AUUF uses theme-based ministry as a way of exploring topics relevant to our lives and our spiritual journeys. Each month, a different theme to guide our consideration of important aspects of life. These themes are Touchstones* that we explore in selected Sunday services and in other ways, such as through covenant groups and religious exploration. The hope is that these themes will inform, challenge, and support our members and friends through our shared exploration.
Touchstones Journal, published monthly by Touchstones Consulting, is an in-depth exploration of that month’s theme and is sent out at the beginning of the month to subscribers of This Week at AUUF. Each eight-page issue of the journal offers:
- An introduction to the theme of the month;
- A Wisdom Story for All Ages;
- A Faith & Theology article that explores the theme in-depth;
- The Family Matters section for use by parents and religious educators with materials on the theme and 1 to 2 activities to explore the theme with children;
- A Small Group Discussion Guide for adults;
- Readings from the Common Bowl (a quotation on the theme for each day of the month); and three or four other articles on the theme.
Below are the monthly themes for the 2022-2023 program year.
- 2022-2023 Annual Theme: Regeneration
- The challenges of the last five years have left us numb, depleted, and dispirited as we face existential challenges including the rise of authoritarianism, political extremism, the threat to democracy, Covid, the persistence of racism, war in Ukraine, and lack of action on global warming. Regeneration can give birth to hope, nurture the spirit, renew compassion, cultivate wisdom, and return us to life stronger and more committed to the pursuit of justice. Regeneration puts life at the center of every decision and action.
- September 2022: Awakening
- Coming into awareness about life.
- October 2022: Awe
- Seeing life as sacred.
- November 2022: Remembrance
- Memory allows us to reflect on experience and deepen meaning.
- December 2022: Joy
- The soul is here for its own joy.
- January 2023: Wintering
- Valuing the fallow fields within and without.
- February 2023: Resilience
- Learning to bend, not break.
- March 2023: Trust
- Establishing, growing, extending, and restoring trust.
- April 2023: Grief
- Healing the wounds of loss.
- May 2023: Reconciliation
- Making peace with self, others, and with life.
- June 2023: Ritual
- Making meaning of experience.
- July 2023: Play
- Experiencing a lightness of being.
- August 2023: Activism
- Living your values in service of justice.
*In its original meaning, a touchstone was a stone that was used to test the purity of gold or silver. A touchstone has come to mean a quintessential feature. We explore these touchstone themes of our tradition to nurture us and inform our actions, to deepen our understanding and expand our vision, and to support us in leading lives of integrity and authenticity.