Training Opportunities

Mobilizing Congrgations for Justice

Congregations can be a powerful force when mobilized for justice work. This training will teach, model, and practice 3 central tools for community organizing that can be used to build a more loving and powerful justice-centered community.

In many congregations activists struggle to get to a place where the justice work is owned by the whole congregation, rather than a select few. This program offers specific tools of community organizing, translated for the context of a congregational setting. We’ll vision what it looks like when the worship, music, board of directors, RE program, and finance committee are bought into a shared vision and how the basic tools of community organizing can help get us there.

2 hours, $25/person

Facilitator: Matt Meyer,

Being White in a Racist World

The workshop consists of eight, two hour sessions, usually one night or day a week.  It is primarily focused on helping white people understand the racial component of their identity, how to live with authenticity and integrity as a white person in a society grounded in white supremacy.  It involves understanding the structural foundation of racism quite apart from the bigotry and discrimination that flows from individuals and how it exists almost independently of individual racist people. 
During the workshop, we work through what the role of white people can or should be in racial justice movements, what our role in BLM might be, and what it means to be in solidarity with people of color.  We explore what allied behavior looks like and how we can respond to things we commonly hear but are sometimes frustrated in responding to in an effective fashion. 

 Facilitator: Ken Wagner,

Dismantling White Supremacy Workshop

Gwendolyn VanSant has been a Unitarian Universalist for just over 15 years and has founded several entities based on the shared principles of equity and justice, the inherent dignity and worth of individuals and our interconnected web of all living beings. She currently works as the Equity and Inclusion Team Lead at Imagine Philanthropy and serves as the Founding Director of Multicultural BRIDGE (2007). She is the Founding Director of Equity and Inclusion at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and the inaugural Chair of Equity and Inclusion (2016) at her alma mater. Gwendolyn currently leads the racial justice work for BRIDGE and has spearheaded the most recent county-wide coalition Not in the Berkshires in collaboration with Patrice O’Neill ( and co-chairs a celebration of W.E.B. Du Bois 150th birthday anniversary in his hometown of Great Barrington, MA. Her current policy and advocacy work includes community organizing and coalition building in rural communities including leading a coalition this Spring and developing and passing a Trust Policy with the Town and Police of Great Barrington for sanctuary for immigrants and those living with other social challenges and barriers in her community.

Gwendolyn offers workshops in the UU pulpit on Racial and Social Justice topics and embracing beloved diverse communities. She has provided several lay services, taught Religious Education for several years and has conducted a White Supremacy workshop in response to the Black Lives Matter of the UUA to a few hosting Unitarian Universalist congregations.

On Twitter: @gwendolynhvs; @BRIDGE413
On LinkedIn: Gwendolyn VanSant 

Speaking Your Truth

Speaking Your Truth:  The Art of being a Voice For Justice

Speaking Your Truth: The Art of Being a Voice for Justice teaches the skills and techniques that enable people to give their own “ Justice TED Talk,”  without notes and with confidence and passion.   Laura Wagner, Director of MassAction commented on her experience:

This workshop provides a practical, spiritually grounded learning experience which transformed how I communicate.  It truly helped me move from a fact driven, cerebral style of communicating to a more grounded heart centered style.  I find myself to be more relaxed when speaking in public gatherings and able to speak from the passion that drives my social justice work.  After taking this workshop, I’m more confident and articulate whether I’m speaking one to one, or in front of a large group.  It has helped me to feel more genuinely present in all of my communications.  

Speaking Your Truth is based on the successful Preaching by Heart program I developed in cooperation with my colleague Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy. That program is offered nationally by the UU Ministers’ Association as one of their continuing education CENTER Programs. Seven UUMA Chapters have hosted the program.  For the past two years Preaching by Heart has also been co-sponsored by Harvard Divinity School. Last Fall, with a grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, we expanded the audience of the program to include interfaith clergy, laity and social activists. Forty people attended that program (Embodied Speaking: The Art of Presenting with Heart, Mind, and Body) which was held at the UU Church in Belmont, MA.  The report to the Preaching by Heart  Advisory Board is attached. Also, with the support of the UU Funding Program this program will be offered at the Rowe Conference Center next November.

I am excited by the prospect of bringing the benefits of Speaking Your Truth  to  activists because it is more than simply a program on public speaking techniques.  Rather, woven into it is my Unitarian Universalist belief that soul sustaining spiritual practices are at the heart of effective activism.  This runs deep in my life long history as an activist. I share many expressions of this in my Skinner book Be the Change.  

Contact Rev Stephen Shick to learn more: