Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

March is upon us, and for some that means beginning to think about our annual UU pilgrimage to General Assembly (GA)! This year it will be in Columbus, Ohio from June 22-26. Registration and housing reservations open on March 1st. As a democratically structured association, each congregation sends delegates to GA to do the business of the Association. FCB can send up to eight (8) delegates. If you are interested, contact the Parish Board.
     In addition, there are lots of opportunities to worship, witness, socialize and learn during GA. For example, maybe you’d like to sing in the GA choir. It’s quite exciting to be among the several thousands of UUs who come together for GA. (Anyone may attend; but only delegates vote on the business before the Assembly.)
     The theme for GA 2016 will be Heart Land: Where Faiths Connect. The faith world is increasingly multifaith. People are crossing borders of religion and spiritual practice to create wholeness in their lives individually and collectively. The labels — Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, theist and non-theist — no longer define who or what we love, or how spirit moves in our lives. General Assembly 2016 in Columbus Ohio will assemble leaders and communities of many faiths to worship together, learn from one another, and create a new vision of faith that no longer divides us, but connects us to an interdependent future that works for all (http://www.uua.org/ga).
     In my experience as a life-long UU, I have noticed that many UUs know and point to the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism. I have also noticed that religious education programs are apt to rely almost solely on the 7 Principles as a go-to for explaining who we are and what we believe, or what values we share given our embrace of pluralism, celebration of diversity, and striving to be radically inclusive. From my perspective, this leading with our principles can fall short of helping people — those who are among us in the congregation, as well as those who are not (but wish to know something of who we are and what we stand for) — understand some of the basics of Unitarian Universalism.
     The Seven Principles are part of a larger statement of what it means to be a UU that is in the by-laws of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA). There is a further paragraph that describes the sources upon which our living tradition draws. You can find the text in the front of the grey hymnals, Singing the Living Tradition. Open the book to hymn #1 and then turn back one page. There are two editions of the hymnals in the pews, 1985 and 1994. It is worth comparing the two editions because the number of sources increased from five to six. Look and see what was added to the 1994 edition. Here’s a link to the by-laws: www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/uua_bylaws_2015.pdf. Take a moment to read Article II, Section C-2.1. Principles. The second half lists our six sources.
     The Children’s Religious Education (CRE) program at FCB takes into account the sources of our living tradition. It is structured to specifically focus on sources three and four: “Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life” and “Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves” in two of the four pillars in the two-year rotation – World Religions (fall of year two) and Judeo-Christian Heritage (spring of year one). The other four sources make their way into the lessons throughout the curriculum when the children learn about exemplary people, examine what human beings have learned through scientific research, explore the world of nature, and experience rituals and spiritual practices from earth-centered traditions.
     Attending GA is a fabulous way to experience what it means to be UU at a whole new level. I hope you will plan to go at least once in your life-time.

Mark Your Calendars – Family Friendly Fun

  • 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: tinyurl.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 to sign-up: tinyurl.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: tinyurl.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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