Adult Life Enrichment (ALE) Program

The mission of BRUU’s adult religious education program (also known as Adult Life Enrichment, or ALE) is to offer our adult Members and Friends a wide variety of courses, seminars, workshops, and discussion groups in which they can broaden their understanding of life and living, as reflected in the 7 UU Principles (see below). We hope you will find many offerings that speak to your own spiritual quest so that you may grow in your knowledge of Truth as you define it.

If you wish to attend one or more of the courses below, please consult the end of this catalog for directions on how to register.

The ALE Committee publishes the Adult A.L.E. catalog three times a year: fall, winter, and spring. The educational opportunities are coordinated by volunteers and taught by volunteers.

We invite anyone who is interested in fostering development of adult courses to propose a course of their own. Contact any member of our committee, or read Guidelines for ALE Instructors where you will find our convenient online tool to propose courses.

You may also want to consider joining the ALE Committee. Contact our committee chair at re.adult@bruu.org.

The Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism

UU’s agree to uphold the following principles to the best of their ability:

  1. Recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
  2. Observe justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
  3. Accept one another and encourage spiritual growth in our congregations.
  4. Pursue a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
  5. Respect the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregation and society.
  6. Build a world community of peace, liberty, and justice for all.
  7. Respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

BRUU ALE Committee (ALEC)

  • Frank Gregorio, Chair
  • Paul Galvin
  • Marti Giese
  • Kathy Sobrio
  • Kristin Worthington

Course Offerings

Crafting for Calm Workshop
(Autumn Delights)

All supplies provided

If you want to find ways to spend time with some fellow BRUUers mating the ability of crafting’s spiritual side with your creative side, this will be a positive class for you! No prior crafting experience necessary.

We will be making several types of crafts that help you get in touch with your 5 C’s: creativity, calmness, comfort, compassion, and contemplation. This autumn, we will make:

  • Fall themed meditative coloring
  • Various Crafts using Fall Leaves such as Maple Leaf, Mason Jar Luminaries and Leaf Paint Prints
  • Button Tree Canvas (no sewing involved!)
  • Pumpkin Spice Stress Balls
When:
Saturday, October 6; 9:00am – 12:00pm
Where:
Room 304
Facilitator:
Michelle Luman (ale.michellel@bruu.org)

You are Amazing – Discover Why! Part 1 – The Cell

In a world of pain, trouble and turmoil, always remember that all LIFE on Earth is amazing. Even when some of your organs are aging and possibly failing, the rest of you is working just fine.

Life is the most amazing thing in the universe. You are made solely of living microscopic cells. What is a cell? How do we think the first cell on Earth appeared? How many kinds of cells do you have in your body? How did a single fertilized cell somehow become hundreds of different cell types that make you up? What are stem cells and how do they do what they do?

What amazing components do cells have? What are the nucleus, chromosomes, vacuoles, ribosomes, mitochondria, Golgi Bodies and other internal organelles? How do cells become infected with viruses, and how do they possibly fight off these lethal invaders?

The evolution of the living cell over billions of years and its defenses against attack are one of the most amazing events on Earth. Join Frank Gregorio to learn why you and your cells are so amazing!

When:
Tuesday, September 25; 7:00 – 9:00pm
Where:
Fellowship Hall
Facilitator:
Frank Gregorio (ale.frankg@bruu.org)

You are Amazing – Discover Why! Part 2 – The Biochemistry of Life

In a world of pain, trouble and turmoil, always remember that all LIFE on Earth is amazing. Even when some of your organs are aging and possibly failing, the rest of you is working just fine.

You are made of carbon compounds. Why is carbon the key element of life? What are Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats? What steps does every cell in our bodies undergo to transform the food in our belly into the energy of life through a process called “Cellular Respiration”?

How does a plant cell convert sunlight, CO2 and water into complex carbohydrates and oxygen that feed the entire world through the process of Photosynthesis? Why was photosynthesis the greatest catastrophe ever to befall life on Earth? What happened long ago on Earth to bring Photosynthesis almost to a standstill … twice?

The evolution of the Biochemistry of life over billions of years is one of the most amazing events on Earth. Join Frank Gregorio to learn why you and your biochemistry are so amazing!

