Chair’s Letter

Dear Beloved Community,

Well, it has been quite a year since we last gathered, hasn’t it? For many of us, myself included, the national news and political climate in which we find ourselves can be all consuming, overwhelming, endlessly frightening, infuriating, and depressing.

And yet. And. Yet. There is so much to hope for, and so much to be thankful for. It is good for us to be together. It is particularly important in these times that we be together. That we gather in love, support, strength, and laughter. It is more important than ever that we recommit to each other and our values. And that we laugh and have fun together. I can promise you this: at Summer Institute, there will always be plenty of laughter.

And so we will do all of these things! Gather with us this July, in community and solidarity and fun. In our gathering, find strength and rejuvenation. Play some music, some Peek, and some Euchre. Learn new ways of communicating with others and in line with our values. Sheila Schuh, the adult theme speaker, and Janine Harris Degitz, the youth theme speaker, will both be helping us learn new ways of living our values through the way we communicate, both at home and in the world.

There are some changes this year, and some things that remain the same as always. We’re looking forward to open elections of the next members of the Summer Institute Planning Council, and the Summer Institute Committee on Ministry (formerly the Strategic Planning Committee). We’re super excited about the next great thing in afternoon fun for the children: Dr. WhUU! (Yes, there will be the Tardis!)

In the last several months I have returned again and again to the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her essay entitled We Were Made for These Times. The entire text is here: A favorite exerpt: “I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.”

I cannot wait to see you all again, or meet you for the first time! We’ll see you in July!


Gina Phillips
SIPC 2017 Chair

Theme Speaker: Sheila Schuh

Sheila Schuh is the Director of Religious Education at First Unitarian in Rochester, NY.

Fun Worship!  Social Action!  Sacred Stories!  The Arts!  These are her loves in the ministry. In a culture of many forces which conflict with our UU Principles, Sheila is committed to supporting parents in their roles as spiritual guides and to the principles of Non-Violent Communication.  Sheila is a licensed Creative Arts Therapist, has won awards for intergenerational worship, and helps create workshops, retreats, and webinars through the Liberal Religious Educators Association.

Sheila’s theme with us for the week is Beyond Lip Service: the Courage to Communicate UU Values.

Morning Seminars

  • #1 – Artistic Hand Embroidery

    Kim Homsher

    Design your own artful embroidery while learning 7 basic stitches. Discover how these stitches lead to an infinite world of designs using exciting color combinations and fabric choices. You’ll see how these stitches can be used to create many styles – modern, traditional, trendy, stylized and more. By the end of the week you’ll know how to free-style embroider, follow a pattern, customize a pattern and create your own pattern! You’ll also learn how to transfer a design to fabric and get ideas for framing and displaying your finished work. Join us for fresh perspectives on embroidery, hands-on instruction, inspiration and resources. Enjoy a little slow time as we practice this relaxing, centuries-old meditative art.

    Kim Homsher has been embroidering since her aunt taught her Candlewicking and “Chicken Scratch” techniques over thirty years ago. Since then she’s explored and completed pieces in Blackwork, Drawn Thread, Ribbon Embroidery, Surface Embroidery, Knotwork, and Whitework. She’s currently having fun creating her own designs and “free-styling”, making it up as she goes.

  • #2 – The Healing Drum

    Rebekah Benner

    Share your voice through the drum. No experience needed. Drum rhythms and songs will be taught along with shamanic and trance drumming for personal introspection and self-healing.

    Rebekah has been facilitating drum circles for over 20 years, for area communities, outreach shelters and health agencies. She is founder of Terra Amma Spiritual Center in Akron, and uses crystal singing bowls in weekly sound vibrational healing sessions. She is also a member of the Ethical Metalsmith Guilde and creates adornments from recycled metals, fair trade beads and gems.

    What participants should bring: A pedestal type drum – ashiko, djembe, along with other drums, rattles, bells and percussion instruments. Blanket and small pillow, if you need them for laying on the ground during some journey drumming.

  • #3 – Art as Meditation

    Michele Tarsitano-Amato

    Art has power to connect to one’s inner self, and seeing that expression connects one individual to another. This is why art is so important at all stages of life, and is essential to the second half of our lives. This workshop will provide participants a chance to reflect through art making on the UU Seven Principles. Each day individuals will start with a chalice lighting and quote of a principle. Participants will use the multimedia collage to reflect upon the quote. The last 20 minutes of each day will hold a reflection upon images and how they relate both the quote and one’s inner spiritual journey. Join us for expressions of self through art.

    Michele Tarsitano-Amato holds a Masters in Art/ Art Therapy from Ursuline College. She is an Art Therapist Registered – Board Certified. She has been a member of West Shore UU Congregation since 2002. Her passion is helping older adults with cognitive loss live their most resilient life.

    Things participants should bring: Any art supplies you might have – fun yarns, ribbons, papers.

  • #4 – Once Upon a Time in Judea…. A Story-Focused Intro to the New Testament

    Joan Van Becelaere

    This course approaches the New Testament not as scripture, or a piece of authoritative holy writing, but as a collection of ancient stories. You will be urged to leave behind your pre-conceived notions of the New Testament and explore it as if you have never heard of it before. Participants will be asked to try to understand the historical, political, economic and religious context of the NT stories in the tumultuous, changing Roman world and imagine how these stories might appear to an ancient person. We will also look at other messianic movements in the Roman world, how these influenced early Christianity, and how claims for the divinity of Jesus would have been viewed in the Greco-Roman culture.

    Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is a congregational life consultant for the UUA. Previously, she was the Vice President for Student Services at the Iliff School of Theology, Denver CO, where she also taught UU Polity and History. Much of her masters of divinity work was focused on Hebrew Bible and New Testament studies and she has offered several bible-focused classes at SI.

    Things participants should bring: A copy of the New Testament (RSV or NRSV or NIV)

  • #5 – Liberation, Interdependence, and Transformation: UU Theology Today

    Matthew Johnson

    This is an introduction to the most recent trends in Unitarian Universalist theology. In the last 15 years, UU theology has had a profound development. Grappling with ethics, science, process and liberation theology, and more, we are not the same faith we were a generation ago. In an interactive, multimedia conversation we’ll discover and add to this story.

    Matthew Johnson is the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL. He attended UU Summer Camp for decades and was thrilled to find a Summer camp home at SI last year. He’s the author of “Newborn Bards: A Theology of Preaching for Unitarian Universalists” and the co-chair of the UUA Presidential Search Committee.

  • #6 – Mobilizing Whiteness for Racial Justice

    Claire Galpern

    This workshop aspires to help racial justice advocates of all identities understand and subvert cultures of white supremacy as they manifest in our daily lives and activism. Join us to discuss theories, strategies, and practices of justice-building. We’ll also have opportunities for spiritual reflection, resource sharing, and forming much-needed relationships of sustenance and inspiration. You are very welcome!

