Religious Studies Experiential Workshops for Spring 2014

The Department of Religious Studies is offering 5 experiential workshops for Spring 2013 semester. These workshops are offered as part of the Religious Studies major program, but are offered to HSU students in general as a way of encountering religious life first hand. Religious Studies maintains relationships with various religious communities in Northern California who provide opportunities to receive introductory teachings and participation in religious practices as a sort of field work experience in the study of relgion. Our workshops are varied in style, content, and traditional orientation. Members of the community are welcome to attend, and may sign up for registration and credit through Extended Education.

[See the line-up of workshops for Spring 2014: RS 394 classes for Spring 2014.]

Generally experiential workshops give you the opportunity to engage directly with religious communities by participating in rituals, discussion, community gatherings, and other sorts of activities. Participation in various forms of worship and ritual are on a purely voluntary basis, guided by principles of participant observation. Most of these weekends are conducted on weekends, and usually they will involve participation on Friday evenings, Saturday, and/or Sunday. Many of these workshops are local, but some are out of town. Local events typically are held at a site where the religious community meets (e.g., a church or synagogue), and students need only go to the location. Out of town events involve travel out of town, and students are responsible for their own transportation. Usually students make arrangements for ride sharing. There are no fees for these workshops, but donations are requested/required for out of town workshops, especially when the religious community provides food and shelter. Many workshops require attendance at an organizational meeting before the weekend, and most require a simple writing response after the event. Usually there is very little reading or homework required. The emphasis is on participation and involvement with community members, ritual life, teachings from within the community, and so forth.

List of workshops for this semester follows:

Chinmaya Vedanta Weekend [!!! CANCELLED FOR SPR 14 !!!]

RS 394 • 1 unit
Date: TBA (CRN 26118)
Location: Chinmaya Mission, Piercy, CA.
HSU Coordinator: William Herbrechtsmeier,

Weekend retreat at Chinmayanda Vedanta Center south of Garberville, near Richardson's Grove. This is an introduction to Hindu thought, particularly in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. Chief instructor is a Hindu guru, Swami Iswarananda, with authentic lineage. This workshop was new for Spring 2011, and it gets better every year.

Students will stay at the Chinmayanda retreat center on Friday and Saturday night, so that they can engage in an intensive, experience oriented introduction to Vedanta. The program allows students the opportunity to step into the normal routine of the center, which involves study of the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita, meditation, chanting, and other forms of traditional study. The members of this community are highly dedicated spiritual practitioners, and this workshop promises to be richly instructive to those who participate.

The retreat center is on the banks of the Eel River. Time is reserved for quiet time in this lovely natural setting.

Please contact Prof. Herbrechtsmeier for registration details.

Jewish Spirituality Weekend

RS 394 • 1 unit
Date: April 4-6, 2014 (CRN 25151)
Location: Temple Bethel, Eureka, CA.
HSU Coordinator: Sara Hart,

An experiential weekend following the mystical flow of the Sabbath: Kabbalah and Torah study, prayer and blessings, song and dance, storytelling, ritual meals, chanting meditation, ancient and contemporary teachings. Led by musician and eco-activist Rabbi Naomi Steinberg at Temple Beth El of Eureka. You will almost certainly find this to be an inspiring and uplifting time with a group of progressively minded people.

Students will have many opportunities to involve themselves with Rabbi Steinberg and other members of the Temple Beth El community. A favorite part of this weekend are presentations and discussions with a traditional Orthodox Scribe about the creation of a Torah scroll and other aspects of biblical traditions. The weekend ends on Saturday night with a magnificent feast. Students are asked to contribute $25 (if they can afford it) for the cost of meals and snacks provided by the synagogue.

Zen Weekend

RS 394 • 1 unit
Date: Feb 5, 8-9, 2014 (CRN 21219)
Location: Arcata Zen Group Zendo, 740 Park Avenue Arcata. .
Organizational Meeting: TBA.
HSU Coordinator :Sara Hart,

The retreat will include periods of sitting meditation, walking meditation, participation in Zen forms and ceremonies, mindful eating practice at lunchtime and time for questions and answers. This workshop held in Arcata under the direction of the Arcata Zen Group.

City of 10,000 Buddhas Weekend Workshop

RS 394 • 1 unit
Date: Apr 25-27, 2043 (CRN 21217)
Location: City of 10,000 Buddhas, Ukiah (Talmage), CA.
HSU Coordinator: William Herbrechtsmeier,

A retreat weekend at a large orthodox Chinese Buddhist monastery near Ukiah, CA, where we will explore Buddhist theory and practice with members of the community. Practices include dharma talks, group prayer/chanting, meditation, and discussion sessions.

The community is on the grounds of the former Mendocino County Hospital, which is a campus of about the same size as HSU. The Buddha Hall has magnificent images, and the grounds are replete with Buddhist icons, statues, and architectural elements. Scores of Buddhist monks and nuns are in residence. Students are segregated during the weekend according to traditional monastic practice, so that female students spend time primarily with the nuns, and males with the monks. Women students particularly find it worthwhile to study with women who are highly advanced spiritual seekers.

A very popular workshop offered for over 20 years. Students spend Friday and Saturday nights at the monastery and eat in the CTTB dining hall. Most students testify that this is a dynamic and mind opening experience.

Evangelical Christian Weekend

RS 394• 1 unit
Date: March 28-30, 2014 (CRN 25152)
Location: Life House Arcata 475 5th Street Arcata.
HSU Coordinator: Sara Hart,

An immersion into a local Evangelical Christian community providing students a no-pressure opportunity to participate in the fellowship, worship, and worldview of this cutting edge congregation. Allows for exposure to many aspects of Evangelical Christianity, and allows students to understand Evangelical Christianity beyond the stereotypes. The workshop typically includes opportunity to observe or participate in worship services, study, fellowship, prayer, and testimonials (witnessing). There are special sessions devoted to conversations with congregation members and instruction in Christian teaching. Lighthouse Arcata has a lively and inspiring musical ministry that is uplifting and joyful. Students will encounter a community of people who are highly supportive of each other and others who seek spiritual meaning and direction. Prepare to have many of your stereotypes about Evangelical Christianity challenged and exploded.