When:
Tuesday, October 9; 7:00 – 9:00pm
Where:
Fellowship Hall
Facilitator:
Frank Gregorio (ale.frankg@bruu.org)

The New UU

The majority of Unitarian Universalists come from other religious traditions or from no religious background at all. The New UU program gives newcomers and “long-timers” alike an introduction to Unitarian Universalism as well as Bull Run UU.

In this six-week series, we will discuss important themes in congregational life: worship and theology, history, covenant and polity; faith development; social justice and membership. BRUU members will share their own experiences in these areas. Participants will learn about Unitarian Universalism not only by hearing about it, but by doing it.

Participation in every session is not required, however discussions will build upon each other.

When:
Sundays for six weeks: 11:30am – 1:30pm
October 7; October 14; October 21; October 28; November 4; November 11
Where:
Room 304
Facilitator:
Kristin Worthington and friends (dre@bruu.org)

What We Choose: Ethics for Unitarian Universalists

Unitarian Universalism is grounded in the understanding that our actions speak louder than our words or beliefs. Faithful living for us includes discerning the course of action that best reflects our beliefs and values and then acting or choosing accordingly.

As inheritors of a faith tradition that honors a wide variety of sources of religious understanding and authority, our big questions are: How do we discern the moral course of action in a particular circumstance? To what source(s) of authority do we turn for help: personal experience, community wisdom, conscience, religious texts, the words and deeds of prophetic people, reason, science, God? If we are intentional in developing a personal ethical framework to live by, then the behavioral choices we make and the actions we do or do not take can reflect our most deeply held values.

This is a 10-week course. Participation in every session is not required, however discussions will build upon each other.

When:
Saturdays for 3 weeks in autumn and 7 weeks in winter, 10:00am – 12:00 noon
October 6; October 20; November 3; January 5; January 19; February 2; February 16; March 2; March 16; March 30
Where:
Conference Room
Facilitator:
Kristin Worthington and Kelly Maitland (dre@bruu.org)

Immigration – the Good, Bad, and Ugly

The crisis of immigration that we are seeing play out at our borders has a complex and sordid history that stems back to America’s proclamation of Manifest Destiny. It is a history of colonialism, patriarchy, exploitation and death. This talk will briefly address the United States’ role in Latin America and the resulting influx of immigrants. It will examine how our current immigration policies, especially at the border, continue to divide and undermine humanity and basic UU principles such as the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion; world community of peace, liberty and justice for all; and respect for the interdependent web of life. Included in the discussion will be a brief overview of the immigration system in order to provide a complete understanding.

When:
Thursdays, October 4 and October 11; 7:00 – 9:00pm
Where:
Fellowship Hall
Facilitator:
Lisa Johnston-Firth (ale.lisajf@bruu.org)

Autumn Movie Night 1 – “MacFarland USA”

Kevin Costner stars as Coach Jim White in “MacFarland USA”, a true story of a high school coach who was fired for losing his temper with a football player. He was finally able to find another coaching job at a Latino high school in California’s fruit-growing country where the students were fruit pickers. This inspiring story shows how a down-n-out coach built a winning track team out of down-n-out boys and created a new American Dream for everyone involved.

This year’s General Assembly adopted “Undoing Interracial White Supremacy” as UU’s new study/action theme. This movie shows the theme in action: By undoing the supremacy of Whites, we create the promise of a satisfying life for all people — and that’s how we really do “Make America Great Again”.

Come and enjoy this “Yes I Can” movie night complete with free popcorn.

When:
Friday, September 21; 7:00 – 9:00pm
Where:
Fellowship Hall
Facilitator:
Kathy Sobrio (ale.kathys@bruu.org)

Autumn Movie Night 2 – “The Post”

Many of us lived through the tumultuous times of the Vietnam War. Two brave newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post, struggled against attempts by our government to silence their voices in bringing the truth to the people. One story played a major role in ending the Vietnam War … the story of the Pentagon Papers. It was a story of bravery by a guy named Daniel Ellsberg, who discovered secret documents written by military planners, admitting that the Vietnam War was a sham, and the government knew it could not be won by America. His effort to get the truth to the people led him to the Washington Post, who successfully fought a watershed battle to publish the papers.

This is the dramatic movie about that battle, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. It will keep you riveted to your seats. In the era of Donald Trump, it is timely indeed.