    Claire Galpern grew up attending SI and is currently going to Temple University for a Masters in Social Work in community organizing and policy. Prior to that Claire was a community organizer at Youth United for Change in Philadelphia. She leads racial justice workshops for UU youth and loves doing this work with UUs!

  • #7 – Biracial Families Resisting Racial Microagressions: Stories and Experiences of One Family

    Patricia Trudeau and Wilburn Hayden

    Multiracial families are increasing in our society. The Pew Research Center has found that one in seven new marriages in the U.S. involve spouses from different racial groups. Some of the best guides—and those closest at hand—on the journey toward a multiracial society may be members of our congregations who are living in biracial marriages or relationships. This workshop will share stories of microagressions and resistance as challenges that affront biracial families in negotiating daily life in a white hegemonic society.

    Patricia Trudeau (white Canadian) and Wilburn Hayden (black Canadian-American) have been married for nearly 25 years and raised their biracial son in both countries. They have been members of Neighbourhood UU Congregation in Toronto since 2007 following nine years at First Church Pittsburgh. Patricia is completing a Masters of Divinity Degree at the University of Toronto, Emmanuel College and is a candidate for Unitarian ministry. Wilburn is a leading expert on Black Appalachians and Professor at York University, School of Social Work.

    Things participants should bring: A notebook.

  • #8 – Compassionate Connecting: Foundations of Compassionate Communication

    Irene Habermann and Joe Keenan

    Based on the work of Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD in Compassionate Communication, this workshop offers a new model of relating that will help you have open, honest and effective communication from the heart. Learn effective practices that put you in touch with your deeper values and transform self-limiting beliefs, habits, and reactions into resources for healing and connection. Through play, movement, stories, witnessing, sharing, and courageous caring, learn new skills to deepen your empathetic listening skills, cultivate a centered presence in stressful times, gracefully manage difficult conversations, take actions that align with your values, nurture intimate connections and cultivate community, and empower every voice to speak their own truth.

    Irene Habermann has more than 15 years’ experience of sharing Marshal Rosenberg’s NonViolent Communication in various settings in her private life as well as in public groups and in organizations. She also incorporated Dominic Barter’s Restorative Circles process into her life and her work. NVC* has helped deepen her relationships at home and in her community. Joe Keenan began learning and incorporating NVC* in his private relationships and his work with customer relations in 2004. NVC* has transformed his relationship with his children and strengthened his marriage with Irene. It has also helped him to become the number one sought after trainer and customer support analyst in his firm.

    Things participants should bring: An open heart.

  • #9 – Get “F.L.Y.”! (Fitter, Leaner, Younger)

    Christa Champion

    Would you like to regain your youthful daily energy levels? Do you want to feel better, move more easily, and get rid of some of those nagging aches and pains you’ve been carrying around lately? Wouldn’t it be nice to touch your toes again? If you need some motivation to get up off the couch and get active, then this workshop is for you! We will: 1. Review the science behind the powerful anti-aging effects of exercise. 2. Learn basic nutritional information to improve your everyday eating habits for better long-term health. 3. Practice simple and functional body-weight exercises that will improve your posture, strengthen your movements, and increase your flexibility while simultaneously reducing joint pain.

    Christa Champion is an athlete, an educator, and a life-long learner. For twenty-plus years she was a basketball coach, tennis coach, and physical educator at the collegiate and scholastic levels; among her current pursuits, she occasionally works as a private health and fitness consultant. Champion holds a Master of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith College.

    Things participants should bring: Wear loose, comfortable clothing; wear stable closed-toe footwear; bring notebook & pen.

  • #10 – Relaxing and Rejuvenating Yoga Retreat

    Maggie Comstock and Jeremy Brauning

    Ever wanted to learn Yoga? Already a practicing student? Just interested in what all the yoga folks are talking about? Great! Join certified yoga instructors Jeremy Brauning and Maggie Comstock for a calm and uplifting experience. In this workshop, they will explore the different styles of breathing, yoga poses, and guided imagery. This workshop encourages all ages and levels to experience the beautiful art that is yoga.

    Jeremy Brauning and Maggie Comstock have been life-long UUs with a friendship that blossomed at SI two decades ago. They learned at a young age to be peaceful and kind to everyone and both love to be able to teach this through yoga.

    Things participants should bring: Yoga mat, water, and smiling faces

  • #11 – RE: Self-Care & Wellness

    Lisa Theil

    REfresh your attitude and REkindle your spirited sense of wonder through yoga play. REjuvenate your body, mind and stamina with yoga and breath-work. REhydrate your connective tissue through myofascial self-massage & nourishing yoga. REcenter and REbalance yourself by addressing the role of stress in daily life. REconnect to your eternal self through yoga philosophy and meditation.

    Lisa A. Thiel has been practicing yoga and meditation for nearly 20 years and teaching group classes and private sessions for more than 10. She also helps to train advanced teachers in the Brahmrishi Yoga school. Lisa is a bodyworker in the art-forms of Jin Shin Jyutsu, Thai Yoga Massage, and Thai Reflexology, and has over 1,000 hours of training in therapeutic yoga, philosophy, pranayama and meditation. Her passion is helping others develop a relationship with their own selves, and inspiring self-care practices for all stages of life.

    Things participants should bring: Yoga mat, blanket, 2 tennis balls, and (optional but useful) yoga blocks and strap.

  • #12 – My Improvised Life: Comedy as a UU Philosophy

    Mike Frye

    Listening, support, sacrifice; these are all important elements to building community, and are also key ingredients to great comedy! We’ll be learning and practicing the basics of improvised comedy and examining how concepts like mindfulness, giving, and saying “Yes!” can build strong relationships both on stage and in the community at large. You might have fun and learn to embrace your inner weirdness, too.

    Mike Frye has taught and performed both long-form and short-form improv comedy for many years. He was a member of The Babbling Bishops, Ohio Wesleyan’s premiere improv troupe.

    Things participants should bring: As much courage as you can muster.

  • #13 – Swing Dancing for Dummies

    Kathy Ke and Joe Meier

    Swing dancing is a wonderful way to bond with another person, get some exercise, and listen to wonderful music. Learn some basic swing dance moves and impress your friends on the dance floor. No experience is necessary. Please sign up with a partner.

    Joe Meier and Kathy Ke celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this year (2017), and Kathy is still struggling to learn not to lead on the dance floor. Joe is a structural engineer and Kathy is a Hospice and Urgent Care Physician. They attend the UU Church of the North Hills in Pittsburgh where they also sing in the choir.

    Things participants should bring: Comfortable clothes and leather-soled shoes

  • #14 – Living Through Ministerial/Staff Transitions

    Rev. Rod Thompson

    So, your beloved (or not) Minister/DRE/MRE/Music Director/Etc. is leaving. How do you and your congregation live through it? We’ll reveal all the secrets and help you connect with the resources available. it could be a magical time for all. Come see how.

