Register now for Beloved Conversations: WITHIN

Registration Closes on Tuesday, February 28, 2023! Click here to register!
Dear Beloveds,  It’s not too late to get registered for the Spring term of Within! 

We are currently building new communities of learners in both of our Gathering Our Selves programs (for Black, Indigenous, People of Color participants) and our Un/Learning for Liberation program (for white participants). Join us for a deep dive into the personal, transformative, spirit-growing work each of us needs to do around issues of race, identity, and justice, in relationship with other folks who share some similar experiences!

Registration closes February 28th and the Spring Term will kick off on March 13th, 2023. Whether this is your first time joining us or you are considering returning for another term of the program, we would love to have you as a part of our learning community! Spring and Fall content is different, so even if you were with us in the fall, you can join us again for entirely new learning! If you participated in a previous term of BCV: Within, you can save 20% off your registration using coupon code BCVALUMSPRING23

Please read below for more details about Beloved Conversations, our three Within programs, and this upcoming Spring Term. You are welcome to use any of the information in this email to promote in your congregation or share with other folks you think might be interested. You can also email JeKaren Olaoya at to request a promotional packet or ask any questions you might have! 

Check out our Beloved Conversations website for lots of information about Within and all of our exciting programs!

Follow our Beloved Conversations page on Facebook for updates!

In the spirit of liberation,

Your Beloved Conversations Team

Rev. Kierstin Homblette Allen
CB Beal
Rhonda Brown
Rev. Elka Carrier-Ladd
Janine Gelsinger
Gigil Ghosh
Dr. Mark A. Hicks
JeKaren Olaoya
Sarah Osborne
Katie Resendiz de Perez
Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons
Rev. Deanna Vandiver
Dr. Jenice View


What is Beloved Conversations?

Beloved Conversations—the signature offering of The Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School—is a program for Unitarian Universalists seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice.

What are the Within programs focused on and who are they for?

Within focuses on the internal work that each of us needs to do, as we engage personal explorations of race and our work for racial justice. This work is different for white folks and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) and Within is done entirely in race-based caucuses/courses.  The courses for BIPOC are Gathering Our Selves 1 and Gathering Our Selves 2 and the course for white folks is called Un/Learning for Liberation.

An Invitation to BIPOC to the Gathering Our Selves courses:

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s (BIPOC) work has been a neglected conversation, as much anti-racism work has been focused on the learning needs of white folks. For those of us who identify as BIPOC, we recognize the need to understand the impact of racism in our lives – particularly our spiritual lives – and the choices we have made to survive. In this curriculum, we look at issues such as how and why Unitarian Universalist values matter to us, how race has shaped our personal and communal lives, the dynamics of why and how we stay in the faith—and, of course, what a theology for people of color in a white-dominated world might look like. This is VERY exciting work—conversations some of us on the design team have been waiting FOREVER to have!

NOTE: Gathering Our Selves is run in two courses- one for people who have completed the Fall Term and one for those who are new to the program in the Spring. The two cohorts will have opportunities to come together for worship and connection.

An invitation to white folks to the Un/Learning for Liberation course:

Wherever white folks are on the journey toward collective liberation – whether you are just waking up to systemic racial injustice or your heart has been breaking for a long time – you are invited to join us for Un/learning for Liberation. We will explore within ourselves as individual white people, within our family and community systems, and within the system of whiteness, which has impacted and limited our ability to truly be present with and connected to ourselves and our siblings of color. But we get to choose to be and do differently. Beginning within ourselves. This is not a place to memorize definitions and rules to follow; instead, it is a space for justice-making and spiritual formation, and therefore a place where we honor complexity, nuance, and grace. We will bear witness to one another as we engage a process of introspection, honest reflection, and challenge to what we always thought we knew or were too afraid or embarrassed to ask. We will learn together about how this system has impacted us and dis-connected us from ourselves and our BIPOC kin and how it was implanted in us without our consent. And we will unlearn some of our deeply ingrained habits of perception, thought, and behavior, while practicing spiritual skills for humility, resistance, and solidarity.

NOTE: Un/Learning for Liberation will run in one course, regardless of folks’ previous participation in the program. Content will be different in Spring than in the Fall Term, but you may begin in either term.

