RE-Imagining RE for 2021-22
As with all things right now, Follen RE is moving forward in ways we’ve never done before. This fall, our church services and activities will be held outdoors or virtually as we navigate the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic and the virus variants. As we return to in-person programming, our focus will be on:
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Community building
- Spiritually grounding
We’re RE-Imagining Our Goals and Our Gatherings for the Fall
We will begin the church year with two Sundays of Multigenerational Worship services, meant to welcome back the whole church family to Follen. From September 24, 2021 through at least October 17, we’ll offer four groups meeting outdoors:
- Littles (Preschool-2nd grades)
- Middles (3-5th grades)
- Uppers (6 -8th grades)
Our primary goals for our time together during these weeks are:
- To establish a new group relationship between participants and with teachers
- To have fun!
- To explore the 7th principle of Unitarian Universalism “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Our 7th principle reflects our interconnectness with each other and our living planet, and a deepening of our love and appreciation for the same. We will spend time in our garden plots, by the pond, and in the Great Meadow behind the church.
- To stay safe!
What’s Next, Then?
Follen’s RE Action Team is planning to be flexible and adaptable as we serve your children in the months ahead. We want to offer your family a tangible sense of love and community support for these challenging times. Currently we are planning for Religious Education programming to take place indoors beginning in late October, with as much time spent outdoors as possible. Watch this webpage and the church’s electronic newsletter for updates as we re-evaluate conditions and new understandings in the fall.
We’re RE-Imagining How to Keep Our Young People’s Safe!
Here’s what we are doing to keep our children and youth as safe as possible at our church during the Covid 19 pandemic:
- Outdoor programming to start the church year
- All RE Volunteers will be required to have vaccinations
- Each class group will remain solely with their own cohort for the foreseeable future
- Masks will be required indoors by anyone over 2 years old for the foreseeable future
- Young people and volunteers will be invited to wear masks outdoors should they choose; no “mask shaming.”
- Multigenerational services outdoors will be socially distanced
- Hand Sanitizer dispensers will be installed in all classroom spaces and in the church hallways
- Portable air purifiers will be in every classroom space
- OWL and Coming of Age participants will be required to have vaccinations
- As always, our volunteers in the RE program are required to have a background check prior to their work with children and youth. These checks are repeated periodically to stay current.
If Your Child is Sick…
During the current Covid 19 Pandemic, we are asking families to follow the same guidelines used by the Lexington Public Schools for assessing whether or not a child should attend RE programs. Please monitor your child for symptoms such as: fever (100ºF or higher), dry cough and shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea. Even if you suspect that this is just a cold, we ask that you refrain from bringing your child to church until 24 hours after symptoms pass.
We want to support your family should you have a sick child or family member. Please contact our Director of Religious Education at Beryl.Aschenberg@follen.org
We’re RE-Imagining Youth Programming!
Follen Unitarian Universalist Youth, or “FUUY” (pronounced like “Phooey”) – The Senior High Youth Group will kick-off on Sunday, September 19 from 6:30-8:30pm, with an orientation offered for new participants and parents on Sunday, Sept. 12 following the church service. We’ll focus on group and community building as the youth explore the great outdoors around the church. Our teens need to connect (or reconnect) and have fun as they determine how their values as Unitarian Universalists fit into the way we live our lives during these unusual times!
More information to come as our Youth Advisory Committee meets in early September. General information about the FUUY Youth Program can be found HERE.
Coming of Age (COA) Program for 10th Graders – This important UU rite of passage program will begin with a Parent/Youth Orientation on October 17 after the service. Youth who sign up will have Mentors assigned later in the Fall, with COA meetings beginning on January 3, 2021. COA meetings will be held on the first and fourth Mondays in January-April 2022 from 6:30-8:30pm, and on the 1st and 3rd Mondays in May. The Coming of Age Service will be scheduled for Sunday, May 15 or 22.
For more information about the COA program, visit the COA Information Page HERE.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education for 8-9th Graders – We are now accepting registrations for the Fall start up of the Our Whole Lives class, which we hope to offer indoors on Sunday mornings from 10am-noon beginning on October 24. A mandatory orientation is required for parents of OWL participants. Please visit our Our Whole Lives information page HERE for general info and updated information about the 2021-22 plans for OWL.
Register your Children Today!
Parents – Be sure to register your children and teens NOW in order to give us time to prepare for their participation in our program! Remember- registration is not a hard and fast commitment for weekly attendance, but rather a show intention to be involved in Follen’s RE community as you feel safe and comfortable having your child participate. An early bird discount of $25 per child is available by registering them prior to August 25, 2021
We know the choices families are making right now are not easy. Thank you for continuing to engage in our community, however, you are able to right now. You’re all doing a spectacular job navigating through these challenges. Please know that Follen is here for you and yours!