Religious Education for Adults 2017-05-24T14:18:39+00:00

Tuesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 pm at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, sponsored by the Learning Associates. Please register on the Religious Education bulletin board or at

Yoga Off the Mat
February 7, 14, 21 & 28

How do the yoga sutras intersect with and diverge from Unitarian Universalist principles? (How) do these philosophies apply to contemporary yoga practice and contemporary life? Although yoga is most often recognized by its physical postures (asanas), practitioners may also use breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation, chanting, and dietary restrictions. Historically, yoga was more of a philosophy for living than an exercise regimen, including ethical guidelines for personal growth. We will use Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, considered one of the foundations of classical yoga practice, as our historical touchstone and Michael Stone’s book The Inner Tradition of Yoga as a way of connecting the sutras to contemporary life. Suitable for practitioners, those considering becoming practitioners, and those who are interested in learning about the practice that is becoming widespread in the United States, including two classes weekly at UCE. Facilitated by Jessica Tomell Presto, UCE member and certified yoga instructor. Click here to register.

Yoga Off the Mat Reading List

Postmodernism & the Legacy of the Enlightenment
March 7, 14, 21 &28

We are caught between Postmodernism and the legacy of the Enlightenment. This conflict affects how we think of science, other cultures and even liberal religion. The class shows how we got here and suggests that we need more reason, not less. Recommended: The Enlightenment: A Very Short Introduction and Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction. Facilitated by Rev. Jerome Stone, UCE’s Affiliated Community Minister. A former United Church of Christ pastor and philosophy teacher, Jerry is the author of A Minimalist Vision of Transcendence and Religious Naturalism Today. Click here to register.

Enlightenment Reading List

Update on Atheism
April 4, 11, 18 & 25

We’ll consider each of the four “angry atheists” from 10 years ago (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Harris) when they first became well-known. Where are they and their arguments now? We will review their initial statements, the criticisms, the rebuttals, and some more recent writings. Did the angry atheists spark a new consideration of atheism, agnosticism, and naturalism? We’ll look at famous atheists in history and their contributions to the current debate, as well as some recent studies on the sociology of belief. Suggested reading: Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006); Sam Harris The End of Faith (2004); Greg Epstein Good Without God (2009).

Facilitated by Dick Whitaker and Bill Irons. Dick is a self-described “discussion group junkie.” At Osher Lifelong Learning and UCE, his subjects have included Nature’s God, What is Religion?, New Religions, Atheist Spirituality, and Darwin’s Cathedral. He’s been a market researcher and a 48-year member of UCE. Bill is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Northwestern University. His field research led him to inquire into broader questions of biocultural evolution including the origins of morality and religion. He was the first scientist to suggest that religion is an adaptation serving as a hard-to-fake sign of commitment. In 2011 he received a Lifetime Career Award from the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. Click here to register.

Caregivers’ Journey
May 9, 16 & 23

Energy Management for Caregivers: Being a caregiver is a deeply stressful and meaningful experience. In our first session, we will explore questions about stress, energy management, and ways the caregiver can use mindfulness techniques to help them help themselves—and then become more comfortable caregiving as a result.

Conversations with our Loved Ones: In our second session, we will help the caregiver think through different situations and levels of care, navigate your loved ones’ wishes for their own care, and have difficult conversations with them about advance directives.
Making Meaning: In our third session, we will explore questions of meaning and purpose—how do our Unitarian Universalist values help shape our understanding of caregiving as an important part of our beliefs and values?

Facilitated by Rev. Elizabeth Harding, A.M., M.Div., LSW. Elizabeth grew up Unitarian Universalist and is a bereavement counselor with JourneyCare, the state’s largest nonprofit hospice and palliative care provider. She is an affiliated community minister with the Second Unitarian Church of Chicago. Click here to register.

“Black America since MLK”
June 6, 13 & 20

We’ll view and discuss the three-part PBS series, “Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise.” Henry Louis Gates, Jr. embarks on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history. Joined by leading scholars, celebrities, and a dynamic cast of people who shaped these years, Gates travels from the victories of the civil rights movement up to today, asking profound questions about the state of black America—and our nation as a whole. Facilitated by members of our Racial Equity Action and Leadership team. Click here to register.