Wellspring – Spiritual deepening for Unitarian Universalists
UU Wellspring™, developed at the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, is a heart-opening, small-group experience grounded in deep listening. Four years of UU Wellspring programs are available, each lasting nine months. Each UU Wellspring program incorporates five elements designed to balance knowledge of UU history and theology with personal spiritual growth and engagement with the world:
- Participation in a small-group community.
- A commitment to daily spiritual practice.
- Individual work with a spiritual director.
- Readings and resources for knowledge and reflection.
- Commitment to live out our values in the world.
Materials used in UU Wellspring include books, sermons, articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, TEDtalks, podcasts and other easily accessible resources.
The four UU Wellspring courses
UU Wellspring – Sources
This is the level-one prerequisite for all other years of UU Wellspring. The goal is to ground participants in Unitarian Universalism and develop the practice of deep listening and commitment to spiritual practice and spiritual direction
The curriculum provides information and opportunity for reflection around Unitarian Universalist history and theology and the “big questions” that are central to our Unitarian Universalist faith, including human nature, death, joy and forgiveness.
UU Wellspring – Spiritual Practices
The goals are to deepen participants’ spiritual practice, to expose participants to other spiritual practices, both from our UU tradition and from other faith traditions and to strengthen awareness of our own connection with the holy as a foundation for serving the needs of the world.
The curriculum is built around four categories of spiritual practice: Building awareness as the head, cracking open the heart, expanding the sense of our whole body and extending our hands in service.
UU Wellspring – Deep Questions
The goals are to inform participants’ understanding of the Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles and their meaning in our lives and to explore the connection between the principles and powerful questions about how the principles and our own beliefs affect our actions in the world.
The curriculum alternates between sessions on the Seven Principles and the deep questions of our lives, including human nature, forgiveness, accountability and our relationship to the planet.
UU Wellspring – Faithful Actions
The goals are to explore all the ways in which we can live out our faith, including through service to community, family and friends, our congregations and the world, and to create a safe place in which to examine how each of us puts our own faith into action.
Participants will: Explore the many areas in which we can put our faith into action, commit to offering intentional service over the course of the program and address questions of burnout, hopelessness and maintaining our own spiritual health while trying to repair the brokenness of the world.
“What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” asks the poet Mary Oliver.
When does UU Wellspring meet? How much time is required?
UU Wellspring Sources, the level-one Wellspring course, is a commitment to a spiritual journey that begins with a day-long retreat on a Saturday in September, followed by two-hour meetings twice a month, October through June. Contact Linnea Nelson about current course offerings. Participants and facilitators in Wellspring Sources should also plan on time for daily spiritual practice, a monthly meeting with a spiritual director, and time for reading the assignments and reflecting on them.
The other levels of Wellspring meet as agreed by the group members.
Who should participate in UU Wellspring at UUCF?
Anyone who has been involved with UUCF or a UU congregation for a while, is committed to learning more about Unitarian Universalism and wants to find a deeper spiritual life within UUCF.
How is this program different from other small groups?
UU Wellspring is different because of the time required and the commitment to a daily spiritual practice and working with a spiritual director. It focuses on understanding the sources of our faith and the transformations in Unitarian Universalist thought, as well as our own beliefs. The readings cover a multitude of topics including history, Transcendentalism, process theology, humanism and the crises of life. We are asked to think about how our faith sustains us and what it calls us to do in the world.
How do I sign up for UU Wellspring – Sources?
UUCF will offer two UU Wellspring Sources groups in 2017-18. One will meet on Wednesday evenings and the other on Friday mornings. To sign up for one of the groups, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact Lydia Lewis, Linnea Nelson, Pete Krone or Lisa Taylor.
How do I sign up for the next-level UU Wellspring groups?
For those who have completed Wellspring Sources, UUCF offers the Spiritual Practices, Deep Questions and Faithful Actions groups as interest in those groups is expresses. For more information or to sign up, contact Linnea Nelson.
What are UUCFers saying about Wellspring?
- “The Wellspring class confirmed what I always believed to be true – that our congregation is made up of deep thinkers who strive to fit their own life experiences into an array of spiritual practices and beliefs. That we are able to share our stories in an open and secure environment is inspirational to all as we incorporate what we’ve heard into our own lives.”
- “I’ve most enjoyed the sense of community, trust, and fellowship that has developed among us from opening our hearts, spirits, and minds to each other and our own selves. Sharing and experiencing our spiritual practices with each other, including the vulnerability in both leading and participating, has greatly enhanced my own spiritual journey as I’ve incorporated aspects from probably all of them … into my own practice – experiencing them is so much more than just talking about them!”
- “I found the UU history illuminating and it helped me connect more to our denomination. We really do have a foundation and values. UUism goes way beyond ‘believing whatever you want to believe.’ The discussions about our own beliefs and their foundations were earnest and thought-provoking. We were always open and kind to each other in our exploration. I also love the sense of trust, affection and community that developed among all of us week after week.”
- “This class has a powerful intentionality about it. For many years I have been a silent seeker of connection to that which is greater than myself. Each transcendent experience deepened my sense of awe and wonder. There has been great joy in the ability to share experiences, explore my own beliefs and listen to the thoughts of others through the structure of this course. The daily commitment to a spiritual practice, the assigned readings and twice monthly discussions with other UUCF members has helped me broaden my experience of the divine. Something profound and holy is experienced when we share our doubts, questions, meaningful moments in the security of a small respectful group of fellow seekers.”
I still have questions. How can I find out more?
Past and current Wellspring facilitators Lydia Lewis, Linnea Nelson, Pete Krone and Lisa Taylor would be happy to talk with you. For more information online, check out the UU Wellspring website.