This page contains documents that might be discussed or referred to during our Sunday service.
Registration for Spring Within programs is OPEN!!!
We are currently building new communities of learners in both of our Gathering Our Selves programs (for Black, Indigenous, People of Color participants) and our Un/Learning for Liberation program (for white participants). Join us for a deep dive into the personal, transformative, spirit-growing work each of us needs to do around issues of race, identity, and justice, in relationship with other folks who share some similar experiences!
Within is a 12-week spiritual formation program that mixes multi-media learning and reflection at your own pace, processing in small groups, and worshipping together in community! You can access it entirely online and the materials are accessible for up to a year after the start of the program.
Registration will run from February 1st through February 29th and the Spring Term will kick off on March 12th, 2024.
Whether this is your first time joining us or you are considering returning for another term of the program, we would love to have you as a part of our learning community! Spring and Fall content is different, so even if you were with us in the fall, you can join us again for entirely new learning.
Please read below for more details about Beloved Conversations, our three Within programs, and this upcoming Spring Term. You are welcome to use any of the information in this email to promote in your congregation or share with other folks you think might be interested. You can also us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a promotional packet or ask any questions you might have!
Check out our Beloved Conversations website for lots of information about Within and all of our exciting programs!
Follow our Beloved Conversations page on Facebook for updates!
In the spirit of liberation,
Your Beloved Conversations: Within Team
Rev. Kierstin Homblette Allen
Rev. Elka Carrier-Ladd
Dr. Mark A. Hicks
Rev. Sarah Osborne
Katie Resendiz de Perez
Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons
Rev. Deanna Vandiver
Dr. Jenice View
What is Beloved Conversations?
Beloved Conversations—the signature offering of The Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School—is a program for Unitarian Universalists seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice.
What are the Within programs focused on and who are they for?
Within focuses on the internal work that each of us needs to do, as we engage personal explorations of race and our work for racial justice. This work is different for white folks and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) and Within is done entirely in race-based caucuses/courses. The courses for BIPOC are Gathering Our Selves 1 and Gathering Our Selves 2 and the course for white folks is called Un/Learning for Liberation.
An Invitation to BIPOC to the Gathering Our Selves courses:
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s (BIPOC) work has been a neglected conversation, as much anti-racism work has been focused on the learning needs of white folks. For those of us who identify as BIPOC, we recognize the need to understand the impact of racism in our lives - particularly our spiritual lives - and the choices we have made to survive. In this curriculum, we look at issues such as how and why Unitarian Universalist values matter to us, how race has shaped our personal and communal lives, the dynamics of why and how we stay in the faith—and, of course, what a theology for people of color in a white-dominated world might look like. This is VERY exciting work—conversations some of us on the design team have been waiting FOREVER to have!
NOTE: Gathering Our Selves is run in two courses- one for people who have completed the Fall Term and one for those who are new to the program in the Spring. The two cohorts will have opportunities to come together for worship and connection.
An invitation to white folks to the Un/Learning for Liberation course:
Wherever white folks are on the journey toward collective liberation - whether you are just waking up to systemic racial injustice or your heart has been breaking for a long time - you are invited to join us for Un/learning for Liberation. We will explore within ourselves as individual white people, within our family and community systems, and within the system of whiteness, which has impacted and limited our ability to truly be present with and connected to ourselves and our siblings of color. But we get to choose to be and do differently. Beginning within ourselves. This is not a place to memorize definitions and rules to follow; instead, it is a space for justice-making and spiritual formation, and therefore a place where we honor complexity, nuance, and grace. We will bear witness to one another as we engage a process of introspection, honest reflection, and challenge to what we always thought we knew or were too afraid or embarrassed to ask. We will learn together about how this system has impacted us and dis-connected us from ourselves and our BIPOC kin and how it was implanted in us without our consent. And we will unlearn some of our deeply ingrained habits of perception, thought, and behavior, while practicing spiritual skills for humility, resistance, and solidarity.
NOTE: Un/Learning for Liberation will run in one course, regardless of folks’ previous participation in the program. Content will be different in Spring than in the Fall Term, but you may begin in either term.
How is the Within program structured?
All Within courses include:
6 bi-weekly, online Lessons, completed at your own pace, utilizing videos, music, and readings, accompanied by reflection prompts and suggested conversations with a Critical Friend chosen by the participant;
6 bi-weekly small group conversations with a Learning Pod of 4-6 other participants from your course, scheduled and facilitated by the small group itself, with a suggested agenda tied to each Lesson; and
3 monthly, live Meaning Making Sessions on Zoom, facilitated by the Beloved Conversations Team, with other participants from your course.
This program does not require you to sign up as part of a larger congregation or community. However, if you choose, you can agree to engage the curriculum with folks you are already in relationship with from your congregation or community. Given the additional challenges of leading anti-racism work in congregations and communities, religious professionals will be sorted into and gathering in religious professional-only Learning Pods and Meaning Making Sessions.
IMPORTANT: This is a virtual learning opportunity. Basic skills with email, simple websites, and the online meeting platform Zoom are essential to successful participation in this program.
How much does the Within program cost per term?
Sliding Scale Pricing (ages 18+):
$300 US dollars per person
$350 US Dollars per person*/**
$400 US dollars per person**
Full and partial scholarships are available for those who need them (see more info below)
*Reparations Note: White participants with the means to do so are encouraged to pay an additional $50, in recognition of the historic legacy of racist economic policies and the ways in which generational wealth and greater access to economic opportunity have privileged white people as a group for hundreds of years. These extra funds will help provide scholarships to those who need it to participate in this program.
**Interdependence Note: Regardless of your racial identity, if your class privilege and/or professional expense budget allows you to pay more so that others may pay less, please consider adding an additional contribution to your total. These extra funds will help provide scholarships to those who need it to participate in this program.
Equity Note: Regardless of your racial identity, full and partial scholarships are available to all those who need them. Please contact us at email@example.com before registering, to request a scholarship.
When does the Within program run?
Key dates for the Spring 2024 term:
February 29- Registration Closes
March 12- Start of Spring Term
June 4- End of Spring Term
How do I register for Within?
Click here for more information and to register NOW! (here's the link, if you need to cut and paste: https://www.meadville.edu/light/fahs-collaborative/beloved-conversations/within/within-how-to-register/)
Visit the Beloved Conversations website for more information about Within, as well as our other current and emerging programs:
Among: Focused on the institutional, systemic anti-racist change needed in our congregations (for congregations whose members have participated in Within)
Beyond: Focused on our collective work for racial justice, in partnership with our local communities (IN FUTURE DEVELOPMENT, for congregations who have participated in Among)
Interested in other excellent programming, open to everyone?
The Leadership Institute for Growth, Healing, and Transformation (LIGHT) at Meadville Lombard is delighted to present its Spring 2024 programs! Registration for all of the following programs is now open.
Theologies of Racial Justice Rev. Dr. Andrea Johnson
February 27, March 5, and March 12, 2024, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Central
Healthy Boundaries for Leaders: A Trauma-Informed Approach Rev. Dr. Kathryn House
Friday, March 22, 2024, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Central
Make Space for Yourself: Self-Care and Intimacy for Clergy and Religious Professionals Daniel Boscaljon and Angela Amias
Friday, April 26, 2024, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central
Faith Formation Reframe: A Week Immersion in Chicago Rev. Tandi Rogers
July 29, 2024 – August 2, 2024
In-person at Meadville Lombard Theological School (Chicago, IL)
Visit the LIGHT Spring 2024 Programs page for details and to register.