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Adult Religious Growth and Learning

The Purpose of the Adult Religious Growth and Learning Program is to nurture and stimulate the religious and personal growth of the adult church community, and the community at large, by offering a varied and cohesive program within the context of the larger Unitarian Universalist tradition and religious community.

New classes are being added frequently to our Program Guide - updates are announced in our weekly newsletter, The Window. A variety of programs are offered. The classes are divided into three categories: Religious and Spiritual Growth, Personal Growth, and Knowledge and Skills. Classes are taught by volunteer members and friends of the congregation and by church staff.

Spirit in Practice Curricula

All of our many and varied Adult Education classes fall within the Eight Spheres of Spiritual Growth as outlined by the UUA’s Spirit in Practice curricula.

The idea of spiritual practices encourages individuals to take responsibility for their own spiritual development by spending time working on it, deliberating on its meaning and how best to pursue it, seeking to understand the sacred through reading and the counsel of others, and seeking to have contact with the sacred through personal reflection and prayer.

For further information on this curriculum, see the UUA's "Spirit in Practice: Program Introduction".

Conscious Communication  - Saturdays February 25 to March 25 and April 8 from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm, at our South Bay Campus, with Ron Auerbacher. Based on the underlying principles of Non-Violent Communication, Focused Attention, and Teachings of the Zen Center of San Diego, Ron Auerbacher will share how to: Align our Communications and Actions with our Spiritual Aspirations; Identify How Core Beliefs and Habitual Behaviors Impede Effective Communications; Differentiate Stimulus from Cause; Develop Compassion and Empathy; and Make “Do-able” Requests.  Please pre-register on the registration page.


Sundays - Open Heart Sangha, from 4 to 6 p.m., Rm 323
Practicing in the tradition of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Most Sundays the group practices sitting meditation and walking meditation, has a short lesson, shares about the practice, and sings. Please bring a cushion or mat to sit on, or chairs will be available. Open to everyone; drop in, registration not required.

1st Sundays – Cosmos: The Great Story, 1-3p, Rm 323, with Keith Mesecher.

Celebrate the birth and evolution of the universe and humanity’s role in this magnificent, cosmic unfolding; the great powers at work in it and our damage to it. Discover our potential to be a positive, healing and transformative force, living in mutually enhancing relationships with the life and non-life forms that constitute the earth community. Drop in.

2nd Sundays - Shape Note Singing: The Sacred Harp, 3-5p, Rm 113, with members of the San Diego FaSoLa Singers.

Everyone is welcome.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing. It matters that you want to. Your voice is your harp. Let’’s sing together, without instruments or formal training, using shape note notation. Or just stop by and listen. Drop in, registration not required.

Most Mondays  – Yoga with Toni Turbyfill, 10-11a, Common Room,

A restorative yoga class with a focus on personal body awareness and self-care; to aide in stress relief for both mind and body, by mindfully practicing the poses, guiding our minds to focus on positive thoughts and lighting our lives with laughter and community. After our poses we have a 15-min meditation. Bring a yoga mat and a blanket. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Avoid heavy scents. Come early to get comfortable. Drop in.

Most Thursdays – Chi Gung with Lolly Brown, 9a, South Bay

Incense Chi Gung (Xiang Gong), a Buddhist exercise consisting of 15 simple movements and 1 standing posture. This set is specifically designed to activate the meridians and improve health and harmony of mind and body. Xiang Gong is easy to learn and can be practiced by people of any age or physical condition, in standing, sitting or prone positions. The exercise uses breath, movement, postures and meditation techniques. Benefits can be felt from the very first time you practice. Please wear loose clothes. Drop in.

Tuesdays (Starting Oct 4) - InsightSD Foundations of Mindfulness, 6:30-8:30p, Hillcrest, Rm 323

A half-hour meditation, followed by a recorded talk by Joseph Goldstein on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (the Path to Awakening), and then a mindful discussion about what we have listened to and how we can incorporate this valuable material into our lives. Talks coordinate with his book of same name. Please feel free to join the group weekly or intermittently, as your schedule and preferences allow. See insightsd.org for more detail.

Tuesdays – Sufi Healing, 7-8p, Hillcrest, Rm 321, with Jamil Larry Sweet.

