Religious Education Team

See our Welcome & Introduction Video:

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Thoughts from our Director of Religious Education (DRE) 

Hello and welcome to Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury!  Our program is open to all visiting families, children of long-time members, and everyone in between.  At UU Danbury, we work to provide a discovery-oriented, Principle-based, Source-informed experiential process to help children and youth learn to negotiate life’s choices and challenges.  They are encouraged to wonder, to question, and to create and deepen their understanding of their own faith and beliefs.  Our committed Religious Education volunteers – as well as our entire congregation – seek to support children and youth in their Search.

Our program is built upon three core concepts:

CONTENT, COMMUNITY, and COMMITMENT.

The CONTENT of our classes is grounded in rich, Unitarian Universalist Association-approved curricula delivered by our creative, skilled Religious Educators.  Visit the “Curricula & Lesson Plans” tab for more detailed information.  This year, UU Danbury is once again joining many other UU congregations in engaging in Theme Based Worship, specifically using materials from “Soul Matters Sharing Circle”.  You will see our monthly themes integrated into many areas of congregational life, Religious Education included. “Soul Matters” will challenge us this year to consider How are we a Community of… Covenant, Healing, Story, Presence, Prophesy, Identity, Risk, Transformation, Embodiment, and Zest  (September – June).

We strive to create a sense of COMMUNITY for all of our students where they can feel safe and free to explore their spirituality.  With all of the social stressors placed upon children today, it’s comforting to know that they can come to a place of acceptance and nurturing and just be themselves.  Since our membership draws from a wide geographic area, children have the opportunity to expand their circle of friends as well.

The final building block of our program is COMMITMENT.  The only way that children can benefit from our rich curriculum and nurturing community is for them to show up on Sunday mornings!  We understand that all of our lives are packed with many commitments, but we have a cheerful expectation that children will attend Religious Education classes and activities as often as possible. Similarly, since our program is cooperative in nature, we invite parents to help in some way – by teaching or assisting in classes, participating in RE Ministry Team activities, chaperoning field trips, helping to plan holiday activities, or even sharing a hobby or skill.  Many adults find that working with children in Religious Education encourages them to re-focus their own spiritual beliefs and is a positive, win-win situation for all.  Join us!

Drawing from the lyrics of the important Unitarian Universalist hymn Spirit of Life, my hope is that our Religious Education program creates an environment where children and youth will put down roots in this community and will be encouraged to grow the wings of free-thinking, compassionate adults who will spread the joyful news of Unitarian Universalism far beyond our doors!

In Peace,

Darlene Anderson-Alexander, Director of Religious Education

darlene.dre.uucd@gmail.com, (203)798-1994

Office Hours:  Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday  9:30 – 2:00, and other times by appointment

 

Thoughts from our Interim Minister

Unitarian Universalism is a faith rooted in love and freedom, rather than in doctrine or creed.  We believe that faith is a journey we take together to explore and define our individual beliefs.

Originally two separate religions, Unitarians and Universalists consolidated their traditions in 1961 to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.   Our roots go deep, extending back to ancient Israel, to rural villages in Transylvania, and to early New England.  Often referred to as “movements,” rather than as religions, both traditions evolved from their early Jewish/Christian roots.  From the Unitarians we draw on the use of reason, intellect, and ethical action.  From Universalists we learned to cultivate the life of the spirit, with an emphasis on doing good works in this life.

As Unitarian Universalists today, we welcome all people of good will who come seeking spiritual, personal and intellectual growth.  We strive to accept and encourage one another in a religious community that respects the inherent worth and dignity of people with diverse ideas and beliefs.

We say that “Love is the spirit of this congregation and justice is its light.”  We covenant “to seek and speak the truth in love, to help one another, and to celebrate life.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Religious Education program.  In this ministry we share, we are all teachers, and we are all students.  Those who teach are guided by Love, with hearts open to the gifts the children offer.  Children offer hope to the adults with their questions, wonder and trust.  We walk together to grow our souls and to discover ways to live better in faith in a world that is increasingly complex.

As adults, it is our task to nurture, advise, and care for our youth.  Parents set an example in children’s minds about the importance of the religious life.  Whether parents or not, we as a religious community have a responsibility to all children, and especially the children of this congregation.  We must pass on to them our tradition of free religion in a spirit of love.

Many hands and hearts are needed to hold our children with love and care.  In addition to making the children know they are a valued part of this congregation, get to know them as people.  Let them know you.  Even if you don’t teach in the Religious Education program, you might offer to bring snacks, or teach a particular skill or talent you have.  Please don’t hesitate to contact DRE Darlene Anderson-Alexander or me with your offers of assistance, your questions, concerns, or your ideas.  And remember, you are an integral part of the religious education program of the UU Congregation of Danbury.

Thank you for your enthusiastic support of our youth!

Yours in faith,
Rev. Nancy O. Arnold, Interim Minister
revnoka@gmail.com   203-798-1994

 

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