• Nancy

Big Changes Happening This Month in Religious Education by Vicki Carter

Updated: Apr 2


We have been having many more than our customary biannual multigenerational services since Rev. Donna arrived! Finally, the time to try all ages RE is here!

In December, RE team members, volunteers and other interested congregants met to talk about moving toward all ages RE and services. As has been pointed out by Kim Sweeney in her book The Death of Sunday School and the Future of Faith Formation, families don't necessarily want to be separated on Sunday mornings. (And if that's not true in your own family's case, there's always the nursery!)

We talked about having separate classes for adults, youth and children. Sadly, just adding a class for youth during service did not prove sustainable. We have many volunteer jobs to fill in our church and a limited number of people to fill them. However, Rev. Donna had the marvelous idea of using a multigenerational program from Tapestry of Faith that would be suitable for children, youth and adults. Her colleagues suggested Moral Tales, a program that isn't technically multigenerational, but one that they felt would work for our purposes.

The first unit of Moral Tales is “Seeking Truth/Discernment.” It's five sessions long. March has five Sundays this year, so that will be our theme this month. “These sessions introduce tools for discerning truth and justice in a complex world. Participants are encouraged to draw upon inner resources such as conscience, intuition and empathy; spiritual resources such as faith, prayer and forgiveness; and external resources that include wise teachers and the larger community.” Moral Tales draws on our seven Unitarian Universalist sources. The program encourages rituals for opening and closing.

Another fantastic idea Rev. Donna passed along to me from a DRE at another church was the idea of “helping hands” in the RE classroom. This is a not a volunteer position that involves teacher training. It is more a way to ensure that our safety policy is met, in the case that no adult decided to attend RE on a particular day. It is also a way of making sure that the DRE or volunteer teacher has help, if needed.

We will still need a few trained teachers, since I will be off-site once a month. I imagine that once adults attend RE class, more of them will feel moved to help or even lead a class.

Nobody will need to miss service. Everybody can learn. And best of all, it will start at 10:00 a.m., so your Sunday morning routine will not change by more than a half hour.

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The Rev. Christian Schmidt is our interim minister, and first became a Unitarian Universalist in this congregation where he was an active member from 2006-2009. He has since served congregations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California. His interests include his family (including four little boys he and his wife are raising), sports, and theology.


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