By Aoife Barrington-Haber
“What is this RE thing anyway??”
If someone asked you to describe “religious education,” what are the first things that come to mind? Do terms like teacher, classes, or formal instruction come up? You might describe children and youth playing games or doing crafts in order to learn the language of their faith, separated out from the adults in worship. These answers aren’t wrong, but they are certainly only a small portion of what religious education is and can be for a multigenerational Unitarian Universalist community.
In my recent training module on the Philosophy of Religious Education (RE), I came away with an expanded definition of What RE is, and thus, Who participates in it. We explored Where, When, Why and How we do RE.
Whether we call it religious exploration, spiritual development, or faith formation, it is a lifelong process. RE is the development of the core being of a person, the part which perceives the world and relates to others; the soul. This process can happen organically through day to day life, but risks being tainted by corrupt systems and damaging attitudes. Fortunately there are UU’s congregations and formal RE programs like ours. These exist because we seek community, people with which to share our questioning journey and find affirmation of those core ideas about life and meaning.
Our UU faith is education in that we are all seeking, not definite answers, per se, but understanding, so that life can make sense especially in the most difficult of times.
So with that as the What and Why, we could begin to imagine the myriad of answers to “When does the soul unfold to become more fully itself, and How and Where… “
- When a child makes a new adult friend at church,
- When we welcome a baby or child into our congregation with a dedication ceremony,
- When you listen to the wind blustering at night and feel grateful for your house,
- When a stranger pays for your cup of coffee,
- When a teenager gives up his seat in musical chairs so the three-year-old next to him can stay in the game,
- When we forgive each other,
- When we try new ways of being together in community,
- When we stand up for environmental and social justice issues, even if they are not popular,
- When you join in the spring yard clean-up outside our meeting house…
There are so many ways, within church and beyond, that all of us can grow our spirits. Our congregation is about to enter a momentous period of transition. I hope you will actively engage in this process of personal reflection, defining what FUSF means to you and your spiritual life, and what you wish to see it become in the future. Our RE program might want to evolve to reflect a lifespan view of faith formation, and if you have input, ideas or visions, I would love to hear them! (Hint: Think about joining the RE Committee)
SPRING TERM of our “Justice Year”
Our winter term wrapped up last Sunday with some beautiful labyrinth meditations, and more thoughtful discussions on stereotyping of Native Americans and how to approach this as a justice issue. (Stay tuned for the letter-writing) Many thanks to Donna Morin for all her work in planning and leading this class, and to all the adults and youth who led while learning a lot themselves.
March 6th: Classes
March 13th: Classes
March 20th: Mixed-age activity for Spring Equinox
March 27th: Mixed-age activity for Easter
Children will begin in the Sanctuary unless otherwise noted.
PreK-K: Spirit Play
Grades 1-3: Fair, Just and Peaceful
Grades 4-6: Sing to the Power
Grades 7-8: Building Bridges
Grades 9-12: TBA