Explore ancient individual healing practices of the Sufis; the uses of meditation, breath, sacred phrases and wazifa; and a healing ceremony. On-going, drop in.

Every 2nd and 4th Friday – Memory Café with Kathy Gilbert, LCSW

9:30-10:00a, Coffee and Socializing 
10-11:30a, Structured Program
Common Room.

A gathering place for individuals with early memory loss, for those who worry about memory problems and forgetfulness, and for their care partners. Safely relax, share stories, discuss, socialize and learn, play games and other activities. The Café is not only therapeutic and educational, it enables members to make new contacts, build trusted relationships, and learn how others deal with memory loss and its consequences. For further information contact http://memoryguides.org/. On-going, drop in.

Saturdays (Starting Oct 1) - InsightSD Sitting Group, 9:30-11:30a, Hillcrest, Rm 323

This sitting group/dharma study starts with a ½ hour silent meditation. Newcomers as well as experienced practitioners are welcomed. Regular attendance is not required. We study and practice traditional Buddhist topics and explore the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Please register online so you will be notified of weekly talks and suggested practices: http://insightsd.org/sitting-group. Contact irene@insightsd.org with questions.

Saturdays (except 5th Saturdays) - Rasa Coaching Lab: Life Energy and Insight through Contemplative Healing with RJ Palmer, 10:30a-12:30p, Room 320

Learn to help heal the wounds of time and memory and move forward into actualizing our deeper yearnings and potential. Through playful practices of contemplation and healing, new life skills are cultivated for “Practicing the Presence” of the “royal rasa’s” (essences) of love and joy. Drop-in. 

Quarterly, 2nd Saturdays – Dances of Universal Peace, Meditation (optional) at 7p, Dancing at 7:30p, Bard Hall, with Louise Jacobus. (The July Dances are a special outdoor event on the Lower Patio.)

Coming up:
Jan 14, Apr 8, Jul 9, Oct 14, 2017

The Dances of Universal Peace use sacred chant, song, simple circle dances, and music to create an opportunity where hearts can open, spirits can soar, and a deeply-rooted peace can be experienced. The dances are a modern form of interfaith devotional movement based in the time-honored wisdom traditions of the world. No experience is necessary. Just bring your curiosity and your open heart and be prepared to join in the dance! No registration required.

2nd Saturdays - Kirtan and Chanting for Peace, 6:30-8p, Bard Hall or Common Room, with award-winning Spirit Soul and Friends.

Join us for a moment of relaxation meditation, peaceful mantra chanting, music, yoga, dance. Come and engage in the spiritual practice of kirtan a non-denominational practice, that has been passed down since time immemorial and a constant in all paths and religions.(But, what is kirtan really?) Drop in. 

Thursdays – Easy Chair-Yoga, 12-1p, Common Room:

This gentle, easy yoga is practiced sitting on a chair or using one for support. The poses are adapted from Hatha yoga for people challenged by standing for long periods or sitting on the floor. However, this is a great practice for everyone; it builds flexibility, body awareness and strength. We include restorative yoga and poses for home, office, or car practice. Recommended, but not required: yoga mat and two blankets. Join Paula Johnson, Yoga Alliance Certified.. Drop in, no registration.

Building Sacred Ground  Register.

This four session experience (the individual classes are listed below) is a must for anyone who wants to: get to know a small group of people very well, explore and share their individual journeys and learn ways to become engaged here at First Church. By attending these sessions, you will become more deeply involved in church life and have a better understanding of Unitarian Universalism.

Building Sacred Ground is strongly recommended for people considering membership. Building Sacred Ground is also highly recommended for established members who want to deepen their relationship with their faith, this church and this community.

January 14 Session Three: Getting Involved, 10-11:30a Common Roon
January 15 Session Four: Tea with a Minister, 1-2:30p  Common Room

For more details, please check the Online Program Guide. While most of our classes are "drop in", some classes and workshops request registration to prepare adequate facilities and supplies. For those classes you may pre-register on-line.

You do not need to be a member of First Church to join in our classes.
Validated parking is available.
We are on San Diego MTS Bus Route 3 and near MTS Bus Route 10.