Enter, Rejoice, and Come In

A Religious Education Message from Gina

Friends,

We are about six weeks into the 2019 – 2020 Religious Education program, and we’re off to a great start! Sunday morning classes are in full swing, covenants have been created, and both children and adults are enjoying making new friends and re-connecting with old ones. Building strong community is every bit as important to our RE program as the curricula we use—in fact, I’d venture to say it’s even more important! That’s why the Religious Education Committee is committed to offering programming that provides opportunities for children to establish friendships and deepen connections to one another. It’s important to make sure that such opportunities are available to children of all ages, and not just limited to Sunday mornings!

Our High School Youth Group is larger and more active than it has been in many years, and while they spend a fair amount of time planning and organizing community service projects and fundraising activities, they also make it a priority to reserve some time to just have fun. You might find our high school youth watching the Twilight Zone, playing Dungeons & Dragons, eating taquitos, or taking a field trip to the Escape Room or the movie theater.

With the inception of Junior Youth Group three years ago, our middle school youth also have an opportunity to socialize outside of Sunday mornings. Youth in grades 6 – 8 meet monthly for team building games, discussions based on exploration of the Seven Principles, parties, and fun outings. In August the group had a pool party, and last month went to Sonny’s Place for a haunted hayride. Wildly popular right from the start, the Junior Youth Group continues to thrive.

New this year is Club UU, a social group for children in grades 1 – 5. This group meets the third Friday of each month, October – May from 6 – 8 PM to provide our elementary school-aged children an opportunity to spend time with their UU peers outside of Sunday mornings, and to help build a sense of community. The focus of the group is simple—play! Children are invited to bring toys and games from home, or to use what we have here at UUS:E. Adult volunteers are there to oversee and provide guidance as needed, but the goal is really to offer the time and space for child-directed, unstructured play—something kids get so little of these days. The group met for the first time last month and the kids were engaged in many different activities including jewelry making with Halloween beads, building with Legos, a silly guessing game, and some very cool battery operated bugs!

Play is important for adults, too! It might not involve Legos or toy bugs – or maybe it will. Whatever meets your definition of fun—a cup of tea with a friend, painting, journaling, gardening, shooting hoops—I encourage you to carve out some intentional time in your own busy schedule to do it. Not only does it model the value of downtime and self-care to your children, you will also be giving yourself the gift of some no doubt well-deserved fun.

Gina Campellone, Director of Religious Education

Be well & be loved,

Gina