    Rev Rod Thompson is a retired UU Accredited Interim Minister, member of the Kent Church, and former OMD District Consultant. Rod has served congregations in Ohio, Georgia, DC, North Carolina, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and New Mexico.

    Things participants should bring: Writing utensils.

    • Early Afternoon Workshops (1:30– 3:00)

      • Tuesday Special! – UU Family Circles

        Sheila Schuh

        UU Family Circle is a framework to use in your home to build deeper family connections. Based on the work of Kay Pranis, this structure helps families celebrate, make decisions, move through change, appreciate, or solve challenges together. Families are invited to come together to the workshop, learn the characteristics and process of doing a circle as part of their UU faith development at home, try a simple circle, and leave with a worksheet for adapting the framework for their use.

      • Thursday Special! – Parenting as a Spiritual Practice

        Sheila Schuh

        During this session, participants will be invited to try mindfulness practice and non-violent communication to explore needs that are challenging to meet in their parenting. Our aim together is to create a space for any parent or grandparent, single or partnered, to take time out and focus on what can make their parenting more enjoyable as Unitarian Universalists.

      • Children’s Choir

        Joe Schafer

        The Children’s Choir meets 12:45 to 1:30 in the church sanctuary. School aged Children 6th grade and under are welcome to drop by to join.

      • Duck Tape

        Sara Beech

        At Duct Tape workshop, you will be creating your masterpieces out of duck tape in all kinds of color and patterns. We will be working on pull string backpacks, beach bags, wallets and many more items. Duct Tape is not just a tool in your toolbox anymore.

        Sara Beech have been creating and fabricating all kinds of pieces out of Duct Tape for years, and has a vast knowledge of how to construct many things.

        Things participants should bring: We will supply duct tape in basic colors and patterns. If you would like to make grocery bags, you should bring two rolls of tape in different colors or patterns.

      • Shrinky Dink Chalice Jewelry

        Evelyn Sobczek

        We will use Shrinky dink to create jewelry using stamps, ink, crayon, pencil, and markers. Bring your ideas or use a chalice template to make a one-of-a-kind piece. Any age can create beauty that is wearable.

        Evelyn Sobczek is a lifelong UU and has been attending OMDSI for the last 10 years. She has sold jewelry, including shrink dink, in the SI bookstore, created especially for her church table. Evelyn has been making jewelry with shrink dink and other media for over 20 years.

        Things participants should bring: Any chalice ideas, Shrinky dink sheets, markers, stamps, and patience.

      • Body Art

        Deb Cannon

        Throughout history, people have chosen to decorate their bodies for any number of reasons, from fashion to religious ceremony. Come join us as we enjoy our own explorations into adornment. We will have many different options available from tattoos to hair dye. Together we can find our own way of expressing ourselves. We will even have guest artists who can help make your body art dreams come true.

        This is Deb Cannon’s second year hosting Body Art. At home, she plays for a living…with children of all ages.

        Things participants should bring: Their imaginations and any supplies they want to use.

      • Poetry for a Summer Day

        Dean Hazelton

        This is a course in reading and appreciating poetry. We will read and discuss poems on different topics by a variety of poets, from all over the world and different eras. The topics for this summer haven’t been picked yet, but in the past, we discussed nature poetry, love poetry, poems of transformation, poetry reflecting UU principles, poetic meaning lost (and found!) in translation, and poets like Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Rumi.

        Dean Hazelton is not an academic, but is a voracious consumer of poetry. He has led a poetry group at his home church (UU Church of the South Hills) for about 20 years, and has facilitated afternoon workshops at SI for 7 years.

        Things participants should bring: Imaginative open minds.

      • Tie-Dye & Un-Dye

        Nicole Hayman-Staples and Lexi Hayman-Staples

        Come get messy with us at the Summer Institute tie-dye workshop! It’s time to let your creative juices flow and create colorful masterpieces on clothing and other fabrics! Also available is the option to un-dye darker pieces of fabric! Bring as many items as you wish, but please only dye a couple of items each day so everybody has a chance to complete their projects. Little ones should be supervised during project making!

        Nicole and Lexi Hayman-Staples have been running the tie-dye workshop for many years. They both have jobs that are centered around art and creativity! We encourage people to be creative and have fun with tie-dye while avoiding stringent rules.

        Things participants should bring: Items to tie-dye, a positive attitude, and an open mind.

      • Music, Spirituality, Memory, and Emotion: Music will Take Me There

        Becky Dempster and Julie Duhigg

        The power to perceive emotion through music develops early in life and remains with us as we grow and mature into fully functional adults. During the week, Becky and Julie will use science, meditation, music, storytelling, and spirituality and help our workshop participants more fully understand the role music plays in integrating their daily experiences.

        “Music is the saving grace of us all.”~ Julie D.

        Becky is a counselor who has worked in community behavioral health for 20 years. She is an active member of the Akron congregation and our SI community.

        Julie is a psychologist with Counseling Services at Ohio Wesleyan University. Outside of work, Julie enjoys spending time with her family and relishes good food, music, and friends.

      • Plus, these early afternoon events:


        Hal Walker


        Water Games

        Coleen Thoele


      Late Afternoon Workshops (3:15—4:45)

      • Youth Choir

        Joe Schafer

        All those in the SI Youth Program are invited to be a part of the SI Youth Choir starting up this year. Whether you have sung in a choir before or not, if you like to sing please join us. The workshop is led by Joe Schafer, who directs the SI Children’s Choir, as well as children’s and youth choirs at his church.

      • Socrates Café

        Jane Dirks

        Socrates believed that all people had something to contribute to human thought and understanding. That’s why he took his philosophy “to the streets,” engaging those he met with his famous questions. In his book, Socrates Café, philosopher Christopher Phillips develops a technique to get the practice of philosophy out of the Ivory Tower and back into the public square. Using Phillips’ methods, we will generate A Big Question every afternoon, and tackle it through lively and open discussion. Anyone with a brain (or even half!) is welcome!

        Jane Dirks is an anthropologist and long-time SI attendee and workshop presenter, who has facilitated many Socrates Cafés at Winter Institute over the years. She considers SI more of a vision quest than a vacation.

        What participants should bring: A notebook, if you would like to record thoughts or comments, but nothing is required.

      • Sacred Song Circle

        Saunis Parsons

        Want to avoid the early crush of people waiting in line for dinner? Come join us instead for 30 joyful minutes of spiritual and spirited singing in community with the Sacred Song Circle. This group meets from 5:00 till 5:30 PM every day and is open to everyone regardless of age, singing experience, or musical expertise. Sacred Songs are drawn from a variety of sources and are songs with a positive message or theme, such as love, community, peace, care for the Earth, etc. No need to sign up or bring music.

        Saunis Parsons is a member of the UU Church of Kent, and has been singing since she could talk. She has been leading Sacred Song Circles for at least 5 years now, and enjoys bringing this spiritual practice to more and more people.

        What participants should bring: Water to wet your whistle.

