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

  • Summer Forum

      Shamesh Parsifur. Iranian author and political dissident

      Contact:  Dorothy Herzberg

      (510) 524-0649,

    • Personal Theology: Rev. Dr. John Buehrens

        Rev. Dr. John Buehrens, Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School graduate, former UUA President, retired Senior Minister of the First UU Society of San Francisco. He is also the author of six books, the latest of which is Transcendentalist Disciples: Spiritual Friendships Among Boston Leaders for Anti-Slavery, Women’s Rights, and Social Reform, 1830-1885. Rev. Buehrens will discuss “The Transcendentalists: Roots and Wings. Part 1: What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know About the Transcendentalists.”

      • Personal Theology: Rev. Dr. John Buehrens

          Rev. Dr. John Buehrens, (see bio above.) Part 2: The Forgotten Female Transcendentalists.”

        • Personal Theology: Cordell Sloan and Karen Vorhees

            Two UUCB visionaries, Cordell Sloan and Karen Voorhees, discuss their take on what the future is likely to hold for us. Karen brings her knowledge of Big History (PhD, cultural history) and spirituality (36 years as a meditator). Cordell brings his knowledge of UU history, his background in tech and his own deeply grounded spirituality. “We Have Seen This Movie Before: Reasons for Optimism About the Future in Spite of Today’s Headlines.”

          • Personal Theology Carolyn West

              Carolyn West, Associate Minister for Worship and Director of Religious Education and a teacher of “World Religions for Curious People” at Northbrae Community Church. She is a published poet, essayist, and storyteller, with an MFA from Warren Wilson College. “Wisdom Traditions Respond to the Soul’s Human Cry.”

            • Personal Theology: Ron Campbell

                Ron Campbell, multiple award-winning theater artist, poet and Cirque du Soleil clown. “Clown Knows:  What the Lessons of a Lifetime of Performing Can Teach Us About the Pitfalls (and Pratfalls) of Becoming a Better Human.”

              • Personal Theology: James Baraz

                  James Baraz, founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, co-author of Awakening Joy: Ten Steps to Happiness, and guiding teacher of Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley. “Equanimity: Finding Balance in Difficult Times.”

                • Personal Theology: Rabbi Harry Manhoff, PhD

                    Rabbi Harry Manhoff, PhD, a superfan and collector of comic books, a Congregational Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro, a lecturer at St. Mary’s College, and an author. “Politics and Prayer: The History of the Siddur (Jewish Prayer).”

                  • Personal Theology: Rev. Christian Schmidt

                      Rev. Christian Schmidt, UUCB’s Senior Co-Minister, mystical humanist. “Living in Anxious Times.”

                    • Personal Theology: Deborah Schmidt

                        Deborah Schmidt, UUCB member since 2005, former UUCB Board of Trustees President, Coordinating Team convener, and a volunteer coordinator.  She teaches music and writes memoir, family history and poetry. “This Singing World:” a poetry reading celebrating nature, human connection, love, and music.

                      • Personal Theology: D. Patrick Miller

                          D. Patrick Miller, author, investigative journalist, publisher, editor, literary agent, and Fearless Books and Literary Services operator.  He has intensively studied “A Course in Miracles,” the Enneagram system of personality, Jungian depth psychology, shamanism, and related fields of contemporary spirituality. “How to Be Spiritual Without Being Religious.”

                        • Personal Theology: Rev. Kristin Schmidt

                            Rev. Kristin Schmidt, UUCB’s Senior Co-Minister, long-time UU member, mother, singer, and Star Trek enthusiast. “I’m Not Saved Until We’re All Saved: Universalism for Today.”

                          • Personal Theology: Wyndy J. Knox Carr

                              Wyndy J. Knox Carr, writer, mother of four, librarian-archivist, book reviewer, discoverer of roots from the Women Poets of the Twin Cities to Jeremy Taylor’s dream work groups, and new UUCB member. “Here I Am, Lord: Rediscovering Practices of Self-Worth and Community for Now and Our Future.

                            • Personal Theology: Winnie Sayre

                                Winnie Sayre, newspaper reporter, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, community volunteer and world traveler. She will share how her own personal experience over 86 years has contributed to her spiritual growth. “How Curiosity Has Fueled My Spiritual Journey.”

                              • 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. Forty years after Martin Luther opened the floodgates of Protestantism in 1517, our UU ancestors on the radical fringe of the Reformation were forming churches by 1558 in Poland and ten years later in Transylvania.  Where do we stand 500 years later?  Are we still on the radical edge?  And what’s left to do? “500 Years of Protestant Reformation: What’s Left for UUs to Do?”

                                • Personal Theology: James O’Hara, PhD

                                    James O’Hara, PhD, educator, experienced dream worker and author of In the Land of Shiva, A Memoir. He studied with Jeremy Taylor in 1986, and subsequently co-facilitated many dream groups with Jeremy. Jim embraces the core of Jeremy’s philosophy: the wisdom of our dreams is available to each one of us, not just to professionals in the field. “A Tribute to Jeremy Taylor by Jim O’Hara: The Multiple Meanings in Dreams.”

                                  • Personal Theology: Jeanne Foster

                                      Jeanne Foster, professor emeritus at Saint Mary’s College, poet, memoir writer, and translator, former minister, UUCB Worship Associate and choir member, and author of five books; the latest is The Living Theatre, a translation of selected poems by the Italian poet Bianca Tarozzi. It was nominated for the Northern California Book Critics Award for 2017. “Lessons from a Tuscan Grasshopper.”

                                    • Personal Theology: No session.

                                        No Session. Happy Holidays!

                                      • Personal Theology: No Session

                                          No Session. Happy New Year!

                                        • 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: Rev. Dr. Sue Magidson

                                              Rev. Dr. Sue Magidson, lifelong UU; UUCB member for over 20 years; UUCB Community Minister. Ordained a UU minister, Sue serves as a hospital chaplain at San Leandro Hospital. She considers herself a professional listener. “Radical Listening as Spiritual Practice: The Transformative Power of Giving Someone Our Undivided Attention.”

                                            • Personal Theology: Hana Matt

                                                Hana Matt, teacher of world religions at GTU and Interfaith Chaplaincy; author, spiritual director, and counselor. Ways to Cultivate Vibrancy and Flourishing: From The World’s Religions and Modern Scientific Studies.”