This has been a hard year, and at the same time, we’ve done a remarkably resilient pivot to online life at OUUC. I want to pause to acknowledge the losses, anxieties, and griefs of this year. And I want to extend my deep appreciation for everyone who has come together in a spirit of trying new things and offering grace to one another.

As we continue to care for ourselves and our world, this coming year will be online again. While online life has its challenges, I’m excited for the framework we have planned to keep us all engaged and resourced for another season of being together in spirit but not in body.

This fall we will be rolling out a new model for engagement and learning in the congregation, which we are calling “Pathways”. Put simply, pathways are guides or “road maps” that will help everyone find their way through the many programs and activities of the congregation, and through the many wonderful resources that are available for learning.

The pathways are not meant to replace our previous programs for children, youth, adult education, faith in action, or small groups. Instead, the pathways are an organizing principle that brings all of that together for a lifespan, multigenerational, integrated approach to learning and community. So while it may be presented in a new way, you can still expect to find adult education classes, book groups, children’s programs, and covenant circles on the schedule this year.

There are going to be four main pathways, with some sub pathways.

Pathway One: Membership/Leadership

The place Spirit/God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. — Frederick Buechner

This pathway will guide people into our community and help them discern and develop their gifts, become equipped with skills for leadership, and be sustained in their service.

Pathway Two: Faith in Action

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. — Lila Watson

This pathway will guide people into greater understanding of justice, peace, ecological care, and other ways that our faith is made real through our actions, and then is in turn shaped and developed by those actions.

Pathway Three: Faith Development

Faith formation is how the telling and description of our most sacred stories gives life meaning.  –Anthony Pinn

This pathway will guide people in the deepening and maturing of their spirit or faith. It will be divided into four sub paths:

  1. Spiritual Practices: practices (including the arts and sciences, meditation, and more) which sustain and grow one’s spirit
  2. Religious Literacy: knowledge and understanding of other faiths and traditions
  3. UU Foundations: knowledge and understanding of our Unitarian Universalist tradition
  4. Life Journeys: intentional engagement with the process of being human from birth to death

Pathway Four: Living in Right Relationship

Without community, there is no liberation.  –Audre Lorde

This pathway will guide people in the skills and understandings of right relationship, including conflict, covenant, and communication.

Each pathway will be multigenerational and will include options for different learning styles and levels of engagement. And dabblers are welcome! No one will need to sign up for one pathway and follow it through to the end, this is a map but we know that everyone’s journey through it will meander and spiral and look a little different from anyone else’s.

The pathways will also be based on the educational model of “praxis”, which connects learning to action to reflection. Reflection on our learnings will happen in monthly Learning Circles, which will be another opportunity for small group engagement.

There are going to be many opportunities for engagement with our inner work of lifelong learning and our outer work of collective liberation and a world transformed by our care. I am looking forward to taking this journey with you all.

If this brief introduction leaves you with questions, plan to attend our Q&A after the worship service on August 16. You can email your questions now to Rev. Mary as well.


In faith,

Sara Lewis

Director of Community and Faith Development