      • Mindfulness & Gentle Yoga

        Carol Comstock

        Mindfulness and gentle yoga welcomes the body, mind, and spirit to an expression of balance and peace, through asana (postures), mindfulness, breath, and relaxation. This practice is accessible to any level adult student, as following ahimsa (non-harming) is at the foundation of this style. Every student learns to listen to their body and understand the feeling sense of each pose, achieving union with a greater wellbeing that will expand beyond the mat into daily living.

        Carol Posch Comstock, RYT, has a mystical approach to teaching yoga, informed by her many years as an art-for-meditation teacher & artist. She has an intuitive flair for connecting the natural seasons, chakra symbolism, and expressive arts into her teaching style.

        What participants should bring: Yoga mat and thick cotton blanket.

      • Folk Orchestra

        Pat Lorei

        For instrumentalists with some music reading experience (about middle school level, give or take). Folk orchestra will provide music for the adult vespers services during the week of SI, and possibly other performances as well. We try to “mix it up” for the benefit of the SI community and musicians by trying a variety of types of tunes: traditional folk, ethnic tunes, free form, jazz, and (not limited to) Beatles, to fit with the flow of the evening worship services. Music selection suggestions from participants are always appreciated and considered – and sometime used depending upon service themes and energy level of leader.

        Pat Lorei is a not-yet retired human services worker (Program Specialist, 28 years), SI Folk Orchestra leader (circa 20 years) and musician in “wedding band” The Mar-Vels and acoustic band Bus 17, as well as helping with tunes at the UU Congregation of Erie (PA).

        What participants should bring: Bring your musical instrument and a folding music stand if you have one. Pat will need to know if you have an instrument other than the usual C-Bb-Eb-bass clef notation, so he can write out the notation as needed.

      • Dungeons and Dragons

        Kristy Bores and Reid Parsons

        A workshop for children and adults, grades 8 and above. Use dice and pencils to simulate a fictional fantasy or sci-fi character in this shared-story-telling experience. Experienced players are strongly appreciated, as is anyone who likes to get involved! Most campaigns will run Pathfinder/D&D3.5E. Workshop is limited by the number of Dungeon Masters available to run campaigns. Two 6-8 player campaigns are guaranteed, other campaigns are dependent on participant volunteer.

        Kristy Bores and Reid Parsons have been either attending or running the D&D workshop for almost as long as they’ve been attending SI. Both are experienced table-top dungeon-masters capable of running week-long campaigns for players of varying skill levels.

      • Taking Action on Climate Change

        Bob Mitchell Becky Mitchell

        The 2016 electorate rated climate change nearly last – 16 out of 18 — among national issues. In this workshop, we will explore why this is the case and what tangible actions we can all take to correct it. Each day we will discuss challenges such as: bringing up this “taboo” topic in the first place; thinking about climate change at a personal level; dealing with dismissive arguments; and avoiding the pitfall of “perfect” solutions that undermine good ones. Please join us to discuss these issues, raise the challenges that you see and — above all — to offer solutions.

        Bob and Becky (father and daughter) have been attending SI since 1998. Bob is happily retired and holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a MS in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Physics from University of Pittsburgh. Becky (former SI Young Adult Chair) works as an engineer in a manufacturing facility and holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

      • Doctor WhUU

        RE Program

        Come join us for some wibbley wobbley fun! Join us while we chart the intersection of science and our faith! We will journey in a big blue box through time and space with the Doctor to meet aliens and humans while looking at situations that require them to use their UU values to solve problems.Even if you are not a “Whovian,” jump on and enjoy the journey. This is open to all ages. Children grades 5 and under must be signed in and out.

      • Theme Talk Back

        Sheila Schuh

        Ultimate Frisbee

        Donovan Hayden

      Young Adult Program (SI-ers aged 18-35)

      YAs at SI are a diverse, growing community. Because young adulthood is a time of transition and self-discovery, this year’s Young Adult theme is all about balancing UU beliefs and ideals with living in the real world. Young Adults join the general community for most daytime activities, including meals, theme talk, morning worship, workshops, and evening vespers. They also engage in Young Adult specific activities, which include themed touch groups and their own worship. These touch groups offer a variety of activities that range from trivia to music jams, discussions on broad topics to weird games and provide a daily opportunity for first-timers and old-timers alike to meet new people. Don’t forget to bring outdoor games and crazy clothes for Monte Carnival, where we run all sorts of fun games of chance to raise money for the Scholarship Fund!

      For those Young Adults who want to attend but can’t afford to, there are scholarships available!

      If you can’t take off work for the whole week, there is a discounted “Weekend Deal” option available as well.

      Youth Program (arriving 7th grade-Completed 12th grade)

      Janine Harris Degitz – Compassionate Communication – Restorative Justice:

      Janine has been studying Non-Violent Communication (NVC) since 2005 with a primary focus on Robert Gonzales’s work of Living Compassion. She is a graduate of Robert’s 2009-2010 LIFE program and was an assistant for Robert in the 2012-2013 LIFE program in Portland, OR.  She has spent over 700 hours practicing and supporting Robert and his work. In addition to NVC Janine has been studying conflict resolution, restorative circles, community building, mediation and restorative justice for the past 19 years.  She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Restorative Practices at the International Institute of Restorative Practices in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

      Janine lives in Columbus Ohio with her life partner of 29 years, two children and several hives of bees. Janine regularly facilitates classes and workshops in her community on embodied practices of living compassion and NVC. In addition she is the creator and owner of Fermenting Abundance, a certified teacher of The Embodied Present Process (TEPP) and a teacher mentor of Urban Zen Integrative Therapy. Each of these passions lead Janine in practical ways to support others in sensitizing to their true nature and returning to the wholeness and connection to the passion in their life.

      Certifications, Special Study & Training:
      BS, Information Systems, Kelly School of Business – Indiana University (1987)
      Masters certificate – The International Institute of Restorative Practices(IIRP) (2016)
      Masters degree candidate – MS Restorative Practices – (IIRP – June 2017)
      Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio (CCCO) – facilitator/teacher
      Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio – Board of Directors Co-President
      The Embodied Present Process (TEPP) – certified teacher (2016)
      Urban Zen Integrative Therapist – certified teacher/mentor (2014- Present)
      Natural and Sustainable Bee keeping – Spikenard Bee Sanctuary – Certification (2013)

      Chair’s Letter

      It has arrived, the time when the 2016 Summer Institute Planning Council (SIPC) welcomes old friends and new friends to join us this summer at Oberlin College.

      Our Theme for 2016 is “Covenant and Collective Action” with Matt Meyer who will guide us through the exploration of Unitarian Universalism in the sanctuary, in the house and in the streets.  Through song and rhythm, story and reflection, we’ll explore what a radically inclusive, spiritually alive, and justice centered movement of Unitarian Universalism looks like.

      Summer Institute creates space to be engaged, find quiet spots for meditation, share meals with old friends, make new connections, worship and sing together, carry on traditions of tie dyeing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, making music, and eating soft serve three times a day if you like.

