Kendyl’s Corner: Adult Religious Education Opportunities
One of the church’s most basic tasks is to stand as a counterweight to social
pressure, received wisdom, and the excesses of popular culture. As presidential
campaigning goes full swing, we are subjected more than ever to candidates, and
pundits, and advertisers, talking and talking — telling us what is wrong, what should
be done, what they believe, and what we should think and do. So much input can be
overwhelming, and leave us with information overload; it can also make us feel we
need to shout back into the melee, just to keep our own integrity and sanity.
We are also going to have a great deal of information coming this year as we move
further into our congregation’s building renovation; details about plans, possibilities and money,
questions, ideas and opinions – all important. In the midst of this cultural and institutional barrage, it is
going to be crucial that we practice deep listening, the kind that hears beyond the urgency and anxiety
of the moment, and helps us find wisdom and meaning out of chaos. We do this by giving other people
exquisite attention, offering the time and care that hears with the heart, and by listening reflectively to
ourselves, as we often discover what we mean when we hear ourselves saying it.
Our adult religious education programming for the coming fall and spring offers several opportunities
for us to practice various types of listening and discernment together. One will be a monthly small
group led by Rev. Gibbons, with a focus on Spiritual Listening, in which members will explore ways in
which meaning emerges, is present, and changes in our lives. Through a structured process, we will
listen deeply to each other, and ponder how the spirit of life appears in our challenges and our
triumphs, our loves and our fears, our disappointments and our hopes, and the growth of our
becoming. In this setting, we create a space of stillness together, where the dust of busy-ness can
settle, and we can remember who we really are, and what we most deeply cherish.
Another opportunity will be a daytime session of the course “Constructing a Personal Worldview.” This
ten week program will be offered from 1:00 to 2:30 on Wednesday afternoons in September, October,
and November with Rev. Gibbons. If you have been interested in this class, but evenings don’t work
well for you, this is your chance. Through readings, activities, presentations, and group discussion, we
will examine some of the enduring mysteries of human existence, such as the origins of life and the
universe, good and evil, death and mortality, purpose and integrity. We all have beliefs; this class
invites you to discover how yours fit into humanity’s ongoing conversation with each other, and to
experience our profound diversities and similarities as we confront life’s great questions together.
You can also join Rev. Diana Hughes for a time of spiritual connection through prayer and meditation
following the service on the 2nd Sunday of the month in the Children’s Chapel. All spiritual traditions
will be honored; no dogmatic approach used. Participants are invited to experience serenity and union
with the sacred as we pray, listen and meditate. No need to sign up for this; drop in whenever you feel
so moved. Previous meditation practice is not required; a respect for all religious paths is encouraged.
In addition, Jordinn Nelson-Long, our intern minister, will be teaching two classes this year (a writing/
preaching covenant group in the fall on Wednesday nights, and an improv workshop in the spring), as
well as an 8-month deep listening group on Sunday mornings. She will also co-lead the Our Whole
Lives sexuality class for adults as a weekend workshop in the spring.
Some groups have limited numbers, so look for sign up sheets on the bulletin board at church, or get in
touch with any of us if you’d like more information on any of these opportunities—there is a space just
for you. — Rev. Kendyl