Wellspring Wednesday Program


Our Wellspring Wednesday Program  has both an adult program and a children’s program. This program is offered on the second  Wednesday of the month starting in September.

6:30-8:00 p.m. Adult and Children’s Concurrent Programs

Spirit in Practice

How do we know if our practice is a real practice?

Only by one thing: more and more, we just see the wonder.

What is the wonder? I don’t know.

We can’t know such things through thinking.

But we always know it when it’s there.

— Charlotte Joko Beck


This year we will focus on learning about and growing deeper with spiritual practices.

September 14: Stories of Spirit with Chester Behnke
October 12: Arts with Jennifer Levenhagen
November 9: Breath and Movement with Parnee Frederick
January 11: Prayer with Rev. Kathleen Rolenz
February 8: Poetry with Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg
March 8: Contemplative Photography with Mary Ellyn Vicksta
April 12: Meditation and Chant with Be Alford
May 10: Nature with Dave Gerlach

Plan to focus on your spiritual health this year!

February 8

“Poetry is Not Only Dream and Vision”
with Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

Audre Lorde says that “poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.” What do you make of poetry? Is it relevant to you at all? Do you read it? Write it? Or slightly fear it even as you’re drawn by its pull? Rev. Leah considers poetry one of the important resources that can help us live spiritually grounded lives. She’ll share some idea about how you might be able to incorporate poetry into your spiritual practice and she’ll collect your experiences and stories about poetry for the Sunday services on February 19th. If you have a favorite poem, feel free to bring it and we’ll make time to hear a few. Sign up here.

Children’s Program
This year the children’s program will have a spiritual practice component in addition to games and free play. The kids will get their own passports and will earn chalice stickers for each program they attend. They will have opportunities to try out the different practices and see what they like and what they don’t.

Wellspring Childcare and Special Event Policy

Children must be registered at least one week in advance for childcare for events such as Wellspring, all-congregation meetings, etc.  A minimum of four children must be registered in order for childcare to be provided.

Sign up in the lobby of the Fellowship or below.

Wednesday, March 8: Contemplative Photography with Mary Ellyn Vicksta

Most of us carry some sort of phone with us daily.  We text, check information, get directions, and see what our friends are doing.  A recent Deloitte survey found that Americans check their smartphones upwards of 8 billion times per day, with each person averaging 46 looks per day.

This workshop will concentrate on another way that you can use your smartphone (or tablet)—to capture meaningful and thought-provoking moments in a photograph.  And, instead of a quick snap, we will learn how to develop a practice of contemplative photography through a series of exercises before, during, and after capturing the moment.  These exercises will slow you down, evoke all of your senses, and appeal to multiple intelligences.  At the end of our 90 minutes together, you will have the basic tools and mindset to start using your smartphone within a contemplative spiritual practice.

Bring your phone or tablet to the Wellspring session.  Regular cameras are welcome too!

Mary Ellyn has a long history with photography, creativity, insights, and nature.  A few years ago, she coalesced her interests into a deep spiritual practice.  Along the way, she’s been inspired by how one of her photographic mentors, Freeman Patterson, has devoted his life to photography and spirituality.  Andre Gallant, another photographic mentor, inspired her to explore various means of creative expression, where she added personal insights about self and the world around her.

A little over a year ago she started a small group, Photography as a Spiritual Practice, where the group is encouraged to explore their spirituality through photographic challenges and contemplative questions.

Wednesday, April 12: Meditation and Chanting with Be Alford

Shojin Be Alford is currently a Soto Zen priest in training at the Clouds in Water Zen Center out of St. Paul MInnesota. She took Jukai in 2014 and underwent Novice ordination in September of 2016. Be has immersed herself in the realms of meditation and yoga for the last 30 years. Be founded the Yoga Studio of Appleton in 1998 and taught there until the spring of 2016. She now lives in Appleton with her beloved husband Tom and their dog Cameron, traveling back and forth to St. Paul for training. Be has been a member of the Fellowship since 1997.

You may bring your own meditation cushion if you like, but chairs and some cushions will be available.

Wednesday, May 10: The Spirituality of Nature with Dave Gerlach

Too many times we pass through our days totally unaware of the exquisite beauty that surrounds us each day of our lives.  But there is a religion that is totally compatible with Unitarian Universalism that calls us into a deeper relationship with our planet.  That religion or spiritual practice is Pantheism.  It is a spiritual path that emphasizes this life on this planet, that all things are interconnected and interdependent, and that we humans are inseparable and totally connected to this unity.  This practice calls us to be attentive to and to respond in greater reverence to the natural world that surrounds us.  So on this Wednesday about Pantheism, we’ll explore a little more about what it is and how we might want to incorporate some of its notions in our daily lives.  We’ll also share what it is about the natural world that excites us and how we get connected to this amazing earth.

Dave Gerlach has been a member of the Fellowship since 1974 and has been the speaker for a number of programs over the years.  He has spoken to many congregationss on the topic of Pantheism, including here at the Fellowship.  He has helped to form and lead a UU Pantheists of Eastern Wisconsin group, has served as a panelist for an adult program on Pantheism, spoken to a junior high group about the topic, and has been involved with planning of a number of Mid-Winter Pantheist Retreats as well as solstice and equinox celebrations.