      Morning seminars for adults range from physically active to intellectually stimulating, from spiritual to musical, educational to entertaining.   Our morning programming for children consists of child care for infants, RE programming for children preschool thru 6th grade,  Youth programming for grades 7-12 and a Young Adult program –evening activities, vespers and the pub round out our day.  All are on the website, please find us at for details.

      Watch for our new and improved easy to find “Information Center” that will be in the lobby of First Church where morning worship, vespers, evening programming and our Children’s program take place.

      A new addition last year at Summer Institute was “The World Café”.   Rev. Renee Ruchotzke,  UUA Congregational Life Staff, along with SIPC members facilitated “Visioning for the Future” with three sessions:  SI Culture, SI Stewardship and SI Covenant.

      With feedback we received from The World Café’ and evaluations shared by the larger community, The Summer Institute Planning Council (SIPC)  has created the formation of 2 subcommittees to implement avenues for:  more transparency in how we choose leadership, how we can best plan for our future as a community while still managing the work that needs to get done to make sure that SI happens year to year and to reexamine how we manage breaches in covenant are priorities.

      This will by my 31st SI and a saying that I heard all those years ago still rings true “TMTD” –too much to do… choose well and we hope to see you in July.
      Liz Bright, Chair -2016 Summer Institute

      Theme Speaker: Matt Meyer

      Covenant and Collective ActionMattMeyer2

      Unitarian Universalism is a faith of covenant and collective action.  Our shared spiritual practice informs our work in the world, and our social justice work shapes our spiritual path. This year’s theme talk will be an exploration of Unitarian Universalism in the sanctuary, in the home, and in the streets. We will look at what the experience of music has to teach us about community, the stories of our shared faith, and the how we live our values in the world. We will share the best practices for deepening worship and hear the stories of UU’s exploring new ways of living their faith in congregations and beyond.
      Through song and rhythm, story and reflection (and a lot of participation!) we’ll explore what a radically inclusive, spiritual alive, and justice-centered movement of Unitarian Universalism looks like.

      Matt Meyer is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, working to deepen and expand Unitarian Universalism community through engaging worship and community organizing. As an itinerant worship leader, he has lead services for hundreds of UU congregations across the US and Canada. He is a regular guest presenter for professional gathering of UU’s, speaking on music, worship, and UU theology.

      Matt is founding board member and resident of the Lucy Stone Cooperative, an intentional living community grounded in the values and tradition of UUism.

      He is also a founding worship leader and the current director of Operations and Community Life for the Sanctuary Boston, a contemporary worship community.


      Rev. Rose Eddington Rev. Edington has a BA from Alderson-Broaddus College (1969) with a major  in Humanities with an emphasis on English Literature; a Master’s of Divinity in Theology from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School (1973), Rochester, NY;  and a Doctor in Ministry in Feminist Liberation Theology from Episcopal Divinity School (1998), Cambridge, MA.

      She was ordained to the American Baptist ministry in 1975, but found herself struggling with traditional Christian theology and burgeoning feminist theory and theology.  She served as Director of the Stamford CT Area Sexual Abuse Crisis Center and began to explore UUism, becoming Director of Religious Education at the UU Society of Stamford.  She transferred her ordination to Unitarian Universalism in 1984 and served a variety of congregations, initially in the New York-New England area, and for the past 12 years in Charleston WV.  As of January 31, 2014, she retired as co-minister of the UU Congregation in Charleston WV.

      She is married to UU minister and SI 2016 chaplain Mel Hoover. To continue their commitment to justice and activism (particularly on environmental and antiracism issues), they have co-founded MelRose Ministries for Positive Transformative Change. Also, Rose is the immediate past Chair of the Board for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.


      Scottbw2[1]Rev. Scott Rudolph has served the UU Church of the North Hills since 2011.  His ministry seeks to deeply engage joy, compassion, and spiritual growth. He states, “Joy celebrates the wonder and beauty of life while compassion meets suffering with companionship and injustice with opposition. Spiritual growth explores our connections with the Sacred, grounds us in our values, and moves us to put our faith into action.” Scott’s ministry and life are guided by gratitude, awe, and love.

      Born in Chicago, Scott was raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky among roots music and beautiful landscapes. He began his spiritual exploration in the Presbyterian Church, which provided experiences he greatly values and still draws upon. He attended Hanover College in Indiana studying English and Philosophy. Scott previously worked with Colorado State University as the Assistant Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations and as a Case Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana.

      Scott received a Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary. During seminary, he worked as a hospital chaplain at Christ Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. He served East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, Washington for a year as their intern minister. Scott has led young adult programs at Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado and at First Unitarian of Chicago.

      Scott shares his life with his wife Rebecca, their two children Simon and Tessa, and a mop-like white dog named Hobbuddy.  Outside of the church walls, Scott enjoys general wandering, either in the woods or in a city, dance and music, and cooking with the radio on.

      christie-anderson1[1]For 30 years, Christie Anderson’s professional career was devoted to the development of affordable rental housing for Portage County’s low-income population. Now retired from her career, Christie works part-time as the manager of a food program serving Kent’s vulnerable population. While appreciative of her Protestant upbringing, Christie has embraced the liberal religious perspective of Unitarian Universalism since 2000. Christie earned the title of Commissioned Lay Leader in October 2008 following her completion of a 2 year educational program of the UUA’s Ohio-Meadville District. Upon graduating from The New Seminary of Interfaith Studies in New York City in 2011, Christie was ordained as an Interfaith Minister. Christie is active in the worship life of the Kent UU church and assists the settled minister with pastoral services.

      melissa-carvill-ziemer[1]Melissa Carvill-Ziemer has served as the minister of the Kent UU Church since September, 2005. Melissa did not grow up in a particularly religious home. She became a spiritual seeker in college and that is when she became acquainted, and fell in love, with Unitarian Universalism. Melissa graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Women’s Studies in 1995 and earned her M.Div. from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2005. Before entering the ministry Melissa worked as a sexual assault and domestic violence counselor and educator and as a pre-school teacher. She also waited her share of tables and worked on a couple of organic farms. Melissa loves outdoor adventure, especially hiking and canoeing. She lives in Kent with her partner, Evin Carvill-Ziemer (also a Unitarian Universalist minister), their children Rylan and Owen, and their dogs, Migo and Zoey.

      Morning Seminars

      • 1. Protecting Our Blue Boat Home

        Bob Mitchell

        Pope Francis has focused the world’s attention on the climate change crisis through his encyclical “Laudato Si — On Care for our Common Home”. Nations are beginning to take concrete action, but much more is needed to avert dire consequences. In this workshop we will examine the wide diversity of public opinion on climate change, the underlying science, and the likely impacts for humanity. Most importantly, we will explore how each of us can harness our talents to help transform public dialog and achieve policy changes that will preserve our Common Home — our “Beautiful Blue Boat Home” — for ourselves, our children and generations to come.

