Hucklow Summer School: 17th-24th August 2019
‘Theology in the Flesh’ – How Might our Embodied Experience Shape our Answers to Life’s Ultimate Questions?
‘Embodied theology is rooted in personal experiences in our individual bodies. At the same time, we all live in a relational world, shaped by social and historical events and forces that are shared.’ ~ Carol P. Christ
How might our experience of life, our world-view, and our theological outlook be shaped by factors related to our bodies: our gender, sexuality, race, dis/ability, appearance, age, state of physical and mental health, neurological architecture, etc.? In this year’s summer school we will explore the ways in which our bodily experience interacts with our spiritual understanding. How do we connect with God – or with meaning, depth, and purpose – through our bodies and our physical senses? How do material realities – social, historical and environmental events in the world around us – shape our faith journeys? And how might our theological understanding shift through exposure to a wider range of embodied perspectives?
In a series of daily theme talks our team of speakers will offer their perspectives on the theme:
Winnie Gordon, Eleanor Chiari, Robin Hanford, Jen Hazel, Bob Janis-Dillon
Each person is part of a small workshop group which meets for two hours each day to explore a given theme. Please indicate your 1st and 2nd preference workshop (A, B, C or D) on the application form
A: ‘Sex and the Spirit’ with John Harley and Mark Stewart
A creative exploration of the interplay between our sexual selves and our spiritual selves. Our sexual identities are such complex, yet vital parts of ourselves – but how much do we get the chance to share and make sense of the connection between our spirits and our bodies – as experienced through our sexual desires, assumptions and fantasies? How do we bring our embodied selves to our Unitarian spiritual practice and our everyday lives? We will use a spectrum of approaches to sensitively and playfully consider this subject together – including art, writing, movement, drama, music, poetry, discussion and disco!
B: ‘Let Your Body Call You Home’ with Sheena Gabriel and Catherine Coyne
‘Let your body call you back into your most deeply embodied self… find the crumbs that lead back home.’ ~ Cheryl Pallant. Together we’ll explore the ‘blessings’ and ‘curses’ of being ’embodied’ through a variety of activities. Reflecting on the messages of society, culture, psychology and religion – and drawing on insights from myth, literature, the arts, nature and spiritual practice – we’ll share our personal stories of health & sickness, wellness & limitation, healing & wholeness, through the changing seasons of life – and seek to cultivate deeper compassion for ourselves as embodied creatures, uncovering the wisdom ‘housed in clay’.
C: ‘The Beliefs that Ground Us’ with Celia Cartwright and Sue Woolley
Our beliefs and how we reflect on them can have a direct effect on how we speak, act, and are in the world, because we are all made up of body and spirit. In our group, we will gently explore how the things we believe about God / the Divine / the Sacred give shape, purpose and meaning to our lives, and vice versa. Using various spiritual and practical exercises we will experience different ways of understanding the integration of our religious/spiritual beliefs and values in our everyday lives.
D: ‘Sacred the Body’ with Danny Crosby and Sarah Tinker
Daniel Gottlieb writes ‘Part of the reason I’m at peace with my life is that I take care of the part of the universe I’m responsible for. I haven’t made it bigger or better. I haven’t changed it. But I have cared for it.’ Using personal stories of our precious, wounded lives, along with the approaches of philosophies and religions throughout the ages, our group will explore how best to honour and care for the material realm of bodies, of ‘things’ and of the earth.
Prices and Application Process
Adult Shared: £550
Children 12-16: £435
Children 5-11: £370
Children under 5: 165
Please Note: We aim to break even and do not typically make any profit out of summer school. The rates we set reflect what it costs for us to put on the event. £418 of the basic rate is the cost of a week’s full-board accommodation at the Nightingale Centre. The remainder of the cost is a ‘conference fee’ which helps to cover the cost of our team of staff / organisers.
Rooms at summer school are usually shared. Availability of single rooms is very limited and so these places will be carefully allocated on the basis of need for people with special circumstances. If you have particular medical or other reasons why a single room is essential then you must inform the panel of your circumstances at the time of application so that we can take this into account. A supplement of £50 will be payable for places in single or shared-en-suite rooms. Please Note: It is a policy of summer school that family members/partners should participate in different morning engagement groups.
Please complete and return an application form with a deposit of £100 per person. Cheques are to be made payable to the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. Contact us (email preferred) for further details if you would prefer to make a bank transfer or pay by telephone.
The panel aims to attract approximately one-third newcomers to participate in the Summer School every year. We have set a deadline of Friday 5th April 2019 for receipt of applications to Summer School. Shortly after this date, places will be allocated by the members of the panel, giving priority to first-timers and ministerial students, subject to the constraints of available accommodation. Please note that deposits will be banked on receipt and if your application is unsuccessful we will refund your deposit at a later date. Deposits will only be refunded if you are not offered a place. If you need to drop out after you have been allocated a place neither the deposit nor the full balance is refundable. Please consider taking out appropriate insurance as we regret that we are unable to issue refunds for late cancellations (made after the date when the balance of payment is due, six weeks before summer school).If your application is successful, the balance will be due six weeks before summer school, on 5th July 2019.
Bursaries: Please do not let a shortage of money prevent you from attending! Summer School bursaries are available (typically up to £200 for first-time attenders and £150 for returning attenders) and we may be able to advise about other local funding sources. Please contact us as soon as possible if you are likely to need assistance with funding.