Theme: Deepening Faith
Overview: Building Bridges is an all-ages, lighthearted, and inclusive seven-day conference grounded in Unitarian Universalist values. We celebrate diversity, freedom of exploration, and a sense of wonder. Our mission is to forge and strengthen the connections between our families and conferees-new and old. All are welcome to join us as we spend a week enjoying the beauty of Star, connecting and/or reconnecting with our faith, ourselves, and each other in the beautiful natural setting of Star Island, located off the coast of New Hampshire. Building Bridges strives to have something for everyone, and we encourage folks to participate as much or as little as they would like. During morning programming, adults can choose between our two workshops, Eight Spheres of Spiritual Practices and UU History. Both are designed to give participants a deeper understanding of our shared UU faith and develop a clearer sense of personal beliefs and identify practices that resonate with them.
Eight Spheres of Spiritual Practices
Cap: 25 people
Even with all the beauty that surrounds us, it can be challenging at times to stay connected to what we hold sacred. The goal of this workshop is to nurture a deepening spiritual life and spiritual centeredness. To also consider the value of spiritual practice, in any variety of forms, as a means to deepen faith and enhance the quality of everyday living. Spiritual Practice deepens connection to what we hold sacred and to what brings us joy.
Whether you follow a path in which you identify as Humanist, Jewish, Christian, Pagan, Theist, Atheist, Agnostic, Mystic, and/or any of the other paths, this workshop will offer a forum for learning, sharing,and growth that can enrich your faith journey.
You may be wondering what exactly are the Eight Spheres of Spiritual Practices. Let's start by taking a look at something familiar, such as the USDA'S Food Pyramid. The intent of the USDA's Food Pyramid was to model a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Many individuals seeking a physically healthy lifestyle will use the Food Pyramid as a guide. Similarly, the intent of the Eight Spheres of Spiritual Practices is to model a well-balanced approach to achieve spiritual health.
Unitarian Universalist tradition will not tell you specifically what Spiritual practices to engage in, but the collective wisdom of the world's religions and the insights of modern psychology do point to a general outline of a "healthy diet" for spiritual health. This "healthy diet" is what we refer to as the Eight Spheres of Spiritual Practices.
I look forward to connecting with you on this path of your spiritual journey.
Claiming Our Ancestors
Learning Unitarian Universalist History as a Spiritual Practice
Cap: 25 people
Humans learn through stories. Our religious tradition does not have one shared sacred text of stories, but we do have a rich history of human beings who stood up for justice, who led others in finding ways to connect to the divine, and who challenged power structures that tried to define religion in a way that excluded many. By looking to these stories of human determination and courage, we can find elements to build our own spirituality, rituals, and anchor our values. We will trace the history of our faith tradition, making plenty of stops along the way to ask how we can create our own tapestry of stories that give us courage, peace, and grounding today.
Beth Manchester-Howell teaches history in a public school in Massachusetts. Her passion is teaching about the complexities of moral decisions. She recently completed a Master of Divinity degree with a focus on religious literacy at Starr King School for the Ministry.
When she isn’t in the classroom, Beth loves hiking, searching for the next dog she will adopt, and cooking vegetarian food for a crowd. She is the mom of three awesome kids who also love Star Island.