Central Midwest District Women and Religion
Who We Are
WWS 2013 Workshop Selections
Committee Member Resources
Once you've registered for WWS 2013, please read through the list of available morning and afternoon workshops below. Pick ONE (1) morning workshop and ONE (1) afternoon workshop and list them by NAME and NUMBER in the "AM Selection" and "PM Selection" boxes below. Then click the SUBMIT button at the very bottom of the page. That's all there is to it, and we can't wait to see you at WWS 2013.
NOTE: If the workshop you select is already full, you will be asked to choose another in that time slot. Please don't wait to make your selections- some of these fill up fast!
AM Selection: Choose 1 from Workshops 1-11
PM Selection: Choose 1 from Workshops 12-23
1. Fire Up the Chalice
The myth of the search for the Grail (chalice) is usually interpreted in western tradition as a Christian male quest story. But the bowl, cup, or chalice has been a symbol of many religions, including ancient women centered traditions and Unitarian Universalism and the Grail myth of the search for wholeness predates Christianity and patriarchy. In this participative workshop participants will explore how answering the Grail myth questions of "What ails thee?" and "What heals thee?" can spur women UU's to action to better the brokenness in our world today.
2. Imbolc Ritual: Honoring Brigid, Triple Goddess Healing, Fire and Inspiration
Feb 1 is the time to celebrate the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is the time of year when we begin to notice the days are getting longer, that the light is beginning to return and hope begins to stir with a longing for the return of spring. It is a time of renewal and purification…a time of potential when we envision the seeds that want to plant in our lives. It is the time to honor one of the most loved and cherished Goddesses of the ancient Celts known as Brigid/Bride/Brigantia/Brigandu. Brigid is considered a Triple Goddess of Fire, Healing and Inspiration. She is a goddess of compassion, generosity, wisdom and fertility. Brigid is an aspect of the Divine Feminine that calls us to reclaim our authentic selves and reminds us that our own true potential can be whatever we imagine with our minds and bring to fruition through our actions. We will first learn about the Goddess Brigid and this time of Imbolc and then gather together in sacred circle to honor the Divine spark of creativity and healing within each one of us, our connections with each other and the Goddess Brigid in all of her many expressions.
Maximum Attendees – 25
3. Crystal Wand Healing Technique
Diane Bloom will teach you how to do a healing technique using two crystal healing wands. You will learn how crystals work in healing, the rules of thumb for working with stones and how to cleanse crystals . Learn how easy and yet effective crystal healing can be!
4. Story Sharing: The First Annual meeting of SRFHOPCH (H is silent)
The Sometimes Radical, Frequently Highly Organized, Passionate, Creative and Humorous discussion group for women gives us a chance to share stories that explode pomposity as we focus on the changes we care about. What is your funniest perfect squelch moment? When did you or someone else flip a bad situation into a win for our side?
5. Beeswax Candle Dipping (plus 3.00 for materials)
This is sometimes called "candle dancing". Women will take take their place in a circle and as the circle turns and you pass the melted wax, you dip your wick in. While you walk, your candle will cool and it will be ready to dip when you complete the loop. It is a relaxing exercise and a chance to bond with fellow women. Anyone can do it--no experience necessary. You will leave with 2 beeswax candles that you have made yourself.
Maximum Attendees – 50
6. The Art of Ally-hood
In this workshop we'll discuss the meaning and role of allies in social movements; paying particular attention to the role allies play in the LGBT equality movement.
Through didactic discussion, theoretical analysis, and review of media; participants will gain a better understanding of how they can be allies to diverse groups and how they may cultivate allies to their own constituent group.
Maximum Attendees – 25
7. Across the Bridge: Milwaukee Civil Rights History and Its Meaning Today
This workshop will briefly present background information about the successful campaign in Milwaukee for local and national fair housing laws.
Discussion will focus particularly on the dramatic crossing of the 16th Street Viaduct (now the James E. Groppi Unity Bridge)its meaning then and its importance as an historic and poetic symbol today.
Participants will then construct their own bridge poems, depicting their issues in text and image.
Workshop leader Margaret Rozga was a member of the 1967-68 Milwaukee NAACP Youth Council that led the fair housing marches. She later married Youth Council Advisor, Milwaukee civil rights leader Father James Groppi.
Her play _March On Milwaukee: A Memoir of the Open Housing Protests_ premiered in 2007. Her books of poetry include _200 Nights and One Day_ and _Though I Haven't Been to Baghdad_, both published by Benu Press.