How is the Within program structured?
All Within courses include: 6 bi-weekly, online Lessons, completed at your own pace, utilizing videos, music, and readings, accompanied by reflection prompts and suggested conversations with a Critical Friend chosen by the participant; 6 bi-weekly small group conversations with a Learning Pod of 4-6 other participants from your course, scheduled and facilitated by the small group itself, with a suggested agenda tied to each Lesson; and 3 monthly, live Meaning Making Sessions on Zoom, facilitated by the Beloved Conversations Team, with other participants from your course.   This program does not require you to sign up as part of a larger congregation or community. However, if you choose, you can agree to engage the curriculum with folks you are already in relationship with from your congregation or community. Given the additional challenges of leading anti-racism work in congregations and communities, religious professionals will be sorted into and gathering in religious professional-only Learning Pods and Meaning Making Sessions.

IMPORTANT: This is a virtual learning opportunity. Basic skills with email, simple websites, and the online meeting platform Zoom are essential to successful participation in this program.How much does it cost?

How much does the Within program cost per term? Sliding Scale Pricing (ages 18+):  $250 US dollars per person $300 US Dollars per person*/** $350 US dollars per person**
Full and partial scholarships are available for those who need them (see more info below)

*Reparations Note: White participants with the means to do so are encouraged to pay an additional $50, in recognition of the historic legacy of racist economic policies and the ways in which generational wealth and greater access to economic opportunity have privileged white people as a group for hundreds of years. These extra funds will help provide scholarships to those who need it to participate in this program.  **Interdependence Note: Regardless of your racial identity, if your class privilege and/or professional expense budget allows you to pay more so that others may pay less, please consider adding an additional contribution to your total. These extra funds will help provide scholarships to those who need it to participate in this program.  Equity Note: Regardless of your racial identity, full and partial scholarships are available to all those who need them. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please contact us at before registering, to request a scholarship.  

When does the Within program run?

Key dates for the Spring 2023 term:
February 1- Registration Opens
February 28- Registration Closes
March 13- Start of Spring Term
May 29- End of Spring Term

Meaning Making Session Dates for Gathering Our Selves (BIPOC participants)
Meaning Making Session 1: Thursday March 23 7:30pm ET/4:30 PT
Meaning Making Session 2: Thursday April 27 7:30pm ET/4:30 PT
Meaning Making Session 3: Thursday May 25 7:30pm ET/4:30 PT
(These 90-minute, live sessions run on Zoom and are also recorded for later viewing.)

Meaning Making Session Dates for Un/Learning for Liberation (white participants)
Meaning Making Session 1: Monday March 27th at 8pm ET/5pm PT- All participants
Tuesday March 28th at 2pm ET/11am PT- Religious Professionals Only
Meaning Making Session 2: Monday April 24th at 8pm ET/5pm PT- All participants
Tuesday April 25th at 2pm ET/11am PT- Religious Professionals Only
Meaning Making Session 3: Monday May 22nd at 8pm ET/5pm PT- All participants
Tuesday May 23rd at 2pm ET/11am PT- Religious Professionals Only
(These 90-minute, live sessions run on Zoom and are also recorded for later viewing.)

How do I register for Within?

Click here for more information and to register NOW! (here’s the link, if you need to cut and paste:

Visit the Beloved Conversations website for more information about Within, as well as our other current and emerging programs:
Among: Focused on the institutional, systemic anti-racist change needed in our congregations (for congregations whose members have participated in Within)
Family: Created to meet the needs of Black, Indigenous, and other Families of Color and multiracial families in our congregations, with both in-person and virtual components
WITHIN+ Exploration Stations: (COMING SOON, for individuals who have completed at least one term of Within): Additional learning and play spaces, for Within alums who are ready to go deeper in their racial justice journey

Interested in other excellent programming, open to everyone?

The Leadership Institute for Growth, Healing, and Transformation (LIGHT) at Meadville Lombard is delighted to present its Spring 2023 programs! Registration for all of the following programs is now open. 
Digital Privacy and Security (John Leeker)
Meets Mondays, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central, March 6, 13, 20, 27
Practicing Post-Imperial Ministry (Rev. Tandi Rogers)
Meets Wednesdays, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Central, March 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12
Beloved Conversations “Within”
Spring Term 2023: March 13 – May 29, 2023
Grief Following Trauma (Rev. Julie Taylor)
April 13 – 14, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Central
Visit the LIGHT Spring 2023 Programs page for details and to register.
Beloved Conversations is a project of the Fahs Collaborative, which is part of the new Leadership Institute for Growth, Healing, and Transformation (LIGHT), the lifelong learning center at Meadville Lombard Theological School. LIGHT’s mission is to equip values-driven individuals as well as ordained and lay progressive religious leaders with the skills for personal and social transformation. For more information about LIGHT, visit