Interim Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Religious Education for Children and Youth

Ours is the church with the Open Mind, Loving Heart and Helping Hands. Our UU students learn from the beginning about uniqueness. It's a word we celebrate in our classes, our church, and our faith. A few years ago, a shift took place in which the children join their parents each week for fifteen minutes at the start of our service, rather than in their own separate chapel service. They now share time with their parents and other church members and guests, receiving love and attention from not only our DLRE, but our minister as well.

We are fortunate to have an RE wing in our church facility. During the week, it houses the White Wing Preschool and Kindergarten. On Sunday, we have a comfortable space both upstairs for the older grades and downstairs for the youngest among us, including a room for infant care. Each class has two to three teachers at all times and follow a UUA curriculum.

Religious Education is highly cherished here in our congregation. Children learn from the start about creating a covenant for the class. The Chalice is lit in every classrooms, using a felt chalice and LED flames for the younger grades. On the other side of our sanctuary, we have a lovely, large space that includes the Fellowship room downstairs, across the hall from the kitchen. The Rites of Passage (ROPES) curriculum is taught in this comfortable space. It also is used for multiple meetings throughout the week.

Upstairs, we house the OWL class on Sundays. It is across from the Auditorium, where sleepovers and auctions, coffee houses, plays and self-help meetings fill our space with love all week long. This group of students has traveled a remarkable journey together. This year they are taking OWL, next year, they will be embarking on their Rights of Passage Journey together. Each child will have their own lives to explore and create, with a foundation of love, support and respect for their uniqueness.

This past year, our monthly AREA (Alternative RE Activities) events have brought all age groups together to engage in diverse learning experiences. In the Fall we helped church member John Burkitt put people on bikes. John collects used bikes and refurbishes them to donate to folks via the Food Pantry and the Boys and Girls Club. In December, we explored what it might be like to be blind by Dining in the Dark and partnering each other through a blindfolded obstacle course. In February we met Randy Pierce and his dog guide, Autumn, as well as a couple of guide dog puppies-in-training. In the spring we will be exploring growing food in our city to help feed folks who are food at-risk.