Lifespan Religious Education News
Molly Nolan, (Acting) Director of Religious Education
Children and Youth RE
This year's church school Tapestry of Faith (ToF) curricula do not include two great features of ToF programs, "Taking it Home" and "Learn More About It." These are enrichment components to help families further explore the messages from the Sunday school lessons. We are creating our own Take It Home and Learn More About It pieces. At the end of each class, the children are given Take It Home with info from the day's class and some ideas for discussion on the ride home, over dinner, when talking about what went on in Sunday school, etc. Learn More About It is emailed to parents on Sunday afternoon. Whenever possible it will include links to other sites so families can explore the stories and the story context from the day's class. When we have a special event as part of the Sunday school day, we'll have a modified Take It Home and /or Learn More About It. Material for all classes or events will be included in all the enrichment pieces we create. There are suggestions for adult readers as well.
Molly B. Nolan, Acting DRE
Silly Rabbit . . . religious education is not just for kids . . . learn about our Adult Religious Education programs HERE.
CYRE UPDATE - January 2013
Depending on which holidays of the season you observe, the actual December-January holiday can be one or seven or eight or twelve or up to twenty-eight days long. With all the spiritual and secular preparation that can be involved, it seems a waste to focus all that effort on only one day. With a longer period of observance, the chances for greater reflection on the themes of the holy day(s) and deepening of understandings are probably better. People often remark that they wish we would always be as kind and thoughtful and generous as many of us strive to be, especially in this season of lights. As the twelve days of Christmas conclude in most traditions on January 5th or 6th, the benefit of longer holy days, of sustained focus, are clearer than ever to me.
After the events in Sandy Hook on December14th, many people have tried to find ways to honor the slain children and teachers. NBC news reporter Ann Curry tweeted an idea that has caught on, “26 Acts of Kindness”:
As the denomination of “deeds not creeds” our acts of kindness can include support and advocacy for comprehensive gun control and access to mental health services. Focus over a period of time can help us all be more creative in how we express kindness. Curry's “26 Acts of Kindness” is a good option for children and something families can do together.
And other opportunities for sustained focus on the power of love to change our world are on the horizon. Have you ever wondered about the big yellow sign on the front of the meetinghouse? The banner is part of the Standing on the Side of Love (SOSL) Campaign. From the SOSL web site, “The Side of Love Campaign was inspired by the 2008 shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, which was targeted because they are welcoming to LGBTQ people and take a liberal stance on many issues. The Knoxville community responded with an outpouring of love that inspired the leadership at the Unitarian Universalist Association to launch our campaign in 2009, with the goal of harnessing love’s power to challenge exclusion, oppression, and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, race, religion, or any other identity.
In 2010, we began the tradition of re-imagining Valentine’s Day as a social justice holiday. This event has evolved into the “Thirty Days of Love“-a month-long spiritual journey and commitment to sustained action and service.” (http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/about/)
The “Thirty Days of Love” effort begins on January 19th and concludes on Valentine’s Day. Every day there are suggestions for action and reflection. In the last two years there have been fewer ideas offered for children and families than for individuals and congregations. Using the suggestions from past years and building on the themes the “Thirty Days of Love” will roll out this year, we will include ideas for the week in the “Find Out More” email that goes to all parents, CYRE teachers and committee on Sunday afternoons. And we will work ideas from the “Thirty Days of Love” into the regularly scheduled Sunday school classes.
There is a sad symmetry in the origins of Standing on the Side of Love Campaign and the “Thirty Days of Love” and the period we find ourselves in now. Let’s use the outrage at the continuing gun violence in our country to expand our understandings of loving kindness and work to bring the power of love to create the world we dream about for ourselves and our children.