Workshop descriptions

Morning Devotions

A time of prayer and quiet reflection in which to gently enter the day before the busyness. Led by Stephen Crowther

Morning Meditation

Quietening/settling/calming the busy mind and beyond. How can we learn to work with the busy mind rather than ‘fight it’ or try to get rid of it.  Led by Richard Bober

Qi Gong

The practice of Qi Gong dates back thousands of years. It is a moving form of meditation which harmonizes breath and movement, developing internal energy, The exercises were developed to rejuvenate and rebalance the relationship between mind and body thereby making the practitioner stronger in life. In this session we will practise a selection of simple exercises which you will be able to incorporate into your daily life.  Led by Zoe Gerrard

Putting the Mind in the Heart’

A guided meditation to start our day using the energy of the Mandala to help us connect to the Still Centre within.  Led by Rob Oulton

DIY Yoga

Bring your mat and join us for a gentle yoga session, perhaps assisted by a DVD.

Heart and Soul

An alternative spiritual gathering, with music and silence, words and prayers, and a chance to explore our chosen theme, ‘In Praise of Enthusiasm’, in relation to your own life.  Having developed an easy to run, set format for ‘Heart and Soul’ sessions, we’ll be explaining the thinking behind it and providing a new-and-improved handout, for you to use and adapt in your own communities (some congregations have started doing this already). Even if you’ve attended ‘Heart and Soul’ before, you’re still welcome to experience this contemporary worship session with us.  Led by Jeannene Powell and Jane Blackall

Unitarianism and the Great 19th Century Novel

Unitarians have traditionally turned to literature in their worship. This workshop will examine the place of Unitarian thinking in that great vehicle for social reform, the Nineteenth-century Novel, and in the work of three radical reforming novelists, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell. Gaskell was the wife of a Unitarian minister; Eliot’s passionate belief in recognising ‘the otherness of the other person’ seems a recognisably Unitarian impulse; while Dickens praised Unitarianism as ‘that religion which has sympathy for men of every creed and ventures to pass judgement on none.’ The power of the Nineteenth-century Novel, as I will hope to show, depended heavily on the power of Unitarianism.  Led by Valerie Purtan

Sharing our Stories of Change

Derek McAuley is the Chief Officer of the General Assembly and main spokesperson for the national Unitarian movement. Jo O’Sullivan is a member of the Penal and Social Affairs Panel (PSAP) which is a social responsibility effort of the Unitarian denomination. Social responsibility or action and service to promote justice are at the core of Unitarian activity at congregational as well as national level. Jo and Derek will lead a discussion on the themes: ‘Are we still a religion associated with Social Justice and Action?’ What about locally, what’s stopping us? Are we afraid of the mixing the political with the religious? What is being done at your church or chapel or group – an opportunity to share ideas.

Come and Sing

David would like to invite you to join him for a good old sing! It doesn’t matter whether you think you can sing or not… the session will feature David’s compositions, some old Unitarian favourites and a good helping of fun. As always, we’ll begin with healthy vocal warm up and hints and tips on voice production will be given throughout the session.  Led by David Kent

Moments of Grace

An opportunity to share experiences and ideas about what some people call grace. Whether it is a sense of the divine or a deep connection to nature or a heightened sense of beauty and reality, this workshop will encourage gentle discussions and meditative engagement with this often only fleeting feeling.  Led by Eleanor Chiari

Intergenerational worship – sharing what we do

Does intergenerational worship take place in your congregation? Is it something you would like to see take place more often, or on a more regular basis? How do younger people feel about being involved in worship? Is intergenerational worship something you might like to lead yourself? Intergenerational worship does take place in congregations across the District. FUSE represents an ideal opportunity to share ideas, reflections and resources as to what really works, or does not work, in your own congregations. Come along to share and to discuss your thoughts on intergenerational worship in our District: all ages are welcome.  Led by Janet Costley

Animals and Us

A meditative exploration of our relationship with the animal world, inspired by the 2018 “Animals & Us” exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate. Please be prepared to participate by reading a poem or prayer or sharing your thoughts and/or experience.  Led by Maria Curtis

Ten Commandments for Living in Today’s World

The ten commandments in the Bible were written down long ago. In today’s world with its many pressing concerns do we think we need a different set of commandments? In this workshop we will reflect upon this question and consider a range of commandments devised by other societies, then write Ten Commandments which we believe are important for living successfully in today’s world.  Led by Zoe Gerrard

