Our brains learn through stories and as long as we are living, we never stop learning.  The way we were taught stories from birth helps to shape the way we see and understand the world.  When we experience new things we try to ground these new experiences into our familiar stories.  As we hear stories from family, friends, and community, we incorporate these stories into who we are and then we retell them. As faithful Unitarian Universalists we must do our best to stop repeating the stories that are most resonant and consistent with the dominant culture.  What we should really be striving for is a new way of being and a new narrative.  First, we need to acknowledge that stories prevent us from thinking differently and then, in the process of forming our beloved community – one that is multicultural, multiracial, and multi-generational – we need to craft our new stories.

A transformative learning experience is an experience that causes you to question what you know.  Adults can question their thinking, their stories, and they can consciously create new stories and seek transformational experiences.  When we experience a disconnect between what we know and understand, we grow.  At the UUSA we use spiritual practices to help us to accept and welcome the discomfort that precedes transformative learning.

Adult Religious Education programming works to:

  • Complement the congregational mission
  • Deepen connections between our spirituality and our faith
  • Provide alternatives to Sunday worship
  • Provide experiences and information to help people develop their UU identities
  • Respond to needs and desires of adult congregants
  • Help people learn how to live our UU faith

The Adult Education programming is being developed based on requests and also on volunteer interests.  If you have an interest that you would like the UUSA to explore in a small group learning format please contact the Director of Religious Education, Rebecca Fricke.

See below for Adult RE options:

New to Unitarian Universalism or the UU Society of Amherst?  We invite you to join us for a brief Getting to Know UU class. This class is designed to help you understand a little about our history, shared principles, and traditions. Whether you are new to UU, or just new to the UU Society of Amherst, we want you to feel at home here. There is no pressure or expectation regarding joining. This is just a way to get to know you, and help you get to know us. We’ll share information and stories, answer questions, and have a lot of fun. Child care is available upon request and there is no cost.  You can sign up at the Welcome Table after the Service. We do ask that you sign up so that we can plan the food and child care.


UUSA Open Studio –  Winter 2018-19

Do you paint?  Would you enjoy some company while you paint and like to get helpful feedback on your work? If so, this is for you!  UUSA will be holding Open Studio for painters of all media and all levels in our beautiful Social Hall on ten Fridays this winter.  You can paint or draw whatever you’d like: bring photo references to paint from, finish something you started elsewhere such as plein air pieces, or just make up something. You can come to one or come to all sessions – it’s up to you!  We will paint from 9am to 12pm, then share a bag lunch and friendly critique from 12pm to 1pm on the following first and third Fridays of each month:  November 2 and 16, December 7 and 21, January 4 and 18, February 1 and 15, March 1 and 15.

6Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Please let me know each time you plan to come. SusannePersonette@gmail.com
  2. Bring a donation of $5 to $10 cash each time to help cover the cost of heating and lighting the space.
  3. Bring your own cheap plastic shower curtain to protect the floors and tables around your work area. Or use one of ours.
  4. Bring all your own paints, brushes, canvases, portable easel, etc.

Email me with any questions. Hope to paint with you this winter!

Susanne Personette


UUSA Open Studio Flyer 2018-19


Are You Interested in Joining a Task Force to Lead in the Examination of White Privilege In Our UU Society?

Our RE committee has organized a summer reading of The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear, by Rev Dr. William J. Barber.  We will meet to discuss the book on Sunday, October 28th after the service.  Spring boarding from this congregational book read, Steve and Susan Rice wish to form a small task force to lead the congregation in studying white privilege and white supremacy issues.  The task force would align with this year’s UUA General Assembly’s selected congregational study action issue on Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy.  They would like to continue the study, leading to action.  If you are interested in being a part of a task force to plan and lead in this work., please contact Steve (steveatd1@gmail.com) or Susan (scarewrice@gmail.com) or call 413-253-4485.

William Barber is coming to UMass on Sept. 20.  Click this link to get tickets.  https://www.umass.edu/history/feinberg-series

Also, note that we have this event coming up in early October.

“Deeper Than The Skin”: A Musical Presentation on Race in America performed by Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway

When:  October 6, 7:00 – 9:30 PM

Where:  UU Society of Amherst, 121 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01004

Their Story

Reggie and Greg have a unique story.  Born three days apart, ancestors through the same portal of History, Richmond, VA, they are on a pilgrimage together – one that began three decades ago.  The racial divisions that are the reality of America started them in two different worlds, but the amazing bonds of music, respect, admiration, and shared vision have brought them together as friends and colleagues.

Where Do We Go From Here

The work of justice making is long and difficult.  They share not only a story of overcoming, but provide a living, breathing example of celebration, creative resistance, and joy.  There are many who say that they are the embodiment of those traits – that their talent and communication skills make their performances infections.  Both are committed professionally to inspiring people, to encourage others to take that step beyond their comfort zone.  As they reach across the racial divide, they encourage others to foster the relationships that are, in the end a path to healing.