Adult Religious Education

At First UU, learning isn’t just about absorbing facts; it’s about becoming open to all the exciting possibilities of our existence as human beings in this world. It’s about learning to honor the dignity and worth inherent in ourselves, our neighbors, and in the world community. It’s about learning to honor our planet and its network of living things. Finally, it’s about taking our faith out into the world. — Dr. Sheri Phillabaum, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Welcome to First UU’s religious education! We have numerous adult and youth offerings, as well as special classes and programs. So spend some time getting to know us; call or e-mail with any questions, and we hope to see you in church soon!

Religious education for children and youth can be found here.

Check our events calendar to verify meeting dates/times listed on the class pages, or contact Sheri for more information.

Religious Education


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Unless otherwise specified, all classes are open to new participants at any time. (Covenant Groups, described under the Programs page, are closed unless designated as open.)

On Sunday mornings during the religious education hour, we have three continuous classes as well as periodic classes that meet for a determined length of time.


the Religious Explorations class

Religious Explorations is a year round class exploring various topics of interest for religious liberals. Frequently the format is a recorded half-hour lecture, usually in a video format, followed by a half hour’s discussion. The class occasionally reads books of interest to Unitarian Universalists. Examples of materials used include William Murray’s Reason and Reverence, Forrest Church’s Love and Death – My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow, and The Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy.

When: Sundays, 9:35-10:30 AM
Where: Fellowship Hall, Channing-Murray Building
Facilitator: Mark Ackerman

the Spiritual Seekers class

Spiritual Seekers is an ongoing class in which participants share and discuss various topics and concerns in a caring and respectful learning environment. Some topics will be suggested by the facilitator and others will arise at each meeting. Frequently, these topics are related to spirituality as Joseph Campbell and other well known authors may define it.

When: Sundays, 9:30-10:30 AM
Where: Darwin Room, Thoreau Building
Facilitator: Jeff Addington

the World Faiths Book Club

World Faiths Book Club is a group of truth seekers who come together to read and discuss books that offer a diverse perspective on various aspects of world religions. Some discussion focuses on major world religions’ understanding of particular topics like ethics, faith, evil. WFBC is open to anyone – newcomers are not expected to have read the book in order to join in the discussion!

When: Sundays, 9:30-10:30 AM
Where: Beatrix Potter Room, Longfellow Building
Facilitator: varies with books

Parent Discussion Group: In this informal gathering, parents share the joys and challenges of raising children in the liberal religious tradition. Deep listening and respect for varying points of view create a safe place for parents to explore multiple perspectives. Topics will be determined by the group.

When: Sundays, 9:30-10:30 AM
Where: Sophia Fahs room, Longfellow building
Facilitator: Terry Chadwick

graphic for Big History class

The Unitarian Universalist Philosophy Class has met continuously since 2003. For the last two years, we have studied: “Big History: The Genesis Story of Science.” So far, we have covered history from the “Big Bang” 13.75 billion years ago — to the emergence of mammals in the Cenozoic.  65 millions years ago — to human prehistory’s ‘Cognitive Revolution’ 70,000 years ago when humans evolved our current cognitive capacities.

We now are beginning to explore the birth of ‘Human Civilization’. Recently, we began studying the ‘Seventh  Threshold of Complexity’ — ‘The Agricultural Revolution’.        In the second half of the course, we will cover the human story from the emergence of fixed settlements  9,000 years ago to extensive globalization of the third millenia.

Everyone is welcome. We need to hear your viewpoint. You do not need to have attended any of the earlier classes.

When: Second and Fourth Sundays, 7:15 PM
Where: Fellowship Hall, Channing-Murray Building
Facilitator: Bruce Beck


SHORT-TERM CLASSES, Winter/Spring 2018

Jan 14 – March 18: Build Your Own Theology
Sunday mornings, 9:30am-10:30am, in the office conference room

In this class we will engage in a systematic, disciplined and communal process to build individual credos, or statements of individual beliefs. This curriculum discusses all the important questions of religion from a UU perspective, allowing each participant to come to their own understanding of what makes sense and works. It’s a wonderful way to get to know other Unitarian Universalists and to begin to explore your own faith.

Facilitator: Debra Loya

Feb 12 – March 5: Process Theology Class
Monday evenings, 7:00pm-8:00pm, in the office conference room

There are old assumptions about who God is, how we define God, and how we relate to God. Many liberal thinkers, some of them UU and some not, have developed new understandings and assumptions about God. Over the four sessions, Rev. Josh will share this theological model that sees God as a verb instead of a being. This class is open to members and non-members alike.

Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Joshua Snyder

March 25 – May 5: Chinese Philosophy and Religion
Sunday mornings, 9:30am-10:30am, in the office conference room

Join us for an exploration and discussion of Chinese philosophies/religions.  We will focus primary on Daoism and Confucianism.  Although our discussions will surely lead us to an examination of important ancient Chinese concepts such as: the I Ching, ancestor worship, divination, and more.  Chinese religions differ from those of the West in many ways no less than the fact that they are non-theistic or at least not monotheistic in the Western sense.  Much of the information we will look at will come from a BBC religion website – and Stephen Prothero’s excellent book, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World (It is not necessary to but the book).

Facilitator: Terry Goddard


The Mauk Memorial Lending Library offers books and media relevant to Unitarian Universalism, on an honor system.
Sundays before and after the worship service
Tim Berners Lee Room, Thoreau Building

The Emerson Bookstore PLUS! is open every Sunday. The Emerson Bookstore PLUS! provides members and visitors an opportunity to purchase books for all ages about Unitarian Universalism and with liberal religious themes, as well as bumper stickers, jewelry, fair trade coffee and chocolate, tee shirts and more.
Sundays following the worship service, approximately 12:15 PM
Sanctuary Classroom
Contact: Carol Collins