Sea Fever Walk

‘I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky’.  Using John Masefield’s poem Sea Fever as our guide, we’ll go down to the sea together in this ‘whatever the weather’ outdoor workshop. With wind, sky, rock and sea to guide our steps, we’ll explore the pleasures of the elements and connect once more with the spirit of earth, air and water. Please sign up for this workshop as limited to 20 people. Shoes for walking and suitable clothing needed. Led by Sarah Tinker, who loves being outdoors

Developing Your Image

How is your congregation presented on the web, in posters, in the news?  Are you Tumblring to the masses? Are you using Instamatic or Instagram? Daniel Costley leads a workshop on how we might use photography to better identify and explain ourselves in the world.  With an intent to improve our creation and use of images on social media and elsewhere, Daniel will look at inspiration, composition, selection, and use. An interest in photography at any level would be helpful, and a camera of any quality would be good for the practical work.  You may wish to go outside the practical workshop element, so bring a coat if necessary. Led by Daniel Costley

Image a Better Community

We find it hard to live together, in our families, communities, or in the world at large. At the same time, daily life is full of acts of compassion, kindness, friendship and love. How do we reconcile these differences?

This workshop provides an opportunity to think what a better community might look like, and to develop community among ourselves.  Led by Jennifer Kavanagh

Images as Mirrors to the Soul

A contemplative afternoon led by Sheena Gabriel. They say “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. In this session you will be invited to choose from a selection of images, and through a process of meditation and sharing in small groups, use them as springboards to reflect more deeply on yourself, your relation to others, the world, and the Divine. We’ll also consider how images can be used in worship and small groups. N.B. This is a follow on session from that offered last year at FUSE – but with more time and space to engage with the images.

Dancing the Charleston for Beginners

Come along if you would like to learn a most laid-back form of dance: the Charleston! Charleston can be danced in a relaxed or a frenetic fashion so the session will be as strenuous as you make it (and it’s always OK to stop for a rest). We’ll warm up with some simple Charleston-style line-dances (where we all dance solo, in formation) and then move into side-by-side partner dancing (this requires you to be willing to have some contact with a partner, as the leader’s arm will be around the follower’s shoulder, and the follower’s arm around the leader’s waist). Anyone can lead and anyone can follow (the pairing will be gender-neutral). Please wear clothes you can comfortably move in and bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated.  Led by Jane Blackall

To Whom it May Concern – exploring the many names of the Divine

You don’t have to beleive in God to pray. However, naming the divine at the beginning of our prayers can help us to enter into a time of authentic connection with whatever we hold as sacred.

And, of course, there is no correct name for the divine, each one is partial. How can we work creatively with the process of naming the sacred to enrich our prayer lives? In this workshop we will explore our responses to just a few of the many names for the Spirit of Life and Love, a.k.a. Gaia, Krishna, Al-Latif, Lady Wisdom, Adonai,Gloria, God.  Led by Jef Jones

Unitarians and Our Protestant Past

Have you ever asked yourself ‘Where did Unitarians come from and from whom did we receive our earliest ideas?’.  This workshop will look briefly at Unitarian beginnings and will then concentrate on how we have been influenced by the largely Protestant groups in Europe and especially in the UK. It’s a big topic but by the end of the workshop you should be able to assess what we still hold on to and where we have moved on from our Protestant relatives. Led by Martin Whitell

Exploring Dementia-friendly Congregations

There are 50 million people living with Dementia across the world today, and this figure is expected to rise by 35% by the year 2025. So how prepared are we, and our congregations for what will undoubtedly be affecting a significant number of people in our communities? This workshop aims to increase understanding of what Dementia is, awareness of how it affects individuals and their families, offering some practical suggestions for making our congregations and Churches more accessible, and friendly to those affected by Dementia. Led by Joan Cook

The Dances of Universal Peace

These Dances are a powerful way to experience the essence, the heart of many spiritual traditions and draw on them for inspiration.  The dances are a unique form of meditation focussing on the universal and inclusive message of a multi-cultural community experience. They are joyful, contemplative, liberating whilst using short phrases from various traditions including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and older earth traditions. Chants and steps are simple and suitable for all ages and abilities and are taught before each dance. After each dance we have a short meditative space in order to integrate our experience.  Led by Joel Zhaard