ASD Harper-Priestley Academy or ASD Academy
By Rev. Daniel Gregoire
Named after Frances Harper and Joseph Priestley historic Philadelphia Unitarians
The Harper Priestly academy provides a strong foundation in UU history and identity to foster excitement, deeper understanding and a lasting commitment to the UU faith tradition.
The Harper-Priestley Academy (HPA) at USG is a program designed to allow members to learn about UU history and identity in a thoughtful and sequential way. Each level of study builds on the one that preceded it, to allow participants a sense of accomplishment and a strong knowledge base on their chosen faith tradition. After completing the course of study members will have a confident grasp of UU history and identity that they articulate for themselves and share with others.
HPA will offer a two to three year program of study, based on UUA curricula of the New UU, Faith Like a River and What Moves Us with courses offered in the ASD Fall and Winter/Spring semesters at USG beginning in 2015 and graduate a class of HPA participants in 2017. These courses will begin with UU 101 which is already offered by ASD. 3 electives are also required in the form of participating in a spiritual practice group, OWL, Social Justice project or/and Small Group Ministry over the course of the two to three years.
The New UU
Welcome, orient,and integrate newcomers to UUism Addresses the needs of newcomers who want to know more about who we are and what we believe.
Faith Like a River
Themes from Unitarian Universalist history Each workshop uses stories to trace the history of an idea, practice, question, or challenge that is still present in some form in UUism today.Workshops topics include heresy, covenant, reason,tolerance,freedom,evangelism, multiculturalism,Unitarian theology, Universalist theology, the UUA
consolidation, and others.
What Moves Us
Unitarian Universalist Theology Uses primary sources to present life experiences of historic and contemporary Unitarian Universalist theologians, highlighting “change of heart”moments in the development of their liberal theology.
Rubric for the Opening Session the Sacred Paths Group at All Souls Church
Led by Daniel Gregoire and Peter Burger
- Words of Welcome and Introductions
- Group leader’s sources of inspiration
What is your name and if you could create a personal bumper sticker for your car or bicycle what would it read?
What does Prayer mean to you?
- Recited Prayer
Peter will read from a Psalm selection (We can start a tradition of people reading prayers that they bring into the group)
- Introduction to Journaling
Journaling as a tool to focus attention on important issues and as a prelude to prayer
- Activity 0- Naming the Divine
Participants will be asked to think about their relationship to the divine. We could do this popcorn style or go around the circle depending on the group dynamic.
- Activity 1 - Writing
Using a piece of paper, write down your name for the divine and the top three attributes. Follow this by listing 30 things that you are grateful for. If you are not able to think of things in your personal experience consider the mundane (such as air, water, MTA, “I woke up this morning”)
- Activity 2 – Praying Out Loud!
Participants will be asked to spend 5 minutes recite prayers out loud using the lists they created to give thanks using such formats as: “I thank God for the….”; “I give thanks for….”; etc using whatever appellation for the divine that feels appropriate.
How did it feel to pray? Did it bring up any feelings (i.e. hope, anxiety, fear, joy etc)?
Bring a prayer to share with the group. It could be something that you compose yourself and bring from a sacred text of your choosing.