Symposium 2023: “Bearing Grief & Breathing Liberation”

Symposium 2023

We’re thrilled to announce that Symposium 2023 will take place August 28-30! This year’s Symposium will be an experiment in multi-locational, hybrid education as we structure a program to support the full participation of persons who will gather online and persons who will gather at two retreat centers.

Three Attendance Options

Symposium participants will have three options for program attendance:

  1. Online via Zoom
  2. West Coast retreat location: Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA.
  3. East Coast retreat location: Murray Grove in Lanoka Harbor, NJ.

Online via Zoom

As always, participants are welcome to join us online via Zoom.

  • Online-specific community sessions
  • Hybrid engagement with cross-modality sessions
  • Some asynchronous elements to accommodate work schedules

Mercy Center

A retreat center operated by the Sisters of Mercy that focuses on contemplative spirituality and interfaith engagement.

  • Single occupancy rooms
  • Meals provided
  • Parking available
  • Accessible by public transit from SFO and other Bay Area locations
  • Day use fee: $100 includes lunch/$85 without lunch
  • Housing accommodations: $370

Murray Grove

This is a Unitarian Universalist retreat and conference center on the central New Jersey coast.

  • Double occupancy rooms pending number of registrations
  • Meals provided
  • Parking available
  • No Day Use Fee
  • Housing accommodations: $240

General Schedule

The Symposium schedule will begin with program sessions on the evening of Monday, August 28, and continue through the morning of Wednesday, August 30. The keynote address by Dr. Carvalhaes will be held on Tuesday, August 29. Program elements will include shared worship, community conversations, creative ritual crafting, and invitations to nature immersion experience. Stay tuned for more details as they’re confirmed.


Both in-person and online tickets cost $15. Additional fees apply for in-person guests. Click one of the buttons below to register through Eventbrite for your intended mode of participation. All in-person participants must register by June 30.

Bearing Grief & Breathing Liberation: Rituals in the Anthropocene

Scientists and climate activists have warned that we are entering a new era of Earth history called the Anthropocene, a time when human activity is decisively and harmfully reshaping the planet and its biodiverse ecosystems. The effects are increasingly evident in cascading climate disasters that threaten the loss of patterns, places, species, and a certain future.

This will be an era of profound grief and fierce struggle as we lament the damage and seek repair. Such a time calls for visions and habits of eco-liberation rooted in the rituals we share and the spirit we discover together. Through the teaching of Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes, and through our shared spaces of conversation, practice, and reflection, we will embark on an interreligious exploration of how rituals offer a way for our communities to journey through the end of a world.

Our Honored Teacher

Cláudio Carvalhaes

Cláudio Carvalhaes, earth thinker, theologian, liturgist, performer and artist, a native Brazilian from São Paulo, completed his Ph.D. in Liturgy and Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 2007. He earned his first Master of Philosophy degree in Theology, Philosophy, and History at the Methodist University of Sao Paulo in 1997 and a Master of Divinity degree from the Independent Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Sao Paulo, Brazil) in 1992.

In the summer of 2016, Dr. Carvalhaes joined Union Theological Seminary in New York City where he got his full scholarship and is now Professor of Worship. Previously, he taught at McCormick Theological Seminary, Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Carvalhaes is an ordained pastor within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Learn more.