Fall 2017 Adult Ed_Page_01

At First Unitarian Society we believe learning and spiritual exploration are life-long practices. Throughout the year we hold events and classes to provoke the mind, enrich the soul, and engage in community. If you are interested in teaching a class at First Unitarian Society, please email Janet Swanson.

Winter & Spring 2018 Registration

To register for Winter & Spring Courses, please click the name of the course from the list below and find the registration link at the bottom of each course description. You can also download a paper form by clicking here 2018 Winter and Spring Form.

To register for a Spiritual Practice Group click here. A description for each group can be found by clicking the name of the group from the list below.

Winter & Spring Courses

The Awakening Joy Experience

The Awakening Joy Experience

with Rev. Kelly Crocker and Suzanne Buchko

Wednesdays, once a month, February 7, March 7, April 4, May 2 and June 6

6:30 – 8:30 pm

$30 pledged/$40 non-pledged

“Awakening Joy can lead each of us to live with dignity, compassion and gracious freedom. Savor and practice the exercises…use them to open your heart and transform your life. Your days on Earth will be full of blessings.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

The Awakening Joy Experience is 5-session workshop based on topics from James Baraz’s online course and book, Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness.  The practices and principles taught in this course aim to help us develop our natural capacity for well-being as well as gain deeper insight that will promote authentic joy.

Is this a time to focus on joy? With so much difficulty, uncertainty, and challenge in our world and in our lives, we say, definitely, yes! Bring out all the goodness inside, as well as the kindness, wisdom and joy. You effect everyone around you when that happens.  The more you can get in touch with everything that is good and beautiful inside, the more you feel alive, and want to work for a better world and bring more joy into the world.

During our five monthly meetings, Rev. Kelly Crocker and Suzanne Buchko will explore material from the online course, facilitate discussions and share experiences around the themes and practices presented in the course. Workshop topics will include gratitude, loving ourselves, opening to the difficult, caring and compassion, as well as others.

It is recommended, not required, that you read Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness, by James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander.

Suzanne Buchko is a longtime meditator. She has taken the MBSR class at UW Health, studied with local teachers Mare Chapman and Jan Shephard, and visiting teachers Sharon Salzberg and James Baraz. She sits with the Madison Insight Meditation Group and practices Crane Style Qi Gong. She was a facilitator for the FUS Quest program.  Rev. Kelly serves as the Minister of Congregational Life at FUS. She has been deepening her own meditation practice for several years and looks forward to contemplating the experience of mindfulness with others. When not at FUS, Kelly enjoys her passion for plant-based cooking, her obsession with knitting, and having fun with her two sons, Sam and Owen.

Click here to register.

The Discipline of Religious Repair

Tuesdays, February 20, 27 and March 6, 13, 20

6:30 – 8 p.m.

$20 pledged/$25 non-pledged

with T. Kay Browning, Ministerial Intern

Religious trauma is an increasingly researched and resourced topic. For those who have suffered pain or separation from family due to traumatic religious experiences, the work of repairing our spirituality and reconciling with our religious past can be very difficult. This class will strive to provide a supportive and well-resourced environment where the topic can be safely explored.

Ministerial Intern T. Kay Browning has been on his own religious journey from his roots in Mormonism to his current path of UU ministry. Involved in that path has been an intimate experience with religious repair, as T. Kay worked to make sense of his deeply spiritual and ritualistic upbringing.

Click here to register.

Facing the World with Hope - FUS Annual Spiritual Retreat

Friday, April 20, from 6:30 – 9 pm & Saturday, April 21, from 9 am – 4 pm

Holy Wisdom Monastery, Middleton WI

$50 pledged/$75 non-pledged

with Rev Kelly Crocker, Rev Scott Gerard Prinster, & Janet Swanson

We are living in difficult times and many of us are experiencing daily frustration and even despair. How might we respond to today’s challenges and continue our work in the world without burning out, numbing out, or losing heart? How do we hang on to hope and find a way of living with purpose, helping to bring about the kind of world of which we dream?

This interactive retreat at Holy Wisdom Monastery will help you transform fear and despair into inspiration and empowerment. Learning from the work of Joanna Macy, eco-philosopher, author, and activist, we will experience the healing power of gratitude, find compassion in honoring our pain for the world, embrace our connections with each other and all life on this planet, and realize our potential to make a difference.

This retreat will include experiential practices, time outdoors, movement, song, inspirational readings, and simple rituals. You will be engaged, invigorated for the work ahead, and given tools for dealing with the challenges of living in difficult times.

Registration has closed.

Mindfulness and the Dharma

Tuesdays, April 3, 10, 17, 24

6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$30 pledged/$40 non-pledged

with Dave and Lori Creswell

Are you interested in beginning a meditation practice?  Could your current practice use a tune-up?  In this class, we will explore the powerful technique of meditation that emphasizes mindfulness immersed in the body and breath.  This ancient practice can serve as the foundation for a less distracted mind and facilitate clear seeing into present moment awareness of our experience.  We will also explore and practice other aspects of the dharma (the Buddha’s teachings) and how they can impact our meditation practice and our daily lives.  Participants will be encouraged to practice meditation on a regular basis throughout the course in order to gain the most benefit.

Lori and Dave have both practiced meditation in the Buddhist Theravada tradition for over twenty years. They have taught courses on mindfulness meditation, loving kindness and awakening joy at FUS and other venues.

Click here to register.

Movement & Well-Being

Sponsored by the Unitarian Dance Fellowship

Mondays through May 21; 1 – 2:30 p.m.

$5/session, $50 for the complete series

with Kristanne Stone

Open and welcoming to all ages and abilities.

