Worship and Sharing
At Universalist Recovery Church, we offer a few different ministries. First is our open and affirming spiritual fellowship that helps us sustain our recovery. Every Sunday afternoon, we gather every to explore themes like forgiveness, justice, freedom, obedience, darkness, faithfulness, hope, integrity, and love. We look at our life and our recovery from those topics.
One Sunday a month, we examine scripture readings to discover meaning we can take back to our daily lives. We draw on Christian and Jewish scriptures, as well as the literature of other world religions.
Regardless of whether we are holding a Sharing Circle or a Scripture Study, we gather for reflection and support. We talk openly about the struggles and gifts of addiction, trauma, loss, incarceration, pain, and the challenges of everyday life. We share in a way that fosters healing for recovery.
This year, we have started two outreach ministries. The first of those is a prison ministry. Twice a month, we go into a local prison and share worship and reflection with interested inmates. Using readings, music, story, and discussion, we bring our recovery themes to men who want to deepen their spiritual connections and enter into recovery. Each time, we not only touch hearts and minds, but we learn and grow and discover more about ourselves.
Our second outreach ministry is teaching Our Whole Lives, a comprehensive sexuality curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, to at-risk youth. Not only do many teens link sex and drugs, but teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual aggression have become significant community problems.
By encouraging discussion about gender and power and questioning stereotypes, Our Whole Lives reduces the rates of all these challenges adolescents face. Youth who have been in these classes tend to delay sexual activity and, when they do become sexually active, they use safe-sex practices more often than do their peers.
Our Whole Lives has received praise from sexuality educators and organizations. For instance, the Illinois Campaigns for Responsible Sex Education reviewed 18 curricula. Our Whole Lives was one of two that received a perfect score of 15 out of 15. The other curriculum was F.L.A.S.H. Other groups that recommend Our Whole Lives include the Virginia Health Sexuality Workgroup and the Minnesota Sexuality Education Resource Review Panel.
Our program, OWL Out, strives to help youth appreciate the gift of human sexuality while learning to have healthy relationships, believe in themselves, honor their sacredness, and decouple sexuality from drug use. Our classes are trauma-informed and recovery oriented.
A Listening Presence
A third outreach ministry is in the planning stages. A Listening Presence will train chaplains – whether professional chaplains, clergy, or lay spiritual leaders – to bring their compassionate presence to people in the community. Watch for updates as we grow and develop this ministry.