decide the day and time for our meetings. Register here by October 15: https://bit.ly/SpectrumsofAwareness.

For more information contact Julie Parker Amery at julie.amery@frsuu.org.


Questions? Contact Director of Faith Formation and Spiritual Exploration Julie Parker Amery at julie.amery@frsuu.org.

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