Adult Programing – What’s Doing with OIR?

OÍR stands for Outreach, Integration, and Retention and it’s a task force convened earlier this year by UUSA’s board of trustees. OÍR a Spanish word that means “to hear,” and we spend much of our time hearing the voices and stories that awaken energy in our congregation . . . and not just on Sunday mornings.

Lately, we’ve been focused on enriching adult programming opportunities and launching a new series of (mostly) monthly programs designed to add a bit more sparkle to weeknights and jazz up those late fall and winter afternoons when the weather is raw and the walls are closing in.

The series is called “One-Night Stands” but it’s not what you think. What the phrase means to us is something like dipping your toes in, exploring something cool without a major time commitment, and well, being playful, curious and alive to the full spectrum of our lives at this moment. Some of these could even turn into small group ministries.

Here are the programs we’ve been working on, in various stages of development:

Our first, How Buddhist Practice Impacts Our Lives, was held on September 24 at 7:00 p.m. We were curious about how various UU members and friends integrate another religious tradition into the values and ways of being in the world. Who says a blended faith is not possible? Seventeen people turned out, plus three presenters and one moderator; most attendees were UUs, but three or four people were not members of the congregation (including two college students). Presentations were both informative and open-hearted and appeared to engage the audience deeply.

Up next:
Wednesday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m
. New Perspectives on Aging in the Valley: An Evening with the Am- herst Senior Center’s New Director
Free and open to the public, but free-will donations will help offset expenses.

Mary Beth Ogulewicz, JD, LCSW, brings an impressive skill set to her new job at the helm of the Amherst Sen- ior Center. There’s no doubt that her professional training and experience as a licensed clinical social worker and attorney offer solid grounding to her work.

It is, however, her personal warmth, inclusive values and bold vision that animate her, with a discerning eye to what works (and could work better), and who’s at the table (and who is not). Hear more about key issues:

  • Transportation Challenges
  • Concerns of the Newly Retired
  • Caregivers: Their Dignity and Struggles
  • Honest Conversations
  • Programming that Respects Abilities, Talents and Interests of the “Whole Person.”

Winter/Spring 2019-20 Program Topics:

  • Interfaith Climate Vespers: Cultivating Active Hope with Clear Eyes
  • Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You: Reflections on the Peace Corps for a New Generation
  • New Frontiers in LGBTQ + Understandings: Talking Pronouns and Beyond

If any or all of these programs call to you, let us know: Contact Catharine Porter, Jeanne Ballantine, Bob Romer or Pat Rector. You could help with one event, or help us plan and implement these programs by joining the OIR task force. We also welcome program suggestions, speaker recommendations, and brute strength. Newcomers are especially welcome.

Another Exciting Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for a person with journalism or PR skills to think through and development a publicity infrastructure that reaches into the larger community with a warm wel- come. Skills needed: passion for accuracy, strong writing skills, discerning eye and ear, computer skills. This person would look at what we have and bring it to another level. If interested, email or call her at 360-932-4960.

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