Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

I grew up in a UU congregation in the Upper Midwest. For complicated reasons, I went to “Sunday School” only into the sixth grade; so I missed out on a UU history class, About Your Sexuality (AYS) and the experience of youth group – although I did go along on some LRY (Liberal Religious Youth) camping trips and other events that my older siblings went to because my mother was a parent-chaperone. I imagine that my life would have been different somehow if I’d continued to be involved with our local UU congregation, but I know that those six years of religious education profoundly shaped my life, what I am doing, and my reflections on how I might do things even better.
     In addition to my job at FCB, I am completing a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) unit at St. Vincent’s Catholic Hospital in Worcester this year. CPE is a professional development training in spiritual care or chaplaincy. Basically, it involves taking a small but diverse group of people who are interested in pastoral care, giving them hands-on experience in providing spiritual care to patients, loved ones and (medical) staff, and then reflecting on these experiences as a group in order to go deeper or do better next time.
     As difficult as it is to witness and accompany people who are in medical, emotional or spiritual crisis, sometimes it feels like the interpersonal group dynamics are even more challenging. As a UU, I am in the minority in terms of my religious beliefs. Add to that other aspects of myself that are still considered outside the norm in our 21st century culture and I seem very different to my CPE peer group. It’s easy to feel like an outsider in this system.
     But having been raised a UU, I respect people’s differences and I work always to make the circle wide, striving at all times to include others. Healthy groups, regardless of size, are those that can accept and appreciate difference. And so I draw the circle wider still.
     This is at the root of our religious education programming at First Church in Belmont. I wonder how you and your children or grandchildren are working to be agents of inclusivity in our world?
     The spring multigenerational worship service on March 13th has as its theme: “Celebrating Our Differences.” In this worship service we will hear some personal experiences with being different from others in some way, including ways that others are not aware of. We already have volunteers who will reflect on being different, however I am looking for 3-4 readers at each service to help with the Story for All Ages.
     That same day, the annual youth multigenerational event will take place from 12:30-2:30 pm. The event theme was selected by the youth. I hope you will mark your calendars and plan to attend “Transcending the Gender Binary: How to be an Ally and an Activist.”

Mark Your Calendars – Family Friendly Fun

  • Hootenanny on 2/24 at 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall. Bring an instrument and your voice to the circle for lots of fun singing your favorite songs. Sponsored by Adult Programs.
  • OWL 5/6 begins on 2/28. Children meet at 9 am in classroom (TBD). Mandatory parent-child orientation session follows from 10-11 am. Please register, if you haven’t already, by contacting fcbowl@gmail.com.
  • Parenting Concerns, 3/6 presented by Adult Programs between services from 10:15-11:00 am. FMI: contact Lillian Anderson.
  • Spring multigenerational worship service on 3/13. Readers needed. All FCB choirs sing this morning. Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins, turn clocks forward the night before.
  • “Transcending the Gender Binary: How to be an Ally and an Activist” – a Youth Programs multigenerational event on 3/13 in the Parish Hall from 12:30-2:30 pm. FMI: contact Julie Ennis.
  • Beyond Shelter annual “picnic” on 3/26 – FMI: please contact CRE or Patricia Garcia. This is Easter weekend.

CRE Volunteer Opportunities for All at FCB

  • Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line: http://uubelmont.org/coriandsori/.
  • Would your family like to lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday this year? CRE is coordinating this effort to involve families in this element of the worship service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. Click on this link to sign-up: com/chalicelighting. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
  • Non-parent teacher-volunteers are needed to assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 am each Sunday. You can easily sign-up for this volunteer opportunity here: com/sundaynursery. You will receive an e-mail reminder.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:

If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (www.uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12thgrade. All children must be registered for CRE.

~ Charlotte Lehmann, Acting Director of Children’s Religious Education

Office hours: Tues-Weds, 10am-6pm. E-mail: clehmann@uubelmont.org.

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