She lives in Milwaukee and blogs about poetry and social justice at
Maximum Attendees – 30
8. Activate Your Joy of Drumming
Join us in using the Power of the Drum to activate our Powerful Selves! This Power of Vibration is everyones's birthright! The Joy of the Rhythm of Life is already in YOU! Beginners welcome. Some extra drums and percussion available.
We will be doing drumming chanting and raising the healing vibration of the planet!
9. What to do When Public Policy Affects Women's Health / Planned Parenthood
Sabrina Johnson of Planned Parenthood
Often times people don't realize the direct affect public policy has on our lives. Women's health access is under attack. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin organizers will discuss what has been happening with policy affecting women's health and how to get involved.
10. Spiritual Practices for Social Activists
Social Activism takes us deeper when we come from our souls, our "true selves." Action is best paired with reflection so that we do not burn out and can more effectively encourage others to take part. We'll share spiritual practices that help us take our activism to a deeper, more sustaining and sustainable level.
Maximum Attendees – 30
11. Working for Peace by achieving Justice through Fair Trade
I will explain fair trade and the positive impact it has on especially women's lives. To further illustrate the variety of women’s talents worldwide, I will show a variety of products they produce. The products will also demonstrate all the aspects of fair trade.
Maximum Attendees – 25
12. Pray Tell: Writing about Spirituality and Religion
Writing about our spiritual and religious experiences can be extremely gratifying. In this workshop you will learn to a) identify the stores that you want to tell, b) determine the genre you want to use to tell your story, c) get your stories published. Carrie M. O'Connor earned her master of arts in communications and journalism at Marquette University with an emphasis on religious journalism. She has published short fiction and essays that have religious themes.
13. Laughter Yoga and Peace of Mind
Laughter Yoga is a joyful way to de-stress and be in the moment. It is an opportunity to peel the layers and masks that we wear and expose the true joyous beings that we are. Through play, music and song, we find our core selves and create abundant energy within and without. A guided meditation follows the laughter session. No yoga experience is necessary,as this is the yoga of the breath, and thankfully we all do that very well!
14. An Interactive Encounter with the Chakras
For the past 25 years, I have led worship services, workshops and spiritual retreats in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona and Illinois. I have been a spiritual group leader for the Wisconsin DOC for the past twelve years. My proposed co-presenter and apprentice is Meredith (Marigold) Beckman. Meredith is a former Vice President of the CMwD Board of Trustees, former Steering Committee member of YASC (Young Adult Steering Committee) and former member of MUUYACM (Madison Unitarian Universalist Young Adult and Campus Ministry). Meredith has been a financial advisor for 17 years and an adjunct instructor of Business at Globe University since 2009. She recently started her Year and a Day studies under the tutelage of Lady Valley Crone.
One of the most successful and well received workshops I have developed is an interactive encounter with the chakras. This workshop suits the overall idea of activism – taking care of one’s self.
We propose offering participants the opportunity to move, dance, speak and drum their way through the seven circles and colors of the human body; to activate the self in order to be more fully active in all areas of life.
This is a fun, safe and energizing experience for all ages and ability levels.
We will provide all necessary items. (Workshop participants may choose to bring their own drums and other bangy things.)
15. Tai Chi: A Moving Meditation
This ancient meditation teaches how to relax, enjoy, and clear the mind. We will laugh and learn as we explore the art of moving meditation.
No previous experience required. Come with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
Maximum Attendees – 70
16. Changing the Conversation: America's Gun Violence Epidemic
Janet Fitch, media activist and documentary offers a screening/ discussion of the concluding film in her trilogy: Guns, Grief and Grace in America. Originating with the Million Mom March for Sensible Gun Laws, the series employs local, state and national lenses to tell the full story of this American tragedy. The films are highly effective tools for activism around gun violence prevention. The goal of the series is to reframe discussion to a public health focus on prevention. Janet’s experience with local, state, national and international audiences confirms this is doable – in our lifetime!
Women and Religion helped fund Janet’s expenses to present the concluding film, Changing the Conversation: America's Gun Violence Epidemic at the UU General Assembly in 2011.
You will find many other examples under SAMPLES OF ENGAGEMENT at
Some recent and upcoming engagements for Changing the Conversation include a range of university and graduate programs:
Medical College of WI - Health Policy course - PhD students
Alverno College - opening of the Research Center for Women and Girls
Carroll University - Health Policy Introductory Course - undergraduates
Mount Mary University - CTC Awarded the Foley-Pohlman Diversity Lecture
Cardinal Stritch University's School of Urban Education - incorporated all 3 films in their Urban Teacher Certification Program
Marquette University's Physician's Assistant program - incorporated an ongoing curriculum based on CTC
Cardinal Stritch University's Doctoral Leadership Department - CTC half day seminar with students from all sectors: education, business, healthcare, nonprofit
UWM - Zilber School of Public Health - CTC screening/seminar proposal initiated by PhD students - to be held as part of this fall's opening activities.
