Unitarian Universalist congregations are often notable for the breadth and the quality of adult programming they provide.  But if these classes and practice groups can be faulted for any shortcoming it is probably this: lack of depth and little opportunity for learners to fully assimilate and build upon the insights and experiences they’ve received.  Quest, the First Unitarian Society of Madison’s two-year spiritual deepening curriculum, addresses this problem by providing a balanced curriculum of retreats, tutorials in spiritual practice, classes and small “integration groups.”

I participated in the early development of Quest and served as a mentor, spiritual practice guide and presenter for the first group of participants. Many graduates of the program subsequently moved on to assume leadership positions at First Unitarian Society, or to facilitate classes in spiritual development for other adults in our congregation. Quest provided them with inspiration, a strong motivation to serve and greater confidence in their abilities.  Since then, the curriculum has been significantly refined and become, I believe, one of the best of its kind that Unitarian Universalism has to offer.

The Rev. Dr. Michael A. Schuler
Senior Minister, First Unitarian Society of Madison

Joys, challenges

Quest…a journey of joys and challenges. In Quest 1 enjoyed the rich banquet that was laid out before me. I got to make so many individual decisions about how I engaged with each aspect that I got to know myself better and respect my choices more fully. And all around me others were doing the same and I grew from sharing in their process.

In the interim between Quest I and Quest 2 I helped to refine and define the Integration Group –small group- component of Quest. Our group was one of a number of groups that helped to examine Quest 1 and plan for Quest 2.  The groups were conducted with chalice lighting, spiritual readings and check-ins, which reminded me of the integration of head and heart and the spiritual in the everyday.

In Quest 2 I am serving as an Integration Group facilitator and am finding it a challenging role. I am trying to balance the sense of responsibility that I feel with encouraging the group to be responsible for itself. I am challenged to remember that “it is all good” in the sense that whatever happens is a spiritual opportunity. 

The journey of Quest in all these aspects is so much about growing to love and appreciate the others on the journey and, at the same time, finding myself more precious.

Ann Schaffer
Quest 1 Participant and Quest 2 Integration Group Facilitator

  • Photo by Joyce Carey
  • Photo by Lorna Aaronson
  • Water Color by Ann Schaffer
  • Photo by Lorna Aaronson
  • Photo by Joyce Carey
  • Photo by Harry Carnes
  • Water Color by Ann Schaffer

"Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."  –  Rumi