Summer fun is winding down, cool night breezes are blowing in open windows, the beaches are sparsely populated, AND our Religious Education Programing is back! We had so much fun this summer and I want to thank all our wonderful volunteers for sharing their passion, joy, and fun with our children. If you missed out on the action, no worries, you can still volunteer to assist leaders in our classrooms during the year. See me Sunday mornings to sign up.
Damon Smith, Karen York, Bud Smith, Kit Marlowe, Fred Safonof, Collette Baldesare Jones, Colby Tippins, Rev. Dawn Fortune, Denise O’Meara, Kate Vandershuere, and TJ Jannsch – You all made this summer a great learning adventure and I just can’t thank you enough. Hope to see you all back downstairs soon.
Each year the age groups for religious education change a bit and the focus of the classes change. It’s always so exciting to unveil the new programming. So, without further ado, here are the 2019-2020 Religious Education Programs:
This year our youngest learners, those in preschool through age 7, will learn what makes a faith home and explore how and why we welcome others into our lives. In Creating Home, this fall the children will ask questions about the purpose of having a home and the idea of a home as a place of belonging. Through fun activities, observations of nature, stories of Unitarian Universalist heroes, and wisdom tales from many faith traditions, children will explore the sacredness and the beauty of hospitality as well as the gift of loving relationships that a home can represent. In the spring, the children will continue their journey with Wonderful Welcome, a Tapestry of Faith curriculum that seeks to help children welcome peers, neighbors, family, strangers, and even nature itself into their faith home. Children will learn how to identify, celebrate, and share their intangible gifts of kindness, love, invitation, covenant, and empathy to develop their sense of belonging to their community, congregation, and the larger Unitarian Universalist faith community.
Children ages 8 through 10 will explore Unitarian Universalist’s seven sources as they work together to discover truth and make meaning in their lives. This fall, using the Love Will Guide Us curriculum, they will ask difficult questions like “Where did we come from? What is our relationship to the Earth and other creatures? How can we respond with love, even in bad situations? and What happens when you die?” Drawing on the wisdom of different faith traditions and cultures and their own experiences they will explore together what it means to be human. In the spring, the children will delve deeper into fourteen Unitarian Universalist values using Signs of Our Faith: Being UU Everyday. They will explore the ideas of reverence for life, public witness, the quest for knowledge. They will learn how these values show up in their everyday lives and will come to see themselves as leaders of their faith.
More questions are in store this year for youth over age 11. With a focus on developing their Unitarian Universalist identity, youth will explore concepts connected to ethics, such as morality, virtue, sin, salvation, heaven, hell, redemption, forgiveness, guilt, and integrity. Youth will learn to accept, appreciate and celebrate mystery, ambiguity, and contradiction as part of human life and the starting points of religion. In Amazing Grace: Exploring Right and Wrong this fall and Riddle and Mystery this spring, youth will address such questions as “Why do bad things happen? Does God exist? What is the role of God, gods, and goddesses? Is evil or goodness within us and is it something we choose? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How can I know what to believe? and What does Unitarian Universalism mean to me?” Ultimately, the youth will come to appreciate Unitarian Universalist approaches to faith, morality, and social justice and learn to express their living faith through action.
NEW this year – All ages, family faith development at home. It’s hard to carve out time for faith-full family experiences. If you have felt overwhelmed by the idea of weaving spiritual exploration into the routine spaces of family life Soulful Home is here for you. All registered families will receive a themed monthly packet organized around eight family spaces containing ideas and resources to explore our Unitarian Universalist faith together. With family discussion questions, neighborhood adventures, playful activities to do together, stories for bedtime, and mantras/meditations/prayers to share there is plenty each month to create sacred space in your daily life. Additional resources and materials for Soulful Home activities are available for check out in the family lounge.
Soulful Home can be used by grandparents with visiting grandchildren, families not currently connected to our congregation because of scheduling conflicts or distance, or even adults who want to experience full week faith development at home. If you do not have registered children in our Religious Education program and would like to receive Soulful Home please email email@example.com.