Beacon Press
Independent Publishing Since 1854
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Beacon Press: UU Discussion Guides

The Beacon Press Discussion Guides for Unitarian Universalist Communities

A resource for adult religious education or adult discussion groups seeking to examine issues of concern to the UU movement

About the Program

Beacon Press books are ideal tools for life-long learning in UU congregations, and have often led the UU community to identify areas of concern. With this program, we aspire to strengthen the social justice and spiritual work of the denomination.

This program aims to:

  • deepen awareness in the UU community of issues of social justice;
  • provide the finest and most enlightened thinking about these issues as tools to enrich discussions within UU communities; and
  • create a new understanding of the work of Beacon Press in UU congregation and communities.

The Beacon Press Discussion Guides provide a flexible structure for a short-term, small-group discussion program using Beacon books. The guides offer support materials for group leaders with all levels of experience, laying out information in such a way that preparation time is minimal.

Guides are now available for fifteen Beacon titles; click on the titles below to view them. Guides are arranged by book title below.

Many guides are also available as Adobe Acrobat.pdf files for easier printing. Click here to get the free Acrobat Reader, then download the file you need from the images below.

Current Guides

Soul Repair

 

Soul Repair, by Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini   PDF

 

Blue Revolution, by Cynthia Barnett   PDF

 

Acts of Faith, by Eboo Patel   PDF

Breaking Free by Marilyn Sewell

 

The Death of Josseline, by Margaret Regan   PDF

Breaking Free by Marilyn Sewell

 

A House for Hope, by John A. Buehrens and Rebecca Ann Parker   PDF

Breaking Free by Marilyn Sewell

 

Love & Death, by Forrest Church
  PDF
Breaking Free by Marilyn Sewell

 

Breaking Free, edited by Marilyn Sewell.
This program brings women together to discuss aging as the development of character, a breaking free of old restraints, and an opportunity to deepen their spiritual lives (five sessions).

 

 

PDF

 

A Chosen Faith by John Buehrens and Forrest Church

 

A Chosen Faith, by John A. Buehrens and Forrest Church.
An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism for searchers, newcomers, and lifelong learners

 

 

 

Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World, by Laurent A. Parks, Cheryl H. Keen, James P. Keen and Sharon Daloz Parks

 

Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World, by Laurent A. Parks, Cheryl H. Keen, James P. Keen and Sharon Daloz Parks.
Participants explore their commitment to the common good and strategies to sustain such commitment in a changing world (three sessions).

 

 

PDF

 

Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America by Geoffrey Canada

 

Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, by Geoffrey Canada.
A memoir of a young man's struggles with violence fuels discussion about issues that concern today's youth and how communities can address them (two sessions).

 

 

 

 

The Force of Spirit by Scott Russell Sanders

 

The Force of Spirit, by Scott Russell Sanders.
For adults of all ages, this program creates a safe space for personal sharing and reflection on the call of spirit in our lives (three sessions).

 

 

PDF

Free For All by Wendy Kaminer

 

Free For All, by Wendy Kaminer.
What are the most important elements of liberty in America today? What is liberty in America today? As a nation, we preach "liberty and justice for all", and prize freedom - but what exactly is that freedom, and at what cost is it bestowed? The questions raised in the program will be, and should be, difficult to answer (three sessions).

 

 

PDF

 

Kindred by Octavia Butler

 

Kindred, by Octavia Butler.
This program provides a framework for Unitarian Universalist discussion groups to engage in reflective dialogue about the legacy of slavery, the connections between historical burdens and present realities, and our vision for shaping our future (three sessions).

 

 

PDF

 

Lifecraft: The Art of Meaning in the Everyday by Forrest Church

 

Lifecraft: The Art of Meaning in the Everyday, by Forrest Church.
From "one of our leading pastors" (Dan Wakefield), a joyous book on the art of finding meaning in daily life.

 

 

PDF

 

Life Lines by Forrest Church

 

Life Lines, by Forrest Church.
Popular writer and minister Forrest Church explores the lifelines that can sustain us in times of trouble.

 

 

 

Proverbs of Ashes by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker

 

Proverbs of Ashes, by Rita Nakashima Brock & Rebecca Ann Parker.
Models a process by which individuals and religious communities can reflect on their personal and shared histories in order to challenge limiting theologies and reshape our common truths.

 

 

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God by Craig Rennebohm with David Paul

 

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God, by Craig Rennebohm with David Paul.
Suggestions for organizing a reading circle, a discussion guide for Souls in the Hands of a Tender God, and a listing of other books and resources that are readily available to help educate faith communities.

  PDF
The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract by Theodore Sizer and Nancy Sizer

 

The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract, by Theodore R. Sizer and Nancy Faust Sizer.
This program encourages reflections and contributions of young adults as well as parents, educators and other adults who finished their years of formal schooling, acknowledging that we all have a stake in the nature of moral education (three sessions)

 

   

PDF

 

Taking Retirement: A Beginner's Diary by Carl H. Klaus

 

Taking Retirement: A Beginner's Diary, by Carl H. Klaus.
This program has relevance for all adults of all ages, creates a space for authentic sharing between UU elders and encourages intergenerational dialogue about aging and life transitions (two sessions).

 

 

PDF

 

Understanding the Bible by John A. Buehrens

 

Understanding the Bible, by John A. Buehrens.
Skeptics, seekers, and religious liberals often need a “way in” to understanding the complex territory that is the Bible. John Buehrens's Understanding the Bible offers just such an entry point. Through the activities suggested in this discussion guide, readers of Buehrens's book will be able to “claim [their] own power to understand the Bible.”

 

 

PDF

 

Waist High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled by Nancy Mairs

 

Waist High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled, by Nancy Mairs.
In her book, Mairs shares her own insights on the nature and meaning of disability in her life. This program encourages the reflections and contributions of all people, whatever their experience with disability (three sessions).

 

 

PDF

 

What Is Marriage For?: The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution by E.J. Graff

 

What Is Marriage For?: The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution, by E. J. Graff.
Participants investigate past and current marriage laws and customs and develop personal definitions of marriage (two sessions).

 

 

PDF, part 1
PDF, part 2

 

Also Available

We also offer reading group guides and teachers' guides, many of which can be adapted for use in congregational discussion groups.

Ordering Books

The UUA bookstore offers a 10% discount with orders of 5-9 copies of a single title, and 20% off 10 or more copies. Contact the UUA Bookstore, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108, tel: 1-800-215-9076, fax: 1-617-723-4805, or www.uua.org/bookstore.

Feedback

Please let us know how you like the guides and how they work for you. Your feedback about their content and suggestions for future titles will aid us in our commitment to meet the program needs of UU congregations.

Credits

This program was developed in collaboration with the UUA Religious Education Department and Congregational, District and Extension Services and was funded through a grant by the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock.

 
Beacon pressBeacon Press is a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association