Enter, Rejoice, and Come In

From the Outgoing Religious Education Chair

My first stint as Religious Education (RE) Co-Chair came in 2006-2007 when Vicki Merriam was the long-time Director of Religious Education (DRE). We had a somewhat different program then. At the tail end of Vicki’s tenure, April 2014, I volunteered again because I thought it was important to help guide the committee and the program through the transition. As you may recall, we established a Transition Team, which I also served on, and hired a UUA- affiliated consultant. We have come a long way in the past three years by taking some risks, remaining flexible and assessing what works and what does not. I don’t write this to pat myself on the back, rather to state in a beloved community such as ours, there is always the need for people to step up. When you get involved everyone benefits and you, the volunteer, can experience personal growth as a human being.

It was amazing to be part of the process which has landed us firmly where we are today. Sunday after Sunday reaffirms that we made a wonderful choice in hiring Gina Campellone as our DRE. Gina has expertly and lovingly put her vision into place and we are fortunate to have her. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her and witness her develop into a professional DRE. It has been an honor to serve as the Religious Education Committee chair these past three years. In that time the program has seen some significant changes.

Besides hiring Gina, we changed to a longer “school” year model, hired a Nursery Coordinator to offer consistency and organization to the nursery, and we offered more multi-generational services. On non-teaching Sundays the kids would gather together for Cooking for a Cause (last year) or to learn Spiritual Practices (this year).

Just recently we blended with the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) as we take a year to experilearn and figure out which path we want to take going forward and how best to serve the youth of our community. We also had a very new friend of UUS:E seek us out to serve on the committee. I’m appreciative of the time and effort the current and new committee members put into the program.

Although my interactions with teachers and the kids and youth is somewhat limited, I would also like to recognize them. We have inquisitive, compassionate children and youth who are receiving a top-notch liberal religious education. None of this would be possible if it were not for the teachers who give graciously of their time each Sunday.

Volunteers are always needed in different capacities in the RE program. Talk to someone on how to get involved. Even though I am the outgoing chair, I’m happy to meet new families or talk with prospective volunteers. Gina is of course around a lot and can provide more in-depth knowledge about our curriculum, programming and philosophy. Emmy Schultz is our newest employee and is a