How do you write about your “faith”? How do you describe the indescribable, the ineffable, the otherworldly? the grief or joy or miracle or peace or disappointment that you have because of your faith? Everyone can argue about the value or lack of value in “religion”–and it’s an easy connect-the-dots to create your own pictures of what organized religion has done in the world. It’s harder to write about personal faith or your personal interactions with religion–what keeps you going, what happened to you that you know no one would believe, about the anguish of trying to live in a real, faulty, fragile world, when others ask you to strive for peace, patience, happiness, even joy.
This writing workshop will explore how people write about these very personal experiences, or their thoughts about faith and religion and its very real presence in their lives, or the lives of those around them. We’ve had students write about their relationships with their parents, their children, their grandchildren, experiences in nature, in confronting others who aren’t on the same page. We have had students who are believers, non-believers, unsure, people of various faiths. All faiths are welcome–come with what’s important to you, open to what is important to others. This isn’t a dogma class. It’s not a class to teach you from the top down. It’s for you to teach us from the ground up through your experiences, your writing.
What you can expect:
While this is a 13-15 week experience, it’s done in modules, so that you can come and go as you have to. We’d like to see a committed group of 15-20 people go through the writing education and the writing workshop so that we can have a core group. However, this class has been taught before at WUC with a core of ten and some of them will be joining us again. My hope is to build trust in the group, so that you will trust us with looking at your writing.
This will be my third time teaching this class–and it is always one of my favorite courses. WUC is asking for a $50 course fee if you decide to take the course to reimburse the Herb and Dorreen Wahl Fund, a generous fund that allows WUC to bring affordable, creative experiences to the church and the surrounding community.
The first six or seven classes will be focused more on writing technique with fun exercises to get you writing and trying different methods. We will read works by contemporary writers like Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott, Marilynne Robinson, Jhumpa Lahiri, Andre Dubus, Stephen Gould, John Updike. (These are all inclusive writers, but for the most part seekers with an inclusive Christian background).Gradually, we will be looking more and more at your writing–as we hope that you will begin to share your stories, fiction and nonfiction. In March, there will be Saturday afternoon opportunities for longer workshops for those who are ready to submit works to be workshopped.
Come Friday, Feb 10, to the Whitehorse United Church for an orientation meeting, with food. We’ll have some brainstorming sessions, you can chat with prior participants, and get to know what the class will be like. The official class will begin Feb 17th and run through Mid May. A fully detailed schedule will be available that night.
Jerome Stueart (the instructor) has his PhD in English (Creative Writing) from Texas Tech University, over 15 years experience teaching writing workshops, and this is his third time teaching Writing Faith. His publications can be found on this website under Written Work. If you have questions about the course, feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “writing faith”–or come Friday, Feb 10, at 5pm to the Whitehorse United Church for more information.