Wildflower Church is a deliberately inclusive, open-minded religious community in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, growing spiritually together, spreading love, justice, and joy! We create our community by covenanting one to another, using our Covenant of Right Relations. We meet in South Austin, at our shared campus.
Gnostic Roots of Unitarian-Universalism
June 25, 2017
Guest Speaker: Ben J. Cunningham
The earliest Christians were known as Gnostics. Many of their beliefs will resonate with Unitarian-Universalists. The Roman Church spent centuries trying to destroy this early Gnostic movement (and its adherents), and was more or less successful. Within the last few decades archeologists and biblical scholars have discovered a number of seminal “Gospels” of Gnostic Christianity that in many ways have altered the way modern Christianity is presented. Spiritual threads of these writings run through Unitarian-Universalism, Buddhism, and other traditions that have tended the flames of these ancient candles of wisdom for millennia.
About Ben: For half a century Ben has been a student of philosophy, history, and the great Wisdom Traditions of the world. A Buddhist-Unitarian-Universalist, steeped in Eastern and Western Perennial Wisdom traditions, Ben currently is completing graduate level studies at the University of Philosophical Research in the fields of interconnected old and new philosophies of the West and East, comparative religions, and transpersonal psychology. His day job is peacemaking, as an attorney-mediator. Ben is a founding partner of Lakeside Mediation Center in Austin, a national and international dispute resolution practice. Ben is happily married to Wildflower’s own Cathy Cramer, who keeps him (somewhat) tethered to planet Earth.
Our special offering recipient for the second quarter of the year, which is collected the third Sunday of the month, is for PODER’s Young Scholars for Justice, a Summer Leadership Development program for youth. The project is led by Susana Almanza, a founder of PODER which is Austin’s first and foremost environmental justice organization.
If you have lived in Austin a while, you may recognize PODER as the group that led the successful fight against the Tank Farm, a toxic fuel storage facility in East Austin. The Tank Farms location was itself a legacy of the 1928 Master Plan, which both created Austin’s geographical racial segregation and intentionally zoned industrial uses in East Austin. PODER means People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources, and also means “power” in Spanish. They have continued the struggle against harmful industries located within residential areas, and today they also work to resist gentrification and advocate for Austin’s most vulnerable communities. You may remember that Susana gave a Forum here last year on behalf of the struggling residents of the Cactus Rose trailer park.
Their Young Scholars for Justice summer program is designed to empower youth and young adults of color to address education, environmental, economic and social justice issues affecting them, and ensure gender, racial and resource equity. This summer’s curriculum includes East Austin’s history, restorative justice practices, and gathering an oral history. The program is very participatory and includes many field trips. Through this program, PODER is teaching and inspiring the next generation of community activists.
Visit the Adult Programs page for a complete listing of groups and courses. Childcare is available for Sunday classes between 9:30 and 1, and may be available for other classes and groups.
fourth Tuesday evenings
Consider art as a spiritual practice with other artists
monthly, third Sunday evenings
Discuss technology, morality, cooperation, and growth in the world’s future
ongoing, Sunday mornings
Sunday mornings, 9:30am
Explore Buddhist teachings and practices in a UU context
Climate Change Education Class
third Sunday mornings, 9:30am
Discussions around climate change and environmental justice
Tuesdays, 10:00 am
Focus on breath, kindness to self and others, and curiosity.
join Facebook group for meeting times
Connect with other young adults at Wildflower & beyond.
drop-in, Sunday mornings
second and fourth Sunday mornings, 9:30am
TED Talk discussion group
WildEarth Climate Action Team had such a great time at our picnic last month that we decided to hold another: Friday, June 30, 6:30pm at Garrison Park. Watch for more details next week.
Are you shopping for a church home that doesn’t require commitment to any specific metaphysical beliefs? Unitarian Universalism is a non-credal religion that draws wisdom from many religions, literature, art, and science, and interprets it through a concrete set of principles. We believe in Standing on the Side of Love for all the world’s people. You can explore the covenant, mission, values, and vision of Wildflower online.
Building the Beloved Community in 78745
Join in the Neighborhood Walk, June 29, (note change of date) sponsored by the Armadillo Park Neighborhood Association (APNA) and supported by Go Austin, Vamos Austin (GAVA), and Wildflower Church. Walk in the neighborhood to meet residents and learn about their needs and concerns.
For more information, contact Dee Adams.
UU World Travelers Program
Each Sunday children “tour” a different country, learn about that country’s culture, religions, and history, and engage in music and dance, arts and crafts, games and activities led by congregational members. The program is provided by “Tour Guides,” who have volunteered to plan and lead a Sunday tour, share their knowledge, and bring their travel experiences into the classroom. This class will meet in the Community room and will be over at 12:30. Middle and high school youth are invited to join our World Travelers or stay in the worship service.
From tulips to windmills to canals we will explore what it is like to live below sea level and explore some of the history of the Netherlands and Holland with Tommy Lukens.