From Our Director of Religious Education For Children and Youth
Rev. Kathleen and I are so excited about what is planned this year for children and youth! If you did not have a chance to attend September’s Religious Education Information Session and are wondering what is happening in Religious Education this year, here Religious Education Information Session ReDuxis a video review of the presentation made at the information session. These are the three most notable things to know about the year:
1. This year Religious Education is more than Sunday, more than one way. We are planning multiple forms of ministry for kids with different personalities, needs, and schedules. We hope families will find meaningful ways to plug in to what we are doing! Options include:
– Sunday Services, including multigenerational services (10AM Sundays)
– Forest School-Inspired Religious Education (10:15AM Sundays)
– Community Dinners (6PM on the second Wednesdays of each month)
– Multigenerational Social Action Projects (7PM on the fourth Fridays of each month, except in November when it will be the third Friday)
– Special events like the Christmas pageant (yes, we are planning a pageant this year!)
– Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education courses (times/days to be determined by each group, to begin this winter)
– Junior High Youth Group (monthly on times/days to be determined by the group)
– Senior High Youth Group (On Sunday mornings and afternoons whenever OWL is not meeting) To be determined: Will we have a parent covenant group this year? A playgroup for young kids? Let’s work these things out together!
2. Plans remain only plans unless we make them reality. While we are already launching some programs, we are still short volunteers. Any plans that don’t get volunteers won’t become reality.
3. What looks like play is much more! We are expanding our experiment with Forest School-inspired programming this year. Last May and June, this may have looked to you like babysitting or time-killing while waiting for parents while kicking around balls in the yard. In fact, it was a true education program, with experiences in both action and reflection. Want to support this effort? Here are a couple things on our wish list (examples below)::
– Hammocks on free-standing hammock stands (cloth or rope preferred)
– Hammock swings on stands or a pod on a stand
Liberal Religious Educators Fall Conference
Our Director of Religious Education for Children and Youth will be attending the annual Liberal Religious Educators Fall Conference from October 12-17th. The conference theme is “Faith Made Real: Living the 8th Principle.” While she is not attending this event in-person in Birmingham, AL, she will be online absorbing as much of the conference as possible so she can bring back wisdom and skills to her work with our congregation. She will be attending only to prescheduled and urgent matters at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury on these days. Comment October 2022 7 Upcoming In Children and Youth Religious Education (RE): The nursery is open for children ages 0-5 every Sunday during service. Our nursery care providers cannot wait to welcome your children! We also offer regular programming open to children in preschool through high school.
– Sunday, October 2nd – Multigenerational Sunday Service – Blessing of the Animals
– Sunday, October 9th – No in-person programs; Resources will be shared with families in recognition of Indigenous People’s Day
– Sunday, October 16th – Regular Sunday morning programs
– Sunday, October 23rd – Regular Sunday morning programs for all grades except high school; The Senior High Youth group will meet for pumpkin carving at 4PM
– Sunday, October 30th – Regular Sunday morning programs and an after-service all-ages Trunk-or-Treat If you have not yet registered your family for children and youth programs, please do so here.
Changes to Religious Education Volunteer Policies
Now that children have access to Covid vaccinations, the board is no longer requiring that volunteers who work with children and youth be vaccinated against Covid. However, we want to make sure we do our part in keeping the community healthy. We do have some rapid Covid tests available should a volunteer need one. Volunteers should never come in if they are feeling even a little ill. Please contact Sierra-Marie, our Director of Religious Education, if you need to be absent.
Urgent: Volunteers Still Needed
Here is the bad news: we do not have enough volunteers to run all of our planned programs for children and youth. Without volunteers, programs will be canceled. And here is the fantastic news: you can help us fix this! We have fun, interesting, and fulfilling volunteer jobs. Will you help us make sure that we have a complete set of programs this year? Below are some of the volunteer positions open as of the mid-September newsletter deadline. Please contact our Director of Religious Education, Sierra-Marie, at email@example.com for help in discerning if any of these roles are right for you.
– “Forest School” Nature Elders: This Forest School-inspired weekly Sunday morning program focused on children in primary and lower middle school grades needs two to three volunteers to commit to spending one to two Sundays a month with them. You do not need to make a year-long commitment. We can take one set of volunteers for October through January and one set for February through May. To read a brief overview of Forest School, click here. And to read about being a Nature Elder, click here.
– Our Whole Lives 4th-6th Grade Facilitator: This is a ten-week program that will begin in the second half of the school year, and we need a non-female facilitator to complete this facilitator team. To read more about Our Whole Lives, click here.
– Junior Youth Group Facilitator: This group of children in middle school will meet once a month for fun outings and adventures. The purpose is to build a strong community together and to give this group of kids who are very busy with sports and often not around on Sunday mornings a way to connect with one another regularly. Facilitators help plan, execute, and supervise these outings and adventures.