Enter, Rejoice, and Come In

A Religious Education message from Gina

Dear Friends,

As the school year draws to a close and the summer awaits us, I look back at this past year’s Religious Education program and feel proud of the fun, engaging, and meaningful experiences we provided our families, children, and youth. That’s nearly 60 children from 40 families!

We made some structural changes to the program this year, designed to make our program more family-friendly, to better support our volunteers, and to foster opportunities for multi-generational connections.

RE classroom sessions were held two Sundays a month, which meant that volunteers were able to commit to teaching and were still able to attend worship services regularly. We also introduced some new curricula this year, which was popular with both teachers and kids. Perhaps the most popular was “Spirit Of Adventure,” a 4th & 5th grade curriculum that teaches UU identity through unique themes such as sports, medicine, architecture, science, and food. The curriculum includes active, exploratory play, such as running an obstacle course, tasting unusual foods, and dissecting a computer. It was so well received that we’ve decided to offer “Spirit of Adventure Part 2” this coming year.

Multi-generational services were held one Sunday each month. These services were intentionally created to include movement, visuals, music, stories, and messages to engage people of all ages. Most of these services were coordinated by Reverend Josh and me, along with support from Music Director, Mary Bopp. Members of the Sunday Services Committee are now beginning to collaborate with us on the planning, and I look forward to the possibility of lay led multi-gen services in the near future.

Another new offering was a monthly cooking program called “Cooking for a Cause,” in which a committed group of adult volunteers helped the kids to prepare a different recipe each month. Following the service the congregation was invited to come down to the Garden Level to purchase these culinary creations, and the proceeds were donated to charitable organizations chosen by the kids. This year we made pizza, chalice cookies, pretzels, gourmet popcorn, smoothies, and more. We raised over $600 and supported several different organizations, including The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, East Coast Assistance Dogs, Hartford Food System, Paws for Friendship, and UUS:E. The kids thoroughly enjoyed cooking and felt good about helping others. “Cooking for a Cause” allowed our children the opportunity to embrace and live out their UU Principles, and they had a blast doing it.

I am deeply grateful to the many dedicated volunteers who so generously shared their time, energy, and enthusiasm with our children and youth. You’ve heard it before, but it’s as true as it ever was—it really does take a village. To all of you who were a part of the village this past year, I thank you and hope you will continue to enrich the lives of our children. To those who are not yet a part of the village, I welcome you to join us next year. I encourage you to share your time and talents with us, not just because we need you—although we DO need you—but because I believe you will find that as you enrich the lives of our children, your own spirit will be enriched, as well.

Gina Campellone, Director of Religious EducationBe well and be loved,

Gina Campellone