Words shared at the annual appreciation luncheon at UUFH on February 28, 2016.
“Faith development is all we do. Unitarian Universalism is all we teach. The congregation is the curriculum.”
Religious Education is one part of the family ministry we do here at UUFH. The RE Council has focused this year on relationship building. We’ve been working hard to connect our children, youth, and families to our themed ministry and providing resources to help ensure our parents have the tools they need to be their child’s primary religious educator. The role of the faith community is to walk alongside one another, to share in the joys and sorrows of the community, to raise the children, and to remember to clean out the fridge. We’re a family – whether you’ve been here for forty years or you just walked in the door today, our shared covenant, the promises we make about how to be together, compels us to walk alongside you and be in relationship in this way.
What we do in religious education is support families. We educate our children and youth in UU history, heritage, principles, and sources. We promote faith development in grappling with our monthly themes, exploring what it means to live this UU faith, and writing our credo statements during Coming of Age. We help families raise their children to be UUs – lifers, because we believe this faith has a healing message for a hurting world. We help educate our children and youth about sexuality and provide parents support to talk about this normative part of human life in a way that promotes our values of respect, fact based learning, and communication. We celebrate milestones, having rites of passage to dedicate our children, to acknowledge their transition into young adulthood, and to help them prepare for moving out into the world as a UU young adult beginning their lives separate from their parents.
We do youth group and young adult ministry because we know that our teens need a relevant faith that gives them guidance to grapple with what life is throwing at them. We worship together regularly because how else will our children and youth know how we UUs worship and more importantly, how else will they know that they are a member of this tribe – that all of us are in this together as a people of faith who want to see a more just world, and as people who all need a place to come to be held, nurtured, and sometimes challenged.
We know that religious education and faith development doesn’t end when adulthood begins. We offer monthly journey groups to explore our themes, book discussions, spiritual practice programs, and many opportunities for community building.
Ours is a faith where revelation is not sealed, but is always unfolding. We are learning together and we are teaching together.
Our biggest achievements this year were around youth ministry. We created a weekly youth night for both middle and high school students. This provides a touchstone for our teens midweek to come together for activities and discussions about our UU faith and to worship with one another. We are also planning the first family retreat this Fellowship has had in many years. This spring we will be holding visioning meetings with families and all of you who have an interest in family ministry here at the Fellowship.
Remember, everything we do is faith development, all we teach is Unitarian Universalism, the congregation is the curriculum.