When:
Tuesday, October 23; 7:00 – 9:00pm
Where:
Fellowship Hall
Facilitator:
Frank Gregorio (ale.frankg@bruu.org)

BRUU Congregational Covenant – Acceptance – back by popular demand

You can attend this 90-minute-long session independently or in conjunction with the other two sessions on Living the Congregational Covenant.

Acceptance of one another is part of the third UU principle – but what does that mean? What does this principle call on us to do? Is it as simple as live and let live? Why is acceptance so important?

We are comfortable with the familiar. Yet everyone is unique in their own way. Differences are what make things interesting – and also where we pause or stop. What does it take to truly accept another human being? Where do we draw the line about what we don’t accept? How can we talk about our differences? More importantly, how do we get past them?

Join Mike Cleary for a deep dive into the meaning of the BRUU Congregational Covenant and in particular, its theme of Acceptance. We’ll talk about identity, differences, the active side of acceptance, boundaries, and compassion. We’ll even talk about how we can make BRUU a safe place for seeking and service.

When:
Sunday, October 7; 1:00 – 2:30pm
Where:
Flamingo Lounge
Facilitator:
Mike Cleary (ale.mikec@bruu.org)

BRUU Congregational Covenant – Integrity – back by popular demand

integrity

You can attend this 90-minute-long session independently or in conjunction with the other two sessions on Living the Congregational Covenant.

Each of us has responsibilities – in our jobs, in our families, in our relationships. The covenant reminds us that we have responsibilities to each other and to ourselves.

Responsibility can be a burden – but it can also be a gateway to meaning. How do we conduct a responsible search for truth? How do we honor our inherent worth and dignity, as well as those of others? How do we honor the interdependent web of relations in our own congregation, and in our community at large? In each of these pursuits, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. Being true to ourselves can yield great insights.

Join Mike Cleary for an exploration of the BRUU Congregational Covenant and the role of personal Integrity. We’ll talk about authenticity and ego, the connection between humility and inherent worth and dignity, and how the covenant calls for personal and spiritual growth by being open to others while being true to ourselves.

When:
Sunday, October 14; 1:00 – 2:30pm
Where:
Flamingo Lounge
Facilitator:
Mike Cleary (ale.mikec@bruu.org)

BRUU Congregational Covenant – Conflict Resolution – back by popular demand

conflict

You can attend this 90-minute-long session independently or in conjunction with the other two sessions on Living the Congregational Covenant.

We are thoughtful, intelligent people, right? We look out for each other and we have everyone’s best interest at heart. So how do we dwell together with the nudnick that just doesn’t get it?

Then again, the person we see as a pest might be thinking the same thing about us. It’s a matter of perspective, and sometimes it’s hard to see someone else’s point of view. Then there are issues where people understand each other, and still disagree. Can’t we all just get along? And what’s wrong with just deciding we’re right? Not always and more than you might think.

Join Mike Cleary to see how the BRUU Congregational Covenant challenges us to deal with Conflict Resolution. We’ll talk about where conflicts come from, what to do about them, and why it’s worth the effort, even if you don’t get your way. We may end up talking about ALL the seven UU principles. The mission statement is fair game too – we’ll talk about how to keep the congregation safe in the face of conflict.

When:
Sunday, October 21; 1:00 – 2:30pm
Where:
Flamingo Lounge
Facilitator:
Mike Cleary (ale.mikec@bruu.org)

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) – Introduction
Experience the Transformation

Required text: The Other Voice

Translated into 24 languages, ACIM is studied around the world and by thousands of Unitarian Universalists. ACIM’s foundational teachings dovetail with all 7 UU principles and offer an additional path to appreciating their significance.

New to ACIM? Join our introductory group to learn about the principle teachings of ACIM. Discover a different way to think about time and space, one that challenges commonly held perceptions and brings peaceful fullness to life. Call to see if this study is for you.

If you are staying for the It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again class on Wednesday afternoon, then consider joining us for a lively lunchtime discussion on a variety of spiritual topics. We’d love to add you to our group!

When:
Beginning  Wednesday, September 19; 10:00 – 11:30am
Where:
2061 Steeple Place, Lake Ridge
Facilitator:

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) – Continuing
Experience the Transformation

Required text: A Course in Miracles

Translated into 24 languages, ACIM is studied around the world and by thousands of Unitarian Universalists. ACIM’s foundational teachings dovetail with all 7 UU principles and offer an additional path to appreciating their significance.