This afternoon drop-in class offers the time and space to engage the wisdom of body and mind. With open hearts and open minds, we explore movement and music in a nurturing and supportive environment. By gently and organically moving our bodies in floor (chair) warmups, improvisational movements and dance phrases, participants move in gentle and nourishing ways, allowing mind, body and spirit to connect in healthy and life-giving ways. We invite you to join in the joy of community.

Kristanne Stone received a BFA in Dance from UW-Stevens Point and, upon graduating, danced with Improvisational Dance Theater in Chicago. As co-director of her own company for ten years she taught, performed, and choreographed. She also taught for UW-Madison Continuing Education and for UW-Madison Dance Department. She has danced with Unitarian Dance Fellowship at FUS, Prairie Unitarian, and Chalice Stream in Ladysmith. She loves to boogie with her nine-year-old daughter, Cypress.

Click here to register.

New Avenues and Opportunities in the Way We Live Together

Tuesdays, February 6 and 20

6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

$10 fee

with Bob and Lucy Lasseter

Have you ever wondered why the vast majority of neighborhoods in American towns and cities are missing a true sense of community? When I grew up in the Miami Shores the entire block was our playground and I knew which houses I was welcomed into. Today few experience this sense of community. Over the last 20 years concepts have been emerging to build community in today’s world. The two we will explore are pocket neighborhoods and cohousing.

For a growing segment of people who want a stronger sense of community, pocket neighborhoods and cohousing offer a welcome option. In a pocket neighborhood, neighbors have a shared stake in the common ground they live next to. These are settings where nearby neighbors can easily know one another. Cohousing adds intentional community to this design concepts. Future residents purposely come together around clearly defined shared values and visions, and then plan and build the physical environment, and manage the community once it is built.

Bob is an emeritus professor of energy systems at the University-of-Wisconsin. Lucy is a retired elementary school teacher. She taught in Madison for over 30 years. Both Lucy and Bob have been active in cohousing for the last three years. They have visited 5 cohousing communities and have been active in promoting the development of Sister East, Union Corners and Madison Cohousing.

*Childcare available upon request within one week of the class.

Click here to register.

Thursday Morning Book Group

Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

Thursdays, February 8, 15, 22 and March 1

10 – 11:30 a.m.

$10 fee

various facilitators

In Waking Up White, author Debby Irving shares her struggle to understand racism and racial tensions. She offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. She reveals how well-intentioned mindsets perpetuate ill-conceived ideas about race. She has changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Join us as we read and discuss her writing and how it may impact our own lives.

Now a racial justice educator and writer, author Debby Irving works with other white people to transform confusion into curiosity and anxiety into action.

Click here to register.

Welcoming Spring with Pysanky, Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Saturday, March 17

9:30 – noon

$15 fee; $20 maximum fee for families

with Suzanne Buchko

Come spend a morning learning to make the traditional Easter eggs of eastern Europe.  Pysanky!  Patience and time are the only requirements to learn to write on eggs with beeswax.  A batik-like process builds multi-colored patterns as eggs are dipped in dyes and written on again and again. Recommended for adults and children over 12 (please contact Suzanne to see if it is appropriate for younger exceptions).

Suzanne Buchko learned to write pysanky from her grandfather when she was four years old.

Click here to register.

What Is Interim Ministry?

Offered by our FUS Board of Trustees and The Interim Minister Search Task Force

Two stand-alone sessions will be offered:

  • Sunday, February 25; 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. OR
  • Tuesday, February 27; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

No fee.

What is interim ministry?  What is its purpose?  Where are we in the search process and what comes next?   What might we expect over the two years following our Senior Minister’s retirement?

Members of the Interim Minister Search Task Force and members of the Board of Trustees invite you to become part of the conversation, as together we walk through this challenging and exciting time in our congregation’s history.

Several members of the Board of Trustees and of the Interim Minister Search Task Force will lead the discussion.

Click here to register for February 25.

Click here to register for February 27.

Writing as a Commitment to Racial Justice

Thursday mornings, March 8, 15, 22

10 – 11:00 a.m.

$25 pledged/$30 non-pledged

with Araceli Esparza

Welcome to a contemplative writing course which will explore multicultural writers, and invites you to reconnect to Racial Justice literature. We will explore Maya Angelou, Gloria Anzaldua and other prolific writers.

Using a social justice lens, we will look at the spirit of the text, and then explore how these writers describe their daily challenges to larger social constructs. As participants, you will read the text, and be guided through crafted prompts meant to harness your own voice as it relates to oppression, conflict and memories.

Araceli Esparza is a teaching artist. Her work is in various anthologies and journals. She is a graduate from Hamline University, with strong migrant farmer roots, and was named 2015 Women to Watch For by Brava Magazine.

Click here to register.

Spiritual Practice Groups at FUS

Centering Prayer

Meets every Tuesday from 4:45 pm – 5:30 pm.

Free and drop-in. Open and welcoming to all.

Join us if you are looking for a way to begin your practice or to companion with others in the practice.

Contact Kim Stege at or 608-244-5875.

Insight Buddhist Meditation

Sunday evenings from 6 pm – 8 pm

Free and drop-in. Open and welcoming to all.

An introductory session is offered the second Sunday of each month.

Contact Lori Creswell for more information at

Japanese Crane Meditation

Two weekly sessions held at FUS through May.

On Wednesdays, Bobbi Zehner and Joan Heitman lead sessions at 12:15 pm in the Atrium Auditorium.

On Thursdays, Ann Schaffer leads sessions at 5 pm.

Free and drop-in. Open and welcoming to all.

Japanese Crane Meditation is a gentle standing set of movements with a quiet musical background. It is appropriate for a wide range of ages and abilities.

For more information, contact Ann at



Open Meditation Group

Meets Thursday from 6 pm – 6:30 pm.

Free and drop-in. Open and welcoming to all.

Contact Rev. Kelly at for more information.