Personal Theology Alex PappasSundays, September through May at 9:30 a.m. in the Fireside Room.

The Personal Theology program was founded by Bernard Loomer, former Dean of the Divinity School at University of Chicago and leader in Process Theology. It was led by Martha Helming from 1991 to 2013. Participants listen to and engage with theological and spiritual leaders, as well as present their own topics and spiritual journeys. Seminars pursue the UU values of drawing inspiration from diverse traditions and deepening the spiritual life. This program is supported by contributions from the audience.

Personal Theology Committee: Gloria Merrill (Chairperson), Anne Wardell,  Barbara Rockhold, Dick Sherman, and John Maes (treasurer). Mac Lingo, Dwight Merrill, and Charlie Wright, audio technicians.

For information about Personal Theology or to suggest a speaker, contact Gloria Merrill at or 510-527-2681.

Upcoming Seminars
  • Personal Theology: Dr. Bill Garrett

      Bill Garrett, retired Professor of Philosophy and Religion, has taught at JFK University, San Francisco State, Fromm institute, CIIS and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. “The Enemy of the People.”


    • Personal Theology: No session

        UUCB members are encouraged to participate in UUCB’s booth at the Solano Stroll.

      • Personal Theology: Rev. Christian Schmidt

          Rev. Christian Schmidt, co-minister of the UU Church of Berkeley since 2016. Come and join us as Rev. Schmidt explores the intersection of religion, the public sphere, and government in “Church/State/Politics”. As campaigns begin (already!) to ramp for the 2020 elections, many of us are concerned about politics. Long-standing law has required religious organizations to be careful about how they interact with the elections process, but it’s never been more important for us to engage it. We’ll talk about how we can engage politics and why we must!

        • Personal Theology: James O'Hara

            James O’Hara is a former math instructor, massage instructor, dream worker, and a Brother in a Catholic religious order for 30 years. He is the author of a book about his experiences living in India and Nepal for 7 years, where he came to question his vows and beliefs and left the Brotherhood and the Church. Jim is currently writing a second book and will talk about the topic of his book. “Accidental Soul Work.

          • Personal Theology: Rev. Dr. Jay Atkinson

              Rev. Dr. Jay Atkinson, Minister Emeritus, UU Church of Studio City; writer and teacher; research scholar at Starr King; UUCB member. Rev. Atkinson will discuss “Living Agnostically.”

            • Personal Theology: Dr. Steven Herrmann

                Dr. Steven Herrmann, Jungian psychotherapist; author, poet, teacher and scholar. Steven is a certified Jungian analyst and analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP). Steven will give an overview of Jung’s spiritual vision as it developed over time, and encompassed many fields of religion and a variety of myths across the world.  “Carl Jung’s Spirituality: Living the Symbolic Life.”

              • Personal Theology: Terry Patten

                  Terry Patten, a personal coach, teacher, and author of four books who has worked for thirty years to integrate ancient and modern practices for raising consciousness. “What’s Really Happening in Our Crazy World, and How Can We Be the Change We Want to See?”

                • Personal Theology: Ifasina

                    Ifasina TaMeicka L. Clear is a queer, hood, Southern Bell who resides in Oakland. Ifasina is a spiritual artist that is passionate about creating meaningful spaces to engage the body, heart, and mind in the plight of personal liberation and deepened community connection. “All Bodies Centered.”

                  • Personal Theology: Dr. Markate Daly

                      Dr. Markate Daly has a PhD in Ethics from the University of Wisconsin. She’s a long-time active member of UUCB. Her research has been a cognitive science supported vision of social connection and what that means for theoretical ethics and social organization. She has presented her research in various publications and conferences. She will talk about how the science coming out is supporting a deeply social rather than individualistic understanding of human nature…and how ethics will have to change to take account of this social reality. An Ethics of Trust.”

                    • Personal Theology: Rev. Cat Cox

                        Rev. Cat Cox, UUCB Community Minister, spiritual director, teacher, certified dream worker and workshop facilitator. She is a recipient of the Margaret Fuller Award of the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation. She has a very active ministry blog called “The Path of Joy” and supports people in the path to fulfilling their highest potential, individually and in community. “Living Our Third Principle: Acceptance of One Another and Encouragement to Spiritual Growth.”