NWSA - Panel presentation at the National Women's Studies Conference - Atlanta, 2011.
17. Building Support From The Inside Out!
How do you support yourself in stressful times?
We would all like to receive loving support when we feel challenged by life circumstances, but often that support is not to be found, or it is given along with advice and/or criticism, which we don’t want. We can spend many moments of our life failing to feel loved and supported because we aren’t being offered loving support, and we don’t know how to give it to ourselves. There is an old saying that says you can’t receive what you don’t give, so why not learn how to lovingly support ourselves?
Life is always full of opportunities, some of which are very challenging. Learning how to lovingly support ourselves in challenging times is not something many of us were taught growing up, but something we can learn to do now. Join me to expand your skills and move through challenges with greater comfort and ease.
In this workshop and you will;
• Become aware of all the things you currently do to support yourself under stress
• Determine what things help you, and what things make your life more difficult.
• Imagine what other support you would like to receive right now that you think would help you.
• Practice taking the next step by offering yourself the support you want and watch how you flourish!
18. Soap Making
(+3.00 for materials)
Learn how to make your own soap for body, face and hair using local, organic and sustainably sourced oils. Adding essential oils and natural clays and botanicals creates a soap that is gentle, cleansing, and aroma-theraputic!
Participants will take home at least one bar of their handcrafted soap.
Maximum Attendees – 25
19. Silk Scarves
(plus 3.00 for materials)
You will dye your own, one-of-a-kind silk scarf.
20. Focused Self-Care: Resilience for a Life at the Edge
Mary Elaine Kiener
Taking care of others comes so naturally to you. Yet, when your life is filled with doing for others, it’s so hard to find time for you. You understand the importance of self-care, but knowing something is a whole lot easier than doing it.
Self-care is too often seen as a “when I have time” type of task. Even the most efficient time management techniques cannot replenish drained energy reserves.
Focused Self-Care offers a rich source of resilience. By offering a gentle, compassionate process that brings understanding and clarity into our lives we gain a sense of being more fully ourselves.
This presentation offers you a “taste” of Focused Self-Care. You will experience
• a special way of pausing while being with a life-issue,
• a fresh perspective,
• new possibilities, and
• renewed energy to move forward.
Time spent with Mary Elaine will engage your mind, touch your heart and affirm your spirit.
Maximum Attendees – 50
21. BodyLove PlayShop
BodyLove PlayShop is an exploration of what is wonderful about our bodies right now, today, exactly the way they are, without needing to change one single thing. We will focus on loving our bodies unconditionally, especially the parts that make it difficult sometimes. Women of all sizes, abilities, and ages are welcome to come and celebrate. Come ready to laugh, share, get creative, and move as much or as little as your beautiful body desires!
22. When a CAN'T becomes a CAN: Latinas as leaders; life after deportation / Voces de la Frontera
Nancy Flores of Voce de la Frontera
This workshop will explain the work of the New Sanctuary Movement, an ongoing campaign dedicated to helping families that have been forced to be separated from thier loved ones due to a deportation. Immigration policy will be discussed briefly and then there will be some activities to help the participants really put themselves in the place of Latinas who have faced an unexpected family separation due to the deportation of a loved one. Then, we will have some women who have actually lived through these situations share their stores; specifically how their religion/faith got them through this tough time and allowed them to discover the leader that was inside them the whole time.
23. Resiliency: Stopping Burnout Before it Begins
Burnout is prevalent in our culture today. Whether you're an activist, caregiver, or just a woman in our patriarchal culture, the emotional exhaustion of burnout can strike you, reducing your enjoyment of life and your sense of personal accomplishment. We live in the most anxious society in the world, so come learn some simple techniques to increase your resiliency, revitalize your energy, and bounce back from burnout before it even begins.
Nancy Vedder-Shults, Ph.D., is the thealogical columnist for SageWoman magazine as well as a Wiccan blogger for Tikkun Daily. She has offered ecofeminist and spiritual growth keynotes, workshops, and classes since 1987. Nancy honed her speaking and workshop skills teaching in the emerging field of Women’s Studies from 1975 – 1991. In the early 1990s her muse nudged her out of the Women's Studies Program at the UW-Madison to record Chants for the Queen of Heaven and become the musical consultant for Rise Up and Call Her Name. She is currently writing a book entitled The World is Your Oracle. Check out her website at