Last Sunday, after I had made my rounds to religious education classrooms to check in on folks, I was working in my office when a bunch of small people appeared at the door. It was the PreK/K class along with their leaders, Paula Jaraush, Kristina Robinson, and Tuna Chatterjee. They are engaged in a curriculum called “Chalice Children,” (written by Katie Covey and Pat Kahn) which not only introduces them to each other and to classroom religious education and the basics of Unitarian Universalist belief – but also helps them to understand what church is and how it functions and what happens inside our buildings and inside our heads and hearts.
The children were taking a tour around the church. Into my office they came, to see the books on the shelves (which included some of their favorite stories), the videos, the Harry Potter magic wand on my table. Some of them may have spied the basked of beanie babies and ponies that live under the table too. We talked about what happens in this office…what it means to plan for religious education. I told them that if they came back, I’d love to read a story with them and then, they then went down the hall.
They saw Rev. Claire’s office and understood that she was in worship, but that at other times, she was in her office talking to people, thinking about worship and what we should learn about as a faith community. They were very interested in the images on the wall and the model that showed all the changes that would occur to the church building over time…exciting changes that would give them different spaces to learn and explore in.
Religious education is about learning and discovering and wondering, at many different levels. The 1st and 2nd grade actually have a Wonder Box that they use in their classes, to puzzle out questions or delve into mysteries around learning about our beliefs. The OWL class for 8th graders has a Question Box with a similar goal – to help answer concerns around sexuality education. And the New Unitarian Universalist – an adult learning opportunity that Rev. Susanne is facilitating – affords similar opportunities for adults who want to know more about Unitarian Universalism and our beliefs.
We are all Chalice Children in some sense…exploring our beliefs, discovering what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist, and working to understand how we live into our faith. Let’s continue to explore together, by engaging in this learning community in the spirit of love and wonder.
Deborah Weiner, Interim Director of Religious Education