Design a site like this with
Get started

UU SpiritLife Conversations

Fall 2022

UU SpiritLife has offered spiritually focused programs to the three Hartford CT area Unitarian Universalist churches for almost 5 years, helping UUs to develop and deepen meaningful spiritual lives.

Continuing in that tradition, the conversations below are open to all who wish to participate on a drop-in basis without preregistration.  Participants are asked to read, make notes, and reflect on the session topics (linked below in blue) in advance and come prepared to share their reactions and reflections, as we collectively deepen our spiritual life.

The conversations are 90 minutes in length.  All conversations are on Saturday mornings from 9 – 10:30. These zoom gatherings are scheduled for every other Saturday but there is no commitment to participate in all conversations.  The final session will be in-person only in Fiske Hall at the Universalist Church of West Hartford.

Participants may join the conversations at using the Meeting ID:  952 722 999.  Telephone access to Zoom is available at 646-558-8656.  Please plan to join a few minutes before the 9:00 AM discussion start time. 

To go directly to the zoom conversation room, click here.

Note: Some of the links below may open in a separate tab in your browser.

September 24.   Anne Lamott Reflects on Prayer and Living.    Anne Lamott published this reflection in a New York Times op-ed in June (the reflection is copied into this link).  Lamott has written many times about prayer.  We’ll consider our own contemplative response to living and the call to deepening as we go through the tumult of our modern lives.  Facilitator:  David Gonci

October 8.  On The Road With Thomas Merton. This long article by Fred Bahnson won a Best Magazine Article award in 2020. Merton was a Christian monk but his ideas range far beyond his chosen faith. This is not a quick read but you will find ideas that drill deep. Although there are options to: 1) watch an 11-minute condensed-version video or 2) to listen to a narration by the author, we suggest that you take your time reading it. The words are important and will spark many ideas and reactions in you. Jot some notes! Facilitator: Judy Robbins

October 22 – A Spirituality for the Second Half of Life.  Spiritual director Margaret Guenther describes the second half of life as that time “when we are finally grown up….our perspective changes.”   A different kind of spirituality may be helpful than at other times.  What would it look like?  What life changes should it take into account?  Facilitators: Nancy and Stan Kemmerer   

November 5.   Verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching. In this session, we’ll reflect on the Taoist concepts of non-dualism and wu wei – effortless action – by reading verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching. Tom Gervais will facilitate. This reading is copied at the bottom of this page.

November 19.  Insights from a Nondual RabbiAs we approach the holiday season, we’ll consider how Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s insights from interspiritual sources resonate with our own deepening and our experiences of the upcoming season of light and love.  Facilitator:  David Gonci

December 10.  Holiday In-Gathering. We’ll participate in some simple contemplative practices and share our reflections on the season.  There will be an opportunity for socializing and refreshments will be provided.  Facilitator:  David Gonci


UU SpiritLife – Verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching – November 5 reading

as translated by Jonathan Star

Everyone recognizes beauty 

   only because of ugliness

Everyone recognizes virtue

  only because of sin

Life and death are born together

Difficult and easy

Long and short

High and low – 

  all these exist together

Sound and silence blend as one

Before and after arrive as one

The Sage acts without action

  and teaches without talking 

All things flourish around him

  and he does not refuse any of them

He gives but not to receive

He works but not for reward

He completes but not for results

He does nothing for himself in this passing world

  so nothing he does ever passes