Speaker: April D. DeConick

Naturally Supernatural

Unitarian Universalists draw on many sources for our faith including the “direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.” Okay. But what does this mean, especially in light of the fact that Unitarian Universalism is deeply linked to humanism, rationalism, and atheism? Since Unitarian Universalism tends to shy away from the supernatural, how do we explain these direct religious experiences which appear to be ‘universal’? Professor DeConick engages these questions and more as she shares her insights as a religious studies scholar about mysticism, religious experiences, and our natural cognitive abilities.

The Future of Unitarian Universalism

Unitarian Universalism is fifty years old, making the transition from the founders to a new generation of people. DeConick analyses Unitarian Universalism from the perspective of the sociology of new religious movements that succeed and fail. She discusses Unitarian Universalism’s struggle to transmit a distinctive identity based in humanism and liberal religion, and to retain more that 10% of its youth after high school graduation. While she asks us to think about practical solutions, she is confident that campus ministry is so essential that the future of the movement depends on Unitarian Universalism going back to college.