TVUUC’s Adult Religious Exploration programs offer opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, learning about and celebrating diverse experiences of life, and diving deep into exploring UU values, traditions and practices.

We believe in the power of lifelong learning and you are invited to join us!

The listing below includes programs sponsored/publicized by the Adult Religious Exploration program of TVUUC that are planned for Fall 2023.
There are MANY additional programs put on by many groups within the congregation; this is not an exhaustive list all things happening. Even more events are listed in the church newsletter and all plans are subject to change. For more information, contact the church office or


*See info below monthly list for program details & location*



Fall 2023 ARE Programs:


Every Sunday

9:45-10:45          Personal Beliefs and Commitments

11-12:00              Worship Service

11-12:15              Children and Youth Programming

* Nursery open 9:45-12:30



13           Landing Points, 12:45-1:45pm

16           UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm

27           QUUESTions, 12:45-1:45pm



3             Wait a Minute! Beloved Community, 1-2:30pm

3             Sound Meditation, 1-2:30pm

6             UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm

10           UU Parenting Circle, 9:30-10:30am

10           Young Adult Book Club, 9:45-11:00am

10           Starting Point, 1-3:00pm

11           Mistakes & Miracles Book Discussion (zoom), 7-9:00pm

17           Starting Point, 1-3:00pm

18           Mistakes & Miracles Book Discussion (zoom), 7-9:00pm

20           UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm

24           QUUESTions, 12:45-1:45pm

25           Mistakes & Miracles Book Discussion (zoom), 7-9:00pm

30           Learning about the Eastern Cherokee: A UU Living Our

                Values Fieldtrip, 10am-4pm (plus travel to Cherokee, NC)



1             Wait a Minute! What’s and Article 2?, 1-2:30pm

1             Encountering B-UU-dhism, 1-2:30pm

4             UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm

2             Mistakes & Miracles Book Discussion (zoom), 7-9:00pm

8             UU Parenting Circle, 9:30-10:30am

8             Young Adult Book Club, 9:45-11:00am

9             Mistakes & Miracles Book Discussion (zoom), 7-9:00pm

18           UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm

22           Young Adult Book Club, 9:45-11:00am

23           Starting Point (zoom), 7-9:00pm

29           QUUESTions, 12:45-1:45pm

30           Starting Point (zoom), 7-9:00pm



1             UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm

5             Wait a Minute! Who Am I? 1-2:30pm

5             Parenting & Educating for Justice at Thanksgiving, 1-3pm

12           UU Parenting Circle, 9:30-10:30am

12           Young Adult Book Club, 9:45-11:00am

12           Landing Points, 12:45-1:45pm

15           UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm

26           Young Adult Book Club, 9:45-11:-00am

26           QUUESTions, 12:45-1:45pm



3             Wait a Minute! I’m Overwhelmed!, 1-2:30pm

3             Growing our TVUUC Green Sanctuary, 1-2:30pm

6             UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9–10:00pm

10           UU Parenting Circle, 9:30-10:30am

10           Young Adult Book Club, 9:45-11:00am

10           QUUESTions, 12:45-1:45pm

20           UU Parenting Circle (zoom), 9-10:00pm



First Sunday Adult RE

This year we’re excited to be establishing the first Sunday of each month, following the Let’s Connect lunch, as a time for people to stay and take part in adult religious exploration programs.  Childcare is available, and we’ll offer at least two programs to choose from each month,  beginning at 1pm.


Sept. 3: Wait a Minute! Beloved Community 

1-2:30pm, Room A

The 8th Principle, which TVUUC adopted two years ago, talks about building a beloved community.

You may be thinking, Wait! Aren’t we already a beloved community?  You may be thinking, Wait! That’s pie in the sky!  You may be somewhere in between, Wait! I’m overwhelmed with what needs to be done!  Your thinking may be altogether somewhere else!

Whatever you’re thinking, please join us and share your ideas about Beloved Community. We will reflect on the history of the term and what it meant to mid-twentieth century Civil Rights activists, and consider what the 8th Principle calls us to do as individuals and as a congregation.


