Lifespan Religious Education by Vicki Carter

Updated: Apr 7, 2020


We started inviting all ages to RE in March 2019. Since then I’ve had the experience of teaching a class when I realized I could have done more research on a topic. I love it when I say, “Hmm, I only remember three of the five pillars of Islam...” and adults attending RE whip out their phones to look it up. Or when adults confess to having expertise in an area that pertains to the lesson, and then share their knowledge.

Parents want to know what their children are learning in RE. I found this out several years ago, when whole church themes got so much support from RE parents. When parents and children were separated, at least the sermon and the RE lesson were on similar topics. Family discussions can take place when parents have some idea of what their children have learned. Kim Sweeney tells us that parents are the primary religious educators of their children. They have their children throughout the week. The church has them for an hour or two on Sunday.

From March through May the RE lessons were from Tapestry of Faith’s Moral Tales. For the months of June and July, the curriculum centered on world religions. In August we will return to a whole church theme. This month's theme is prayer and meditation.

It's been interesting seeing what works for classes where I cannot predict what age people will be in attendance. Moral Tales (Tapestry of Faith) was the easiest for me, but it was hit or miss when it came to working for all ages. The lessons I originally wrote for children (Around the World) had to be rewritten to include adults, so that was harder for me. I think Touchstones Lifespan RE Resources are going to be the answer. I will still use Tapestry of Faith. In fact, Touchstones frequently directs subscribers to Tapestry of Faith, which is itself a lifespan religious education program. I am happy to return to Touchstones and forget the labor intensive lesson writing! (Although, I must say, it was fun and rewarding...)

Rev. Donna and I have been asking for your feedback about how the new RE arrangements are working for you, particularly in how it affects your worship experience. I am tracking the feedback I have received, most of it coming from the Board of Trustees, so far. They support continuing the current set-up through September, when, we presume, more children will be in attendance.

We would also like to find out what you think of all ages RE. Please join us for a class or two so that you can form an opinion!

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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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