The Religious Education Committee for Children and Youth met through the summer to work on some re-visioning for our work within the congregation. Out of this work have come some fantastic, forward thinking priorities and great hope for our congreation.
In our visioning mini-workshop in June, committee members and other leaders came together to consider these questions:
â€¢ Why is church important to you?
â€¢ As they go through and graduate from our religious education program, what do we hope our children and youth will KNOW?, BE?, and DO?
â€¢ What is the purpose of our religious education program?
In our discussion, we worked to clarify not only what the purpose of our work with children and youth, but also which aspects of our purpose do we see as most important? In prioritizing, we are better able to allocate limited resources to the heart of our purpose. Three items rose to the top of our list:
#1 â€” Encourage generosity, responsibility to others, service with and to
#2 â€” Create community among the kids as well as across generations to strengthen relationships, both to provide role models and sounding boards for the children and youth and to enrich the lives of adults
#3 â€” Develop a religious life across contexts and as a core part of your identity. Learn to be a UU in the world, inside church and beyond
Using these priorities as our inspiration, we have made strides to redirect our RE program for kids and youth from being about the delivery of UU content to being about building relationships, engaging in service, and practicing ritual. A renewed focus on consistent and diverse adult leadership is one part of this plan. Volunteers will be asked this year to serve consistently in seasons instead of occasionally throughout the year. Adults who may not see themselves as “teachers” will be encouraged to serve as mentors and leaders in shorter periods to share their hobbies and interests. Regularizing our activities each Sunday will contribute to building confidence in our young UUs and enabling them to see and understand Unitarian Universalism in a clearer context. Finally, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education will have a renewed sense of purpose in creating ways for our UU “content” to be made available for families to use at home and as family and multi-generational groups in church.
Growing Unitarian Universalism together, from the inside, is our new direction and it feels energizing!