Sept. 3: Sound Bath 

1-2:30pm, Room E

A Sound Bath is an immersive experience where musical instruments are played in a therapeutic manner to induce deep relaxation and stress reduction. Join us to explore this unique offering.   Please bring something comfortable to lie on.


Oct. 1: Wait a Minute! What’s an Article 2?

1-2:30pm, Room A

Many of us know and love UU’s 7 Principles.  TVUUC adopted the 8th Principle two years ago, as have many other UU congregations over the past few years.  The Unitarian Universalist Association is conducting a long overdue revision of Article 2 of the UUA bylaws, which addresses our Association’s Purpose and Covenant and includes the 7 Principles.

You may be thinking, Wait! 7 Principles are enough for me!  You may be thinking, Wait! These Article 2 values are great!  You may be somewhere in between, Wait! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the 8th Principle and now there’s this Article 2 thing?  Your thinking may be altogether somewhere else!

Whatever you’re thinking, please join us as we learn a bit of the back stories of the 8th Principle and the Article 2 revision, which include some not-so-wonderful aspects of our UU history.  Then we’ll think about what this information contributes to the meaning of both for us as individuals and for TVUUC as we try to learn from our past while shaping our future.


Oct. 1: Encountering B-UU-dhism

1-2:30pm, Elandria Williams Room

Abhaya will offer this session as part of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Adult Religious Exploration program. Guided meditation, a talk on the similarites of the Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist traditions, and an open time for Q&A will be included.
Bio-Acharya Abhaya Darpana Rev. Dustin Davis

Abhaya is ordained as a Dharmacharya (Buddhist Lay Minister) in the Embracing Simplicity Contemplative Order under Venerable Pannavati and the late Venerable Pannadipa. His primary practices of Samadhi, Satipaṭṭhāna (4 Establishings of Mindfulness) in the style offered by Bhikkhu Anālayo, Ānāpānasati (Mindfulness with Breathing), and the Brahma Vihāras (Heavenly Abidings) spring from an affinity for the approaches offered in Early Buddhism. He also has an appreciation for the later traditions, having undertaken Mahāmudrā, Dzogchen, and Zen retreats including formally receiving the 5 Mindfulness Trainings from Thích Nhất Hạnh in 2013.

Having worked over 25 years in the hospital critical care setting, he brings his intimacy with the illness, death, and dying processes to bear in Dharma sharing. He is also passionate about Dharma as a central support for dealing with addictions of all kinds.

Abhaya’s spiritual journey includes being raised Catholic and attending elementary parochial school with Nuns as teachers, then diving deeply into Pentecostal Protestantism, followed by a departure from spirituality, with later membership in Unitarian Universalist churches. He committed to the path of Dharma in 2010, subsequently spending several months of cumulative time in silent meditation retreats and thousands of hours in personal practice and study.
​He has two lovely grown daughters, and an amazing canine companion named Bodhi who has served as a therapy dog in hospitals, nursing homes & addiction treatment facilities through the University of Tennessee’s Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) program.


Nov. 5: Wait a Minute! Who Am I?

1-2:30pm, Room A

During a wonderful 8th Principle workshop offered at TVUUC last winter, Rev. Duncan Teague, a beloved former TVUUC intern minister, said that his first UU congregation had been very healing for him because they were authentic and they saw him and recognized his ministry.  What does it mean to be authentic?

You may be thinking, Wait! I already know exactly who I am!  You may be thinking, Wait! I’m so busy I can hardly even remember my name!  You may be somewhere in between, Wait!  Who I am is my life’s greatest mystery! Your thinking may be altogether somewhere else!

Whatever you’re thinking, please join us as we think about what authenticity is, discuss how it helps us heal and grow, and share stories of authenticity mentors.  We’ll also examine some ideas others have written about that might help us become more authentic.


