FOR THOSE who study religion and its history, a course sponsored by Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists of Finksburg may be of interest. The course, "Who Do You Say I Am: An Introduction to the Life and Teachings of Jesus," will be held from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30.
Course leader Dave Hunter explained that "conflicting views of Jesus contributed to the split in the early 19th century between the Unitarians and the traditional Christians. We will explore the New Testament Gospel writers to consider who Jesus was and what he did and what he taught."
Mr. Hunter is a lay Unitarian Universalist who has led workshops in local churches and at district and continental gatherings. He has led several adult education courses at Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Va., including a course on the history of Jesus last winter. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard School of Law.
"Unitarian Universalism," according to the Rev. Kerry Mueller, minister of the Cedarhurst Church, "is a noncredal faith that values the worth and dignity of every person, emphasizes deeds rather than words, affirms the value of the religious community, and supports individual journeys toward spiritual understanding.
"Unitarian Universalism reflects a living tradition that begins with liberal Christianity and embraces the riches of humanism, feminism, mysticism, natural technology, the Jewish tradition, many other world faith traditions and the skepticisms generated by this century's disillusioning woes and wars."
On a lighter note, she added, "We especially welcome those who haven't entered a church in years, or ever."
For information on this course or to register, call Mr. Hunter at (703) 998-0027, or (410) 719-9659, or register for the course Sunday mornings at Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalist Church, 2912 Club House Road, Finksburg.
The service is at 10:30 a.m., and the church's phone number is 861-8820.
Take a New Year's hike
Camp Hashawha offers a cool, refreshing look at the new year with a Happy New Year Hike at Hashawha. The hike will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday at Bear Branch Nature Center. Participants should dress warmly.
After the foray, there will be hot chocolate, tea or coffee with cookies around the wood stove for hikers.
The cost is $2 per person for members or $3 for nonmembers, $5 per family for members or $7 per family for nonmembers.
If there is fresh snow, the outing may become a cross-country ski program.
Camp Hashawha and Bear Branch each offer a variety of programs throughout the year. Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Bear Branch, children can see animals eat dinner and learn about their eating habits at Critter Dinner Time.
For information about the programs at the facilities, call 848-2517.
Camp Hashawha and Bear Branch Nature Center are on John Owings Road off Route 97 north of Westminster.
Lois Szymanski's Central Carroll neighborhood column usually appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun. Because of the holiday, Central features are appearing today.