        Bob Mitchell became a member of First Church Pittsburgh in 1986. He holds BS and MS degrees in physics and a PhD in electrical engineering. He retired in 2014 following a career that ranged from high power lasers to robotic perception systems. For the past six years, he has been researching the science and politics of climate change. He is currently the liaison to Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

      • 2. Polymer Clay with a Side of Beads

        Christy Decker

        Experience the wonderful and amazingly versatile medium that is polymer clay. We’ll cover the fundamentals as necessary, and demonstrate basic and more advanced techniques based on group preference, requirement, and time. And because we can make beads, let’s plan on stringing necklaces, malas, prayer beads, bracelets, or the like. Participants will need to purchase some materials in advance.

        Christy Decker has worked with polymer clay for over fifteen years, and beads and jewelry since about 1983. She has homeschooled her three sons, taught RE for 15 years, and believes that she has a knack for instruction. She enjoys turning people on to polymer clay and making jewelry.

      • 3. Daily Practices for Nurturing the Inner Child Artist: Cultivating Creativity 2.0

        Margaret McConnell & Dawn Corley

        Building on the basic tools of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, we will be exploring new ways to move through resistance and nurture the inner child artist. Through simple projects involving art, writing, meditation, and movement we will seek to entice the inner child artist to play. We also will have projects that will give us the tools to blow through the blocks to our creative growth. Modeled on a workshop offered at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, Dawn Corley and Margaret McConnell will offer the highlights of Cameron’s principles in a supportive, enlightening, and fun manner. No prior knowledge of The Artist’s Way, or attendance of the 2015 Workshop is necessary.

        Dawn Corley, a member and Worship Leader of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron is a writer, calligrapher, and long-time journaler who has done extensive reading of Cameron’s works. Margaret McConnell, a writer, long-time journaler, and leader of meditation groups, co-facilitated an Artist’s Way group for two years at UUCA with Dawn.

      • 4. Discover Your Wisdom with SoulCollage®

        Julie Henderson

        SoulCollage® is an amazingly delightful and profound process for self-discovery developed by author and therapist Seena Frost. More than just a creative exercise, SoulCollage is grounded in the work of Carl Jung, James Hillman and Jean Houston. SoulCollage gently enables you to hear the deep wisdom of your own inner knowing and to honor all aspects of your life, so that you find yourself becoming ever more whole, ever more at peace, and awakened to the joy of simply being your true self. This experiential seminar will give you an overview of the theory and structure of SoulCollage. Then we’ll use the rest of the week to actually engage in the process, creating your own deck of beautiful SoulCollage cards and learning a simple process to work with the collages you create to access your inner wisdom and understand the messages the images have for you. With only images, glue and your own willingness to be open to the journey, you truly can “discover your wisdom and change your world.”

        Julie Henderson, MS, LMT has a Master’s Degree in the study of adult development and aging, complemented by over 20 years working in the holistic health field. When introduced to SoulCollage it was love at first sight, and she trained as a Facilitator in early 2009. Through her business, Our Sacred Pause, Julie uses SoulCollage and other holistic modalities to help people reconnect to a felt sense of authenticity and wholeness, and supports them in the work of creating lives that resonate and reflect those deep inner truths.

      • 5. Discovering a God That Could Be Real

        Michelle Buhite

        A discussion based on Nancy Abrams’ book, A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet. This book is a complete game-changer in the humanist-theist divide; together we can impact the evolution of God.

        Michelle Buhite is the developmental minister for the UU Church of Amherst in Williamsville, NY. She is passionate about Unitarian Universalism as a life-saving, soul-saving, planet-saving faith.

      • 6. Advocacy for Social Justice

        Max Grubb

        Having trouble generating congregational or public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy? If you build they will come does not work for social justice causes. Effective advocacy is vital as UUs pursue important social justice issues that challenge us as advocates. This seminar will give participants an understanding of what advocacy is, what it means to be an advocate, the basic fundamentals of advocacy, and advocacy in the 21st century. During SI, participants will experience the fun of applying concepts in advocating a cause or policy concerning SI.

        Dr. Max Grubb, a Medina, Ohio native, has a doctorate in communication from Ohio University, specializing in international media and development communications and advocacy, with an outside area in political science. Besides academic experience, he has over thirty years of professional commercial, public and community media experience. In addition, Dr. Grubb has served for over eighteen years as an international communications/media development consultant for state department funded projects.

      • 7. Using Whiteness for Racial Liberation

        Jessica Halperin

        This #BlackLivesMatter movement moment is calling upon white people to organize and take action for racial justice. There are many vital and strategic ways for white folks to be involved: political education, relationship building, direct action, and more. To do so, white people need to be able to see where their power, privilege, assumptions, and cultural values make an impact. In short, we need to understand whiteness. Join us for conversations that are academic and activist, challenging and liberating. People of all racial identities are welcome.

        Jessie Halperin is a life-long UU lay leader and OMDSI attendee. She recently left her faith-based advocacy work in Washington DC, including a position with the Unitarian Universalist Association, to study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Jessie is a young adult and likes to spend her time having adventures and collaborating towards a more just and loving world.

      • 8. American Sign Language for Beginners

        Skyler Pierce

        This seminar will guide individuals to obtain a basic foundation in American Sign Language (ASL). In addition to fundamental signs of communication, they will also learn about sociocultural factors that influence social interaction within the Deaf community, salient historical facts about Deaf Culture, and answers to questions that they may have, such as how would a Deaf parent know that their child is crying in another room? How would someone who is Deaf know if there was a knock on their door? What is the difference between Deaf and deaf? (Hint: there is one!)

        Skyler Pierce is currently studying psychology at The University of Akron. She has completed two years of sign language classes and is an officer of The American Sign Language Association on campus. She spends much of her free time at social events within the Deaf community, having hosted several events herself. She also tutors ASL students.

      • 9. The Divine Feminine in the Bible and Beyond

        Rev. Joan Van Becelaere

        To the casual reader, the Hebrew Bible may look like the manifesto of the original “Old Boys Club.” But the deeper spiritual experience behind the stories included the Divine Feminine and the clues can be found throughout the pages, if you know where to look. Early Christianities developed in a cultural sea that was awash with the Divine Feminine. And many of these cultural elements helped shape Christian worship, theology and art. In this course, we will go on a socio-historical-poetic hunt for the Goddess through the pages of the Bible and on into the Nag Hammadi documents and other early Christian heretical sources. (Please bring a Bible to class)

        Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is a Unitarian Universalist minster, Congregational Life Consultant, and Staff Lead for the Central East Regional Group of the UUA. Her previous classes at SI have included ones on the Hebrew Bible, Jesus, the women of American Transcendentalism and Trends in American Religion.

