I like the term “religious exploration” because I think it more accurately reflects what we offer and what people seek. Religious exploration can happen in worship, in social action, in small group discussion, and in learning opportunities. It happens whenever we are invited to deepen our connection to each other, to our faith tradition and to the interconnected web of life. It happens when we engage deeply in community as we explore who we are, why we are here, and how we are to be together.
I believe that helping people of all ages tend to their spiritual life and development is a foundational task of faith community. We offer opportunities for people of all ages to build trust and a sense of belonging, to experience awe and wonder, and to form a UU identity.
I have developed and written religious exploration curricula for adults, taught religious exploration classes for all ages, developed and led retreats for adults, and led Covenant Groups (small group ministry). I have also developed and offered opportunities for visitors to learn about our faith and community, and for new members to deepen their connection to the church. We can offer opportunities for people to connect no matter where they are in their spiritual journey.
Religious exploration can also offer opportunities for us to make sense of our world. In response to the #MeToo movement, a group of lay leaders at First Unitarian-Portland and I developed a curriculum for Women’s Reflection Circles. The Men’s Community also stepped up and developed a curriculum for men to explore the impact of this movement on their lives. At the request of UUA staff, we shared our curricula so that they may be used by other congregations seeking to make meaning from this social movement.
The religious way is the deep way, the way that sees what physical eyes alone fail to see, the intangibles of the heart of every phenomenon. The religious way is the way that touches universal relationships; that goes high, wide and deep, that expands the feelings of kinship.Sophia Lyon Fahs