Nov. 5: Parenting & Educating for Justice at Thanksgiving

1-3pm, CDJL (Room H) & Lizzie

How can we help children understand the real history and the harm that underpins “traditional” celebrations of Thanksgiving, while also holding onto meaningful family rituals of giving thanks? How can we counter misinformation about the history of the US and the lived experience of Native American peoples that our kids are exposed to? Join us as we ask big questions, share some resources, and offer a space to discuss the challenges of parenting for justice at Thanksgiving. Offered in partnership with the Children’s Diversity & Justice Library.   CDJL Storytime from 1-2; childcare and parent workshop from 2-3.


Dec. 3: Wait a Minute! I’m Overwhelmed!

1-2:30pm Room A

Many of us are overwhelmed by the state of the world and the enormity of what needs to be fixed.

You may be thinking, Wait! I’m just one person.  I can’t possibly make a difference!  You may be thinking, Wait! There are so many opportunities to serve.  How do I choose?  You may be somewhere in between, Wait! I can’t even get beloved family members to see the errors in their thinking.  Your thinking may be altogether somewhere else!

Whatever you’re thinking, please join us for a look at ideas from Beloved Conversations (an excellent UU online course; please consider taking it) and other learnings to help us start making sense of the enormity, how we might get started or choose our next effort, and how we might think about our responsibilities in these efforts.


Dec. 3: Growing our TVUUC Green Sanctuary

1-2:30pm, Lizzie Crozier French Room

In 2011, TVUUC earned our original Green Sanctuary Charter through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). We are reenergizing to update our Charter to UUA Green Sanctuary 2030: Mobilizing for Climate Change (GS 2030). In this meeting, we’ll discuss the four GS 2030 action areas (“campaigns”) and how they fit with what we can do about climate change together as a congregation, in our own households, and toward justice in our broader community. We’ll take a quick minute to highlight some

actions TVUUC has taken through GS since 2011. Then, using that framework of four campaigns in three types of places, we’ll build a roadmap of our own priorities and ideas about what to do next about climate change and environmental concerns in our beloved community of TVUUC. Come build together!



Unitarian Universalism & TVUUC



Last Sunday of the month, 12:45-1:45pm, Lizzie Room

QUUESTions is a meeting offered each month for visitors or those who want to know more about TVUUC, Unitarian Universalism, and the path to membership. It is also open to current members who may want to deepen their connection TVUUC and Unitarian Universalism. The meetings will be held on the last Sunday of the month and food and refreshments will be provided. Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. We look forward to meeting you! Please RSVP.



Starting Point

In person: 9/10 & 17, 1-3:00pm, Lizzie Room

Online: 10/23 & 30,  7-9:00pm via Zoom

Starting Point offers newcomers, and old timers, an opportunity to explore ways in which Unitarian Universalism can make a difference in their lives. Not only will it help you decide if UUism is right for you, but it’s also an opportunity to reflect on your beliefs and values. This is a 2-session program,  in person or online.

For in person sessions, childcare is available, and refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP.


Landing Points

8/13 or 11/12,  12:45-1:45pm, Lizzie Room

Landing Points is the sequel to Starting Point, but you do not have to have participated in Starting Point to attend. We will go over church programs, governance, membership details, and the diverse ways that you can be involved with TVUUC. Refreshments will be provided, and childcare is available. Please RSVP so we will have enough food and know who needs childcare.



Justice & Beloved Community


Mistakes & Miracles Book Discussion

Mondays 9/18-10/9, 7-9:00pm via Zoom

Join us for a 4-session book discussion of the UUCommon Read  for 2022-23, Mistakes & Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin. In this book,  the co-authors, a white minister and a lay person of color, explored five UU congregations’ journeys toward Beloved Community and share the joy, disappointment, and growth these congregations found.

Engaging with this book can help UU congregations grapple with our movement’s charge to dismantle white supremacy in ourselves, our communities, and our world. We have several copies for sale at the church for $22. You can also purchase it from the UUA bookstore. If the cost is a barrier we have copies for lending.

Contact the church office for more info or to register.



Learning about the Eastern Cherokee: A UU Living Our Values Fieldtrip  

9/30, 10am-4pm in Cherokee, NC (carpool possible)

As Unitarian Universalists, we are committed to honoring the first nations peoples who stewarded and inhabited North America prior to settler colonialism.  As part of living our values, we can learn directly from local indigenous peoples about their histories, cultures, and contemporary lived experiences.

