RE-flections: What do people in your church believe?

from Beryl Aschenberg, Director of Religious Education

As Unitarian Universalists, we are often asked to explain our beliefs and values to curious friends and family, and sometimes even to folks we don’t know that well. As difficult as this might be for adults, it is even more of a challenge to children. And believe me, even our littlest ones are asked this question on the school playground.

I love the litany of words used this summer during our Follen services from Laila Ibrahim, a UU from Berkeley, California. Her words speak to my heart. She summarizes Unitarian Universalist beliefs this way:

It’s a blessing you were born;
It matters what you do with your life;
What you know about god is a piece of the truth;
You do not have to do it alone.

This feels deeply right to me. How about you? I’d love to know how you would describe our faith. Our UU Principles are not only the foundational covenant of Unitarian Universalists, but also a fine way of explaining our beliefs. I find that I often hold them up as a yard stick for how I live out my faith. Many years ago, several UU religious educators came up with a pneumonic device to help young people remember the basic seven principles of Unitarian Universalism. “The Rainbow Path” takes each color of the rainbow, pulls out the first letter of the color, and assigns a phrase beginning with that letter that describes the idea of a UU Principle. This year I hope to explore this rainbow path with children at Follen. Ten years after I first worked with this concept, I still can recall the relation between colors and principles, so for at least one person, it has been an effective learning tool! I hope that you’ll find it helpful as well.

The Unitarian Universalist Rainbow Path (first introduced by Beth Brownfield, MN)

RED- Respect the importance and value of all people
ORANGE- Offer fair and kind treatment to all
YELLOW- Yearn to learn throughout life
GREEN- Grow by exploring ideas and values together
BLUE- Believe in yourself and your values, and vote for what concerns you
INDIGO- Insist on peace, freedom, and justice
VIOLET- Value and care for the earth and her creatures