Contemplations

Alia Shinbrough, UUCSR Student Minister, provides Contemplations on Thursdays, available thereafter here, on the UUCSR YouTube channelFacebook, and Instagram. Each week, Alia opens opportunities to be present together through moments of contemplation, meditation, and prayer.

Alia Shinbrough (they/them), joined the UUCSR Ministry Team in September of 2021.  A recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Alia is a life-long Unitarian Universalist. They grew up in New Jersey and received their undergraduate education at Sarah Lawrence College, where they studied writing, art, and history. Their passions for social justice and community building have led them to pursue a life of service through ministry.

Embracing Change - For today’s Contemplation, Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers an opportunity to contemplate changes big and small which may allow us to live into the fullness of ourselves. Alia opens this sacred space by lighting a chalice, and invites us to consider how we encounter change and how our choices to live into new patterns and embrace new potentials may change us.

Storytelling - For today’s Contemplation, Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers an opportunity to contemplate the Soul Matters theme for May, the concept of Story. Alia opens this sacred space by lighting a chalice, and invites us to consider how the stories we tell reflect, shape, or change our understanding, and help us to make meaning in our experiences of the world.

Belonging Together - For today’s Contemplation, Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers an opportunity to contemplate our experiences of belonging. Alia opens this sacred space by lighting a chalice, and invites us to consider (and perhaps reconsider) how we come to know about each other in our covenantal Unitarian Universalist tradition.

Invitation to Gratitude - For today’s Contemplation, Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers an opportunity to find a center within, and to lift up gratitude as a sacred practice. Alia offers an invitation to intentionally enter sacred space by lighting a chalice, and invites us to find and speak aloud three things we are truly deeply grateful for.

Cultivating Spaciousness - For today’s Contemplation, Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers reflections on creating opportunity to rest as sacred acts of care for self, other, and community. Alia offers an invitation to intentionally enter sacred space by lighting a chalice, and to cultivate a little more spaciousness in our lives as sacred and necessary acts of kindness towards ourselves and each other.

"Finding Center, Holding Silence" For today’s Contemplation, Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers an opportunity to find a center within, and hold silence together. Alia offers and invitation to intentionally enter sacred space by lighting a chalice, and invites us to find a rhythm and breathe together knowing we are enough.

"Affirmations of Goodness" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough contemplates how we can affirm ourselves and each other, and bring light and life to some small part of this hurting world. Alia offers the opportunity to enter sacred space by lighting a chalice, and invites us to affirm the goodness of self, body, and spirit.

"Commitment to Practice" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough contemplates how committing and recommitting to spiritual practice may offer life-affirming connections, communally and individually. Alia offers the opportunity to enter sacred space with a chalice, and invites us to consider what practices and commitments may connect each of us to spirit and the sacred, and offer us reserves to draw on when in need.

"Noticing the Sacred" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough contemplates how we might pause to notice the sacred that’s always in our midst, freer from the distractions that pull our attention this way and that throughout our days. They invite us to take a moment to notice that which might otherwise be missed, be it sound, feeling, sensation, emotion, trusting that the intention to create and hold sacred space can help us share the weight of our burdens, and reorient towards being present in our bodies, present to skillfully meet this moment, whatever it brings.

"Marking Transitions" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough contemplates how the ways we make transitions in space and time have been altered through this experience of pandemic, of remote work, of sheltering in place. Alia offers the opportunity to mark the transition to and from sacred space with a chalice, and invites us to breathe together as a practice of noticing and marking these shifts in time and space.

"Marking Time through Ritual" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough contemplates the place of ritual in marking and sharing time, offering the opportunity to share sacred experiences of sorrow and joy through the lighting of candles.

"Invitation to Prayer" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers an invitation to take a moment to co-create sacred space, to pray the prayer of your heart, and to join that prayer in this hour with all those who are simultaneously reaching out with the prayers of their understanding.

"Invitation to Movement for Thursday Contemplation" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough offers an invitation to movement as a spiritual practice of reconnecting with the sacredness of the body.

"Setting Intentions, Releasing Distractions" Student Minister Alia Shinbrough invites us to release distractions, set intentions, and be present together through this moment of contemplation, meditation, and prayer.

Monday Meditation and Poetry-Rev. Dr. Fenimore
Wednesday Messages-Rev. Brooks
Wednesday Conversation
Thursday Contemplations-Alia Shinbrough
Friday Meditative Moments-Rev. Brower
Soulful Songs and Stories
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