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Curriculum Lectionary

About This Project

This project grew out of a highly successful adult religious education series at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. For a couple of years, each month we would read and discuss a different spiritual text, seeking to understand how these writings honored in our Unitarian Universalist Sources speak to our spiritual needs today and connect to our Principles. The series sparked conversations all around our church about what makes a text sacred and why these texts remain relevant to modern Unitarian Universalists. The texts were woven into sermons, covenant group discussions, and many other facets of church life.

We decided to build upon that work, to create a permanent resource that would provide all Unitarian Universalists congregations with a simple way to access the theological riches of some of the world’s sacred texts both from the pulpit and in the classroom. We believe that doing so will deepen congregants’ engagement with the sources that form the basis of Unitarian Universalism and encourage them in their spiritual development. When we turned to selecting the texts, we realized that we needed to have representative works from each of the major world religions: the Upanishad and the Bhagavad Gita from Hinduism; the Dhammapada and the Heart and Lotus Sutras from Buddhism; Genesis and the Biblical prophets from Judaism; the gospels of Luke and John from Christianity; the Qur’an from Islam; the Tao Te Ching from Taoism; the poetry of Rumi and Kabir from Sufism; the Analects from Confucianism; and the world’s oldest story, sacred in its own right, Gilgamesh. With these texts we have only begun to tap the extraordinary richness of the world’s sacred texts, but we had to limit the selections given time and budget constraints.

About the Authors

Dr. Cynthia Stewart has a PhD in Religion from Vanderbilt University and an abiding interest in the world’s religions. She has published a textbook on Catholic Church history and teaches World Religions at the college level. Dr. Stewart was the founder and chief organizer of the Reading Sacred Texts series at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, and has taught a number of the components. She is co-chair of the Worship Committee at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville.

Ms. Cindi Brown has a BA (double major in Religious Studies and Creative Writing) from Vanderbilt University. Throughout her career, she has written training materials, items for large-scale educational assessments, and news stories for television and radio. Ms. Brown is a former chair of the Adult Religious Education committee at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville.

 

Acknowledgements

We have received generous grants from the Unitarian Universalist Association's Fund for Unitarian Universalism and the Unitarian Sunday School Society to create these resources, which we are offering free of charge.