Join with other UU’s to honor the Eastern Cherokee people by visiting:

  • Oconaluftee Indian Village: on the site of a traditional village, where tribal members educate the public about their culture and lifeways (our group will have a private, guided tour)  $20 per adult, children 6-12 yr $10, children under 10 free  
  • The Museum of the Cherokee Indian: one of the oldest tribally run museums in the US, this museum includes historical and archaeological exhibits, cultural specialists demonstrating crafts and skills, and a bookstore/giftshop with an excellent collection of books on Cherokee culture.  Cost: optional ($12 if you choose to view the exhibits; the bookstore is free to enter) 
  • Qualla Arts and Crafts store:  Across the street from the museum, this store offers the work of native artists from around the US, with a focus on local Cherokee artists.  Free to enter 

Scholarship support is available for anyone who needs it. You can also donate to the scholarship fund.

Transportation:  We are currently planning on carpooling; please let us know if you need transportation support. We will meet in Cherokee at 10 am Eastern Time and be there until approximately 4 pm.

Bring your own lunch for a picnic by the river



Spiritual Discussion


Personal Beliefs & Commitments

Every Sunday, 9:45-10:45 am, Lizzie Room

This class, which began thirty plus years ago, involves discussion

and exploration of beliefs and values which guide individual lives. The weekly topic is selected by that week’s moderator, a class member volunteer, who defines and leads the discussion. Topics often focus on understanding and developing the spiritual self and how that applies to everyday life. The principles of Unitarian Universalism inform these explorations with participants being ever aware of the inherent worth and dignity of each other. This group meets on Sunday mornings at 9:45 a.m. All are welcome!!!


Small Group Ministry

Groups dates & times vary

Small groups are great places to get to know other people and to get to know yourself. Over time, participants build deep connections with one another, with the congregation, and with the sacred. Groups of six to twelve people covenant to meet once or twice a month for structured and confidential sharing on topics that inspire reflection and spiritual growth. In each session, facilitated by a member of the congregation, all participants have the opportunity to share their perspectives, tell their stories, and listen deeply. The time together is structured: Groups begin and end with centering readings and often include times for quiet reflection as well as sharing.





UU Parenting Circle

In person: 2nd Sundays, 9:30-10:30am, Lizzie Room

Online: 1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 9-10:00pm via Zoom

All who are parenting are invited to our UU Parenting Circles!

These circles offer a time to gather and share in a community around the complex and rewarding role of parenting. This circle is not intended to be a parenting class, but rather a place to find companionship and spiritual support with fellow parents. We’ll reflect on recent parenting joys and struggles, share our stories and resources with one another, and know that we are not alone.  Come once, occasionally or every time—you are welcome!


Parenting & Educating for Justice at Thanksgiving

1-3pm, CDJL (Room H) & Lizzie

See full description in the First Sunday ARE section!


Young Adults (18-35)


Young Adult Book Club

2nd & 4th Sundays, 9:45-11:00am, Room A

The Young Adult Book Club seeks to foster connection for those aged 18-35 in our community and aims to do so through the medium of books. We read a shared book, chosen collectively, at a leisurely pace, and meet to discuss the book, apply insights to our lives, and experience mutual support. Recent books have included Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself, by Nedra Glover Tawwab. Childcare is available in the nursery during meetings. We invite new group members between books.

Contact the church office for the contact info to RSVP.


Young Adult Our Whole Lives (OWL)

Schedule in development—coming in early 2024!

We are organizing an Our Whole Lives series of workshops for young adults, coming later this year.

The Our Whole Lives program values self worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice, inclusivity, and spirituality. It’s an open and affirming sex positive space structured around self-reflection activities, lively conversation, and collaborative information sharing. We’ll talk about relationships of all kinds, gender identity, sexual orientation, risks and deciding whether to take them, communicating about what you want and what feels good and more!  OWL addresses topics typically excluded from sexuality education and health classes, including sexual expression, identity, orientation, and life issues for young adults.