New to ACIM? Join our introductory group to learn about the principle teachings of ACIM. Discover a different way to think about time and space, one that challenges commonly held perceptions and brings peaceful fullness to life. Call to see if this study is for you.

When:
Beginning Tuesday, September 18; 10:00 – 11:30am
Where:
2061 Steeple Place, Lake Ridge
Facilitator:

 

Course Registration

Like what you see? It’s time to REGISTER!

Do I have to register?

As a courtesy to the instructor, yes. That way (s)he knows the class has attracted the minimum number of participants desired for conducting the class.

As a courtesy to yourself, yes. Since registration includes your email address and phone number, you’ll save time and gas not coming to a cancelled class, if the Instructor has to cancel. (We would’ve called you if only we knew…)

What if I’m not sure I can make it?

Register anyway. You can always contact the class Instructor before the class begins. Meanwhile, the class can go forward because the minimum number of signups has been met.

Is it okay to just drop into a class at last minute?

Sure. Just give the instructor a courtesy call or email.

How can I register?

We prefer that you register online, since it is easy and facilitates notification to instructors of your intent to attend.


Teacher Bios

Lisa Johnston-Firth

Lisa Johnston-Firth, Esq. is the founder and managing partner of Immigrants First, PLLC, an immigration and human rights law firm. She is a former adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and George Mason University School of Law. Ms. Johnson-Firth participates on the boards of BEACON, an ESL program run by the Benedictine Sisters in Bristow, and the Centreville Immigration Forum and Labor Resource Center. Ms. Johnson-Firth is a frequent speaker on immigration and human rights issues and just recently returned from the border where she was assisting families recently reunited and preparing individuals for their asylum process. She is the recipient of several awards for her work with women rights and social justice issues.

Marti Giese

Marti Giese’s work career includes teaching special needs children, counseling domestic violence victims, and providing chaplaincy to senior adults and hospice patients.  Her education includes an M.Div. in pastoral counseling and metaphysical/ esoteric wisdom teachings, and an M.A. in Human Resources with a focus on adult education. Marti’s avocation is Blossomforth, a spiritual community where seekers unite to participate in discussions focusing on spiritual growth techniques that enable participants to step into the power of self-healing.  Call Marti to get on the Blossomforth email list.

Frank Gregorio

Frank Gregorio is a retired Science teacher for Prince William County Schools. With degrees in Earth Science and Biology and 35 years of experience as a practicing teacher, CEO and corporate scientist of an international biotech company, and a government scientific investigator for FDA, Frank is well prepared to share his scientific knowledge with us. He also operates a very popular educational YouTube channel with over 40,000 subscribers (https://www.youtube.com/user/sfgregs).

Michelle Cole Luman

Michelle Luman is an archaeologist with an M.A. in Applied Archaeology and a B.A. in Historic Preservation. She currently works as a technical report writer. Her training also includes museum studies, cultural anthropology, ethnography, geography, GIS, architectural history, folklore and world religions. Michelle is also a skilled facilitator of crafting for calm.

Mike Cleary

Mike Cleary is a former business reporter who now works as a project manager in the IT industry but remains a writer at heart. Raised as a UU, he has always liked studying religious ideas, and went on to get his degree in philosophy. Mike has been a member of BRUU and the choir for over 10 years now, and is in his third year on the board. He likes dancing, cooking, talking politics, and learning Spanish.

Kristin Worthington

Kristin Worthington is the Director of Religious Education at the Bull Run Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Manassas, Virginia.

Kelly Maitland

Kelly Maitland has spent 34 years as a public school teacher, mainly working with students with special education goals. She has taught many subjects at all levels from pre-K to adults and is currently a transition specialist at a local high school.

Kathy Sobrio

Kathy Sobrio, host for “MacFarland USA”, isn’t particularly qualified to run a movie. But hey, just show her the on-off button and she’ll get the projector going. Oh, and about the popcorn — she’s fine with microwaving those little seeds that can break your teeth. Never fear — the popcorn will be adequately popped and the movie is so good that you can see it a dozen times and you’ll look forward to seeing it the 13th time. “It’s heartwarming and inspiring and makes me believe in humankind all over again,” she says. “You’ll love the Hispanic culture’s absolute devotion to family support that you’ll see in this movie