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Christian Spirituality for Unitarian Universalists Affinity Group

Wednesday, April 20th

The Christian religious tradition is amazingly diverse and varied in its thinking about the Divine and in its approaches to human spirituality. In the Christian Spirituality for Unitarian Universalists Affinity Group, we will open ourselves to growing in our personal spirituality by exposure to the practices and perspectives of the many-faceted Christian spiritual heritage through the centuries and around the world.

The group will meet once a month. What we explore will be guided by the group’s interests as we search together for that taproot into the perennial wisdom that runs through all religious traditions.

Among the gems we might explore are different meditation and prayer practices taught through the centuries. We can look at Eastern Orthodox spiritual practices, a variety of monastic spiritual practices we can use today, the perspectives of the Christian mystics, The Desert Fathers and Mothers, practices of different traditions within Protestantism. We can also consider the perspectives of more contemporary spiritual writers for ideas to deepen our personal spirituality.

This group will be co-facilitated by Jim Maletta and Tom Levi.  Jim brings to the group his formal training from a Franciscan seminary, his prior membership in the Capuchin order, and a Master’s in Religious Studies.  He has also taught theology and spirituality for several years and done some pastoral work in inner-city Cleveland and ecumenical youth ministry work in the Milwaukee area.

Tom is a retired lawyer who brings diverse life experience to the group as well as having studied with a number of contemporary teachers in spirituality such as Matthew Fox and Richard Rohr. He has an interest in multiple religious traditions.  Tom has conducted many workshops on a wide range of topics in Christian spirituality, theology, and scripture for a broad range of churches over the years. He has also done prison ministry work in maximum-security facilities.

We will provide answers to some questions here, but if you have other questions, please feel free to email or call Jim Maletta. His contact information is available on Realm.

When will this group meet?
Our initial meeting will be Wednesday, April 20th at 7 pm at UUCW.  At this meeting, we will determine the day and time most suitable for our subsequent meetings. The plan right now is to meet once a month for about 1.5 hours.

Do I have to be Christian to join this group?
Definitely not. All you have to be is open to learning more about the diversity of Christian Spirituality.

What is spirituality?
For our purposes, we look at spirituality as the recognition of a feeling or sense of belief that I am part of something greater than myself, something which goes beyond sensory experience. It is the recognition that we are part of a larger whole that is cosmic or divine in nature.

How will this group explore spirituality?
Christianity as a “religion” is a system of beliefs and practices. Despite what some people think, this “system” is, and always has been, very diverse and not as “systematic” as some people think it is. Beneath the “system” of Christianity, there is a well of deeper wisdom that we can draw on to help us more clearly sense our personal place in the universe—the cosmic or divine order of things. These spiritual practices are aimed at helping us develop our full human potential. Some folks refer to this as the perennial wisdom at the heart of all religions. The various spiritual practices of the Christian tradition are, at their heart, aimed at putting us in touch with the divine in our personal lives and in deeper ourselves– which some call the soul.

As we, hopefully, leave the pandemic in the rearview mirror, we hope you will join us in a new beginning for this different approach to Christian spirituality for Unitarian Universalists.  Please RSVP to Jim Maletta to let us know of your interest in this group. We will be developing a questionnaire for those who express interest to find out more about your interests. This will be sent to you as soon as we have your contact information (and the survey is developed).


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