      • 10. Swing Dancing for Dummies

        Kathy Ke and Joe Meier

        If you can count to four, you can learn to dance! Kathy Ke and Joe Meier are back on the dance floor after a brief hiatus due to injury (not caused by dancing). Bring a partner and learn some basic swing dance moves; then impress everyone at the Wednesday night family dance. Class is limited to 12 pairs so we can provide individualized attention.

        Kathy Ke and Joe Meier have been married for 24 years and have been coming to SI for the past 11 years. Kathy is a Hospice Physician who has been dancing since she started walking. Joe is a Structural Engineer who sometimes confuses his left and right feet but has learned to dance in spite of this.

      • 11. Balancing Body & Mind through Yoga

        Lisa Thiel

        Discover your dosha (Ayurvedic mind/body constitution) and learn how using this tool improves your health and creates more balance and ease in your life. Each person is unique, with different reactions to life events, physical and emotional tendencies, and individual needs. Understanding our own specific body/mind constitution can help address imbalances to bring ourselves back into natural alignment with life. Through discussion and practice, we’ll work on understanding the concept of doshas, discovering your dominant dosha and how it can change depending on life situations, learning how to recognize when you’re out of balance, and learning how to regain balance by customizing your yoga practice.

        Lisa Thiel is a 500 level yoga teacher and thai bodyworker with special trainings in therapeutic approaches to practice, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises). She has been practicing yoga and meditation for nearly 20 years and has traveled three times to India for intensive study.

      • 12. The Zen Experience

        Ven. Shih Ying-fa

        Venerable Shih Ying-Fa, Abbot of CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Center of Cleveland, will lead participants in a week of authentic, monastery-style Zen practice. Participants will be instructed in Zen seated and walking meditation, Zen chanting practice, and how to maintain Zen mindfulness in a group meditation setting. Participants will have the opportunity to experience Zen meditation practices such as koans, huatou and silent illumination. Lectures on aspects of Zen history and teachings will also be presented to provide participants with a seminary-like experience. Topics will include Zen’s origins in China, the Five Houses of Zen, and the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures. Venerable Ying-Fa will be available for one-on-one interviews with participants both during the sessions and also during off-hours. Participants who have an established meditative practice are welcome to bring their own meditation cushions, mats, etc. Chairs will also be available for those who do not wish to sit near the floor.

      • 13. Piece by Piece

        Torie Thorne

        Mosaic is the art of creating images by assembling small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other material. This accessible art form is great for “artists” and “non-artists” alike. In this workshop, you will be introduced to a variety of materials – bold, matte, shiny, iridescent and downright unique – that can be combined to make stunning mosaics. Students will come away with all the basics of mosaic making as well as more advanced techniques. With access to images to inspire, you will learn about materials, adhesives, tools, how to cut and lay tiles and glass to achieve movement and flow. Each student will be able to make a set of 4 coasters, 2 picture frames or a full size solid mosaic piece. Limited to 25 people.

        Torie Thorne is a Toledo based artist who works in many mediums but prefers glass. Mosaics became a passion for her about five years ago when she made her first piece and was hooked! She enjoys the freedom and creativity that different colors, materials, and textures allow. Torie can’t wait to share her ideas and experience with the SI community.

      • 14. The Sacred Center: Art, Breath, & Creative Movement

        Carol Comstock

        Connect to the sacred center of your body, mind, and spirit through movement, breath, and art-as-meditation. Pilates and Yoga-inspired movement and walking meditation will compliment art exploration, ultimately creating a personal “sacred center” symbol. Participants should bring a yoga mat or thick towel or blanket.

        Carol Comstock is an artist/teacher and founding member of The Labyrinth Society. She owns and operates Goods of the Spirit Art Studio and is an aficionado of “art as meditation” and body/mind/spirit movement arts, expanding her creative spirit over the last year by studying and becoming certified as a Yoga and Pilates Teacher.

      Youth Program (arriving 7th grade-Completed 12th grade)

      Drumming and Community

      Matt Dudack’s Found Sounds

      The drum is a worldwide phenomenon, with every culture having their own version of percussion music.  Found Sounds will take the audience on a virtual journey to Africa, Cuba, Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago to show how drumming is a part of life.  Alumni of the University of Akron Percussion Program, the musicians will have the participants create percussion music and learn about the historical and cultural context of drumming, especially that of the steel pan. All youth will engage in the different styles of drumming and have the opportunity to make music together.

      Theme Speaker

      Matt Dudack is Senior Lecturer in Music at The University of Akron School of Music Percussion Department and is the Artistic Director of the University of Akron Steel Drum Band.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Hartt School and a master’s degree in percussion performance from The University of Akron.

      Under his direction The University of Akron Steel Drum Band has received many accolades, including Grammy and Emmy award nominations, and has performed for such dignitaries as President Bill Clinton and (then candidate) Barack Obama.  “Live at EJ Thomas Hall,” a recording with guest artists David Rudder, Andy Narell, Ray Holman, Cliff Alexis, and Pan Ramajay was nominated for a Grammy award.  “A Kiss for Christmas,” and “By Request” bring updated steelpan recordings of holiday and island classics.  The University of Akron Steel Drum Band’s most recent project, “Hammer on Steel,” includes a documentary about the origins of the steelpan and a concert video.  Besides receiving eight Emmy award nominations, it has aired across the United States on various PBS stations.  The University of Akron Steel Drum Band continues to push the musical boundaries of the steelpan art form along with bringing in the best in the field as guests including Boogsie Sharpe, Ray Holman, David Rudder, Andy Narell, Relator, Robbie Greenidge, Earl Rodney, Liam Teague, and Cliff Alexis.

      Besides his duties at The University of Akron, Matt is a member of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and is co-founder of the Akros Percussion Collective, a chamber group which performs contemporary music internationally.  He is also co-founder of the 7 Mile Isle Steelband, which is on the rosters of Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio and the Children’s Concert Society of Summit County.  Besides countless private bookings, 7 Mile Isle presents concerts and workshops educating students about the history and music of Trinidad and Tobago.

      Matt is also on the faculties of Muskingum University, the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Canton Country Day School.  Matt is a frequent performer at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and has premiered new works for percussion by Ben Johnston, John Bergamo, Emmanuel Sejourne, and Stuart Saunders Smith.

      Young Adult Program (SI-ers aged 18-35)

      YAs at SI are a diverse, growing community. Because young adulthood is a time of transition and self-discovery, this year’s Young Adult theme is all about balancing UU beliefs and ideals with living in the real world. Young Adults join the general community for most daytime activities, including meals, theme talk, morning worship, workshops, and evening vespers. They also engage in Young Adult specific activities, which include themed touch-base groups and their own worship. The themed touch-base groups offer a variety of activities that range from exploring nature to discussing what “growing up” really means, and provide a daily opportunity for first-timers and old-timers alike to meet new people. Don’t forget to bring formal evening wear for the Young Adult run Monte Carlo Night, where we run all sorts of fun games of chance to raise money for the Scholarship Fund!

      For those Young Adults who want to attend but can’t afford to, there are scholarships available!

