A Q & A With Robin Pugh About Religious Education during COVID

This month, CrossCurrents asked Director of Lifespan Faith Engagement, Robin Pugh, a few questions about Religious Education during the pandemic. Here’s what we learned.

Q: Can you describe the Religious Education (RE) programs for our children and young teens during this virtual time?

A: We are not seeing many families during our Sunday worship, but they are engaged with UUCWC virtually at other times. Rev. Kim and I are working collaboratively to create two programs in place of RE classes: Family Chalice Circles and “Tending the Flame”, a once a month UU Parenting class led by Rev. Kim and me based on a book of the same name. We are using this virtual church year to offer families a different and complimentary church experience to when we meet physically.

Family Chalice Circles are pods of two or three families with children of similar ages. They meet once or twice a month to do multigenerational UU learning and practice together. Rev. Kim and I are co-writing the curriculum. Some of the topics have been: the home chalice; the home covenant; healing; power; and the golden rule vs. the platinum rule.

For parents, Rev. Kim and I are co-teaching and writing a yearlong UU parenting class called “Tending the Flame”. I’ve been wanting to implement a UU parenting class for years, but it has taken the pandemic to bring it to fruition. This year, I have the time and parents have made the time because we are not doing in person RE. The class offers a much-needed opportunity for parents to meet and connect with each other (without their kids in tow), important tools for practicing UU at home, and time to relate to Rev. Kim as a parent and minister.

Q: What about our older teens? What are they doing?

A: Our teens are meeting online. Seven middle schoolers are in the twice monthly Junior Youth Group I lead. The goal of this group is to maintain relationships with church friends and have a place to share what is going on in their lives. We have a check in and play some fun games online.

Ten high school students are finishing the Our Whole Lives (OWL) class from last year virtually. I revised the last 5 lessons of OWL into 10 one-hour sessions of human sexuality. UUCWC members and RE volunteer teachers Barbara Jensen and Scott Drew are teaching the class twice a month until May. Parents are very thankful that we found a way to offer this class online so their teens could finish it this year.