                      • Personal Theology: Kiran Rana & Jeanne Rana

                          Murshid Kiran Rana is a senior teacher in the Sufi Way, a mystical community that has its origin in the teachings of universal Sufism introduced in the West in 1910 by the Indian mystic Inayat Khan. Kiran lives happily in Alameda with his wife, Jeanne Rana, a poet and fellow-Sufi who is also a member of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. At their Sufi center, Bay Dervish, they hold gatherings for meditation, invocation and music, offer personal guidance, and facilitate intimate conversations about the inner life, creativity and awakening. Kiran also teaches an online webinar called A Taste of Sufism; currently he and Jeanne are offering a ten-month-long program in Berkeley called Sufism & the Art of Loving. “Two Stories: How Kiran and Jeanne Found Sufism Found Them.”

                        • Personal Theology: Kiran & Jeanne Rana

                            Murshid Kiran & Jeanne Rana, (see bio above). “I follow the religion of love: whatever way love’s camels take, that is my religion and my faith.”  — Ibn ’Arabi

                          • Personal Theology: Cordell Sloan

                              Cordell Sloan, UUCB Board of Trustee, Technology guru; dream expert; jazz musician and son of Rev. Cordell Sloan, Sr. Cordell says “There have been a number of times in my life (And I’m sure yours too.) when necessity, that fecund mother of invention, required a personal reinvention. I’ve had a number of occasions requiring a makeover of myself as well as studying others pursuing a growth driven journey and from each of these experiences I find that there are many factors that consistently come into play when we succeed in renewal.” “My Toolkit For Self Invention.”

                            • Personal Theology: Kit Hewitt

                                Kit Hewitt, UUCB member, Facilitator for UUCB Write For Your Life Writing Group, and Personal Theology publicist.  “Joy: Galapagos Islands.”

                              • Personal Theology: Lenore Ralston

                                  Lenore Ralston, has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College and an M.P.H. from UC Berkeley. UUCB Member. “Two Faces of God: Elohim and Adonai: A faith-journey of a secular Jew.”

                                • Personal Theology: Dr. Karen Vorhees

                                    Dr. Karen Vorhees, UUCB member, Fulbright Scholar, writer of essays and novels, visionary, lover of good stories, a historian by training, long-time meditator, and elder relatives’ caregiver. “Death Doesn’t Exist.”

                                  • Personal Theology

                                      No session.  Happy Holidays!!


                                    • Personal Theology

                                        No session. Happy New Year!!

                                      • Personal Theology: Hana Matt

                                          Hana Matt, teacher of world religions at GTU and Interfaith Chaplaincy; author, spiritual director, and counselor.  For two weeks, she will talk about two influential women activists. One of them is “St. Teresa of Avilaof 16th century Avila, Spain, a nun who founded and ran many reformed monasteries and convents of Carmelites all over Spain, traveling to each one, writing numerous books, teaching, and trying to reform the Catholic Church.

                                        • Personal Theology: Hana Matt

                                            Hana Matt, see bio above. This week Ms. Matt will talk about “Hildegarde of Bingen”  who wrote music, poetry, play and nine books, who continually preached, healed, painted organized and founded organizations and monasteries, and who gave us a new concept called “Veriditas,” or “Greening Power.” Ms. Matt will explore the 4 ways that Hildegarde gave to contact with this greening power of the Divine.

                                          • Personal Theology: Dr. James Lance Taylor

                                              Dr. James Lance Taylor, Professor, and director of the African American Studies program at the University of San Francisco, author of ‘Black Nationalism in the United States: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama’ and former President of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. TBA

                                            • Personal Theology: Alex Pappas

                                                Alex Pappas, retired College of Alameda instructor of world religions and psychology (40+ years), past president of the Theosophical Society in Oakland, writer, a student of comparative religion especially nondual paths such as Vedanta, Theosophy, Alice A. Bailey and esoteric Buddhism. He has lectured at various locations including Germany, Turkey, India and US. His book ‘Heaven and Nirvana’ is a comprehensive text of dual and nondual religious traditions. TBA