      If you can’t take off work for the whole week, there is a discounted “Weekend CON” option available as well.

      Early Afternoon Workshops (1:30– 3:00)

      Unlike adult morning seminars, children’s RE, and youth programming where you commit for the week, afternoons at SI are more “come and go as you please.” You don’t sign up for these workshops but enjoy the offerings, or exercise, (or nap!) as the spirit moves you. Most are intergenerational and designed to be experienced by families together. Please remember to be responsible for your children during this time. Early afternoon workshops are from 1:30 to 3 each afternoon. Late afternoon workshops are from 3:15 to 4:45.

      • Children’s Choir

        Joe Schaffer

        The Children’s Choir meets 12:45 to 1:30 in the church sanctuary. School aged Children 6th grade and under are welcome to drop by to join.

      • Duct Tape

        Sara Beech

        Today’s Duct Tape has many more uses than just a tool in your toolbox. We will be creating your master pieces out of all kinds of colors and patterns. The focus of the workshop will be on the construction of beach/grocery bags, pull string backpacks, wallets and so much more. If you would like to make grocery bags, you should bring two rolls of tape in different colors or patterns.

      • Body Art

        Deb Widner

        What could be more mindfully meditative than creating a multicolored chalice which winds around your ankle? Or a beaded hair wrap in your best friend’s (or your daughter’s or dad’s) flowing locks? Join us under the trees for a peaceful afternoon of world music and body decoration.

      • It’s Game Time

        Claire Galpern and Danny Galpern

        Come learn about all kinds of outside group games to play! We will be learning and playing games that help groups get connected, have a lot of fun with each other and play hard together. We will be playing old classics and learn lots of new games. All ages welcome.

      • Tie-Dye and Un-Dye

        Nicole Hayman and Lexi Staples

        Tie Dye at Summer Institute is an absolute must. This intergenerational workshop is great for all skill levels, while being designed with beginners in mind. Join us for this fun and colorful project! Pick a pattern, freestyle dye, or un-dye a darker clothing item! Let your creativity flow with little rules or regulations! Limit two items per camper please!

      • Poetry for a Summer Day

        Dean Hazelton

        This is a workshop in reading and appreciating poetry. We will read aloud and talk about poetry on a variety of subjects from different times and poetic traditions. Some possible topics are nature; love, lust and loss; poetry by Rumi, mystical poetry and poems about poetry.

      • Play with Me

        Colleen Thoele

        This workshop is for taking a few moments to stop rushing and just play. Each day a new activity will be introduced that is designed for small children through older adults to enjoy together. Drop in and spend some time creating, connecting and playing. Create a sidewalk paint mural, paint your own SI rocks and take home a treasure box of your week at SI.

      • Chalice Jewelry

        Evelyn Sobczak

        During this workshop we will make UU chalice jewelry using various materials including shrinky dink, sculpey, beads and wire. In addition to jewelry you will be able to make wearable art, ornaments, and magnets. There will be something for all ages and abilities. Participants should bring their own chalice ideas, shark teeth (makes good chalices in sculpey), shells, beads, and lots of smiles!

      Late Afternoon Workshops (3:15—4:45)

      • Ultimate Frisbee

        Connor McCrystal and Ryan Haker

        Ultimate Frisbee is one of the most popular workshops at SI with over 40 participants taking part on most days. Connor and Ryan have been playing at SI since they were 10 years old and keep coming back because they love the truly intergenerational aspect of the workshop. Participants will need athletic attire, a water bottle, and sunscreen.

      • Community Drum Circle

        Rebekah Benner

        Make a joyful noise in a free-form conversation with percussion, suitable for all ages!
        This will be a gently-led drum circle, some basic lessons, a few simple songs; with an emphasis on learning to use our musical “voices” in a group conversation! Some rattles, bells, and small drums will be available; but, if you have percussion toys to share, please bring them along!

      • Dungeons and Dragons

        John Bores and Reid Parsons

        This workshop is open to everyone in middle school and older. Dungeons and Dragons is a table-top fantasy role-playing game. The leader of the group runs a campaign, or story, for the participants, acting as their eyes and ears into the world. Dice, pencils and paper serve as the mechanics of the universe, keeping track of the player’s abilities and influencing the outcome of events.

      • Socrates Café

        J ane Dirks

        Socrates believed that all people had something to contribute to human thought and understanding. That’s why he took his philosophy “to the streets,” engaging those he met with his famous questions. In his book “Socrates Café,” philosopher Christopher Phillips develops a technique to get the practice of philosophy out of the Ivory Tower and back into the public square. Using Phillips’ methods, we will generate A Big Question every afternoon, and tackle it through lively and open discussion. Anyone with a brain (or even half!) is welcome! Participants should bring a notebook, if they would like to record thoughts or comments, but nothing is required.

      • Integration of Dance, Yoga and Tai Chi

        Nassim Mir

        In this workshop we will learn a combination of free form dance, yoga and Tai Chi accompanied with international music. Participants should bring a yoga mat, men should wear comfortable clothes, and women clothes that flow & a light scarf.

      • Sacred Song Circle

        Saunis Parsons

        Want to avoid the early crush of people waiting in line for dinner? Instead, come join us for 30 joyful minutes of spiritual and spirited singing in community with the Sacred Song Circle. This group meets from 5:00 till 5:30 every day and is open to everyone regardless of age, singing experience or musical expertise. Sacred songs come from a variety of sources and are songs with a positive message or theme like peace, love, community, and care for the earth. Bring water to wet your whistle. No need to sign up. The more the merrier!

      • Hogwarts

        Wendy Mann, Todd Packer, Special appearances by Kent Hogwarts professors, Prefects from the Kent Hogwarts David, Merlin and others..

        With guest wizards and prefects from far and wide, new activities joining old favorites, songs galore and magical fun, it will be a special Hogwarts this year. We invite you to join us on the Quest for the Invisible Chalice. We look forward to good times and as we pursue how UU principles and Hogwarts practices can help kids have fun while discovering the invisible and learning to use light for good.

        Daily activities include:


        • singing the Hogwarts’ House songs as well as some re­purposed tunes
        • ­

        • an art, craft or experiment relating to the theme of the invisible chalice
        • ­

        • physical activities to build confidence and community
        • ­

        • and, of course, Quidditch Practice

        Special events during the week include:


        • The Sorting Hat announces your house (on Tuesday with a special announcer)
        • ­

        • Making special House banners
        • ­

        • Special visit from none other than Professor Dazzleswift!

        Participants: please bring a wand (or a stick) to be decorated, a cloak or large black button down shirt that can be cut to size. (we will have limited extras)

        Children 5 and under: please bring a parent or guardian! (recommended age is 5 and older)

        Prefects please bring your singing voices to help and lead your house song!

        • Also in the Afternoon:
          Pat Lorei – Folk Orchestra
          Hal Walker – Choir
          Theme Talk Back