The Religious Education Year in Review

We have had a wonderful year in children’s RE.  Our program is growing. We have 117 children and youth, that is15 children more than last year. We have several classes that are bursting from the seams with over 15 registered children.

A lot of volunteers are needed to staff our cooperative growing program. This year we had 48 Religious Education volunteers. 23% do not have children in the program.

Thank you to all of the RE teachers. I see your commitment to passing our Unitarian Universalist Values to our children every week. You are the heart of the RE program.

This year I am excited to see our parents of young children moving in to leadership roles in the congregation.  Three of them will be on the board this year.  But with that move in to leadership, there is a cost to the RE program. Religious education is losing some good teachers.

I am asking our adults without children in the program to consider teaching 1 time per month.   This is for the whole congregation’s benefit.  I know that you want young people in leadership but you are taking them from the RE program.  We have a teacher training and I am happy to pair new teachers with a more experienced mentor.

Some highlights from last year

  1. Thank you for buying chili from the youth group. They were able to return to New York City on a service trip to work with and learn beside people who are experiencing homelessness and hunger.
  2. Our 5th and 6th graders completed intermediate Our Whole Lives (OWL). This is the first OWL where puberty and sexual intercourse is discussed. I thank the OWL teachers for answering every question placed in the anonymous question box.
  3. We welcomed Linda Hamberg, a professional childcare worker, to care for our youngest in the nursery and to offer professional babysit ting for congregational events, such as this annual meeting.
  4. In the last 3 years, my job has been shifting from spending 90% of my energy on children’s RE to spending more time thinking holistically about the whole congregation. I now spend about 35% of my energy on Adult religious education. (I am truly a Lifespan Director OF RE)
  5. I am thankful to the congregation for my RE Assistant, formerly Katie Seeley now Rachel Herman. Because of the work I am able to pass on to her, I have this time to expand my role to the whole congregation.
  6. In Adult RE this year, we were able to offer Beloved Conversations, Meditations on Race and Ethnicity to 57 congregants or 1/5 of the congregation this year. This is by far the largest number of participants in one congregation at one time in Beloved conversations’ history. I’ve been invited to speak during the general session at General Assembly (in front of thousands) to share the impact Beloved conversations has had on our congregations. To those that missed it, we will offer Beloved Conversations again in September.
  7. Under the leadership of Susan Colket, Adult RE  offered 5 different spiritual deepening programs to increasing numbers of members and friends. This year a record 207 adults participated in Adult RE offerings.   Coming up in the fall we will have two new programs: 1.) Coming of Age for adults which includes leading a Sunday service where you will read your credo or statement of belief and a weekend UU heritage trip to Boston, and  2.) a once per month discussion group based on the monthly theme.
  8. Lastly, I am completing my second year of a three-year term as Vice President of Continental LREDA, the professional organization for UU religious educators. It’s been a really interesting and exciting time to be on the Board as our association and denomination examines its plans for and takes the steps toward living into an antiracist, multicultural future.

Robin Pugh is ending her seventh year as UUCWC’s Director of Lifespan Religious Education.  She presented this report at the Annual Congregational Meeting on June 4, 2017.