Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

Based on the feedback I have received from so many of you, the spring multigenerational worship service — “Celebrating Our Differences” — was meaningful and inspiring. The music was terrific and a wonderful blending of younger and older voices in songs of praise, spring themes, and celebration of the diversity of life forms on our Mother Earth. The personal reflections by Ian Garvie, Ellie Somers and Andrea Prestwich revealed how often our differences are hidden, not readily visible to those around us. The story “George Wants a Dress” reminded everyone that our identities, too, are complex with internal aspects that even our families may need to learn to accept. Many thanks to Stephen Burt for helping me tell that story, and also to Jeanne and Michelle Johnson for leading us at 11 a.m. in the responsive reading, an adaptation of Sophia Lyon Fahs’ piece “It Matters What We Believe.”
     One of the things that made this worship service so effective is that personal stories were shared as a part of it. When we share the stories of our lives, the challenges and the successes, we connect with each other in deeply meaningful ways. Why? Because we make ourselves vulnerable to the person(s) who is listening to us. And as the hearer listens and connects with our stories, they restore our humanity. The process of story-telling is one of communion. We nurture each other and feed each others souls through the acts of speaking and listening. But this only happens when we speak from a place of honesty and integrity. Defensive, angry or hate-filled speech does not produce the openness to learning, the deep connection or the healing balm that sharing stories does.
     A dozen years ago, I participated in a program of “community conversations” between Somali Muslim immigrants and white, non-Muslim, often Catholic Franco-American, residents of Lewiston, Maine. The idea behind the program was to share stories about our experiences around themes such as religious rituals, family-life, and personal values. By sharing personal stories with each other, we got to know each other and what it was like to be who we are in the context of the culture we were raised in. In so doing, barriers such as walls of misunderstanding or misinformation were dismantled and relationships were formed. The “We” became bigger as we recognized ourselves in the person we were talking to or noticed that we could relate to their experiences despite the obvious external differences of race, class, religion, ethnicity, sex and gender, physical and intellectual abilities, etc.
     Connecting with each other is a powerful antidote to the fear and anger being whipped up by the political process in our nation. Take some time to get to know your neighbors better as Spring lures us outside our homes to enjoy fresh air, sunshine and the renewal of life’s energy.

     Happy Easter!

 

Mark Your Calendars – Family Friendly Fun

  • Beyond Shelter annual “picnic” on 3/26 – FMI: please contact CRE or Patricia Garcia. This is Easter weekend.
  • Stand Up rally on March 29th on the Belmont Town Green – FMI: please contact Donna Ruvolo. If you are concerned about the level of violent rhetoric that is making its way into how children are treating each other, please put these on your calendar.
  • Forty to None Day, April 27th. According to True Colors, “approximately 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), yet LGBT young people make up less than 7% of the general youth population.” The goal of True Colors is to reduce the disproportionate percentage from 40% to none (https://truecolorsfund.org/40tononeday/). If you are interested in helping to organize an event at FCB, contact Jess Hicks.

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.

Posted in Charlotte