Building Bridges Through Experiencing the Worship and Traditions of our Neighboring Faiths
Learning about other faith traditions through our Neighboring Faiths program is a favorite experience of for UU kids and parents alike. This curriculum, which has evolved over many decades from The Church Across the Street to Neighboring Faiths to the new and improved Building Bridges, offers the opportunity to do more than learn about other religious traditions; it provides direct experience of our neighbor’s religious traditions through a worship service or other traditional community rituals.
Although I am a life-long UU, I never had the chance to learn through this UU curriculum. Often I hear adults say that they wish there was a “neighboring faiths” program designed for them. And equally often, I hear parents and adults say that they volunteer for this class so that they can gain from the experience that our kids are having. (See note below if you’d like to help this spring or want to be involved next year!)
I have had the chance to experience other faith traditions first-hand, and among my fondest memories from childhood are those of when my family was invited to share in holidays with our Jewish neighbors and friends. I have continued to enjoy sharing in such celebrations throughout the years.
In UU congregations, we have members and friends who come to us from many different faith traditions. We draw upon these sources to inform our own acceptance and inclusion of the many beliefs in our communities of shared values. Therefore, congregation-wide events such as the First Church Seder …are another way to benefit from direct experience of another faith tradition.
…A Passover Seder is a retelling and celebration of the story of Exodus, and reminds us all of ongoing global struggles for freedom. This time-honored FCB ritual involves a simplified Haggadah (readings and blessings), explanation of the symbols and ritual, and traditional meal. All ages are involved in the readings and singing of traditional songs. This is a very kid-friendly and delicious event!