Our Commitment to Family Ministry Is Sacred

by Rev. Kim Wildszewski

As you know, this month we’ve had a transition in our Family Ministry program and are currently utilizing the long term skills and presence of Robin Pugh and the ongoing generosity of time and commitment from a small but mighty lay teacher team to fill in the gaps. As I said in my letter announcing this transition, the children, youth and families of UUCWC remain a high priority. I am excited about this next season for our congregation generally, and specifically for our Family Ministry.

Here are some things I want you to know and consider as we continue to navigate this transition:

Because we chose not to run religious education via Zoom during the pandemic, our program is about half the size that it was in 2019-2020. This means that we’ve been able to serve our families in only three classrooms for the last seven months: Pre-K/K, 1st-6th grades, and the 7th-8th grade Our Whole Lives. Our Youth Group meets off-site in a collaborative ministry with three other UU congregations.

Beginning in February all grades, except Pre-K/K, will begin their age appropriate Our Whole Lives curriculum. Even the parents are taking OWL in a monthly evening offering! This means we will go from hosting three classrooms to five each Sunday. It also means that a handful of volunteer teachers are taking on a huge responsibility through the spring. It is important to recognize their commitment to our children, and that they will be giving up their time in the sanctuary during these months.

You will also see fewer children in the sanctuary each week because 4th grade and older will begin each week in their classrooms. When you see these kids in the Crossings Room or out on the playground, stop and say hello to them! Congregational life is meant to be a rare, sacred, multigenerational life. That requires intentionality from all of us.

One more note on our current program: If you’ve ever considered offering your time to our children and the Faith Engagement program, we are seeking volunteers for our Pre-K/K classroom throughout the spring. This is a joyful space with eager learners and a plug and play curriculum. Before the pandemic, a significant number of our teachers included adults who were not actively parenting. Our youngest need, and deserve, an opportunity to learn from the whole village that has committed to them.

We’ve learned a lot about who we are and who we need in the Director of Family Ministry role. I’m grateful for this. And I know that whoever fills the role next will once again be welcomed into an incredibly strong, capable and visionary staff team, and a uniquely healthy, warm and ready congregation. Please share the job description within your circles. It’s not easy to fill a part time position in our neck of the woods!

Here’s to the next season of learning and growing together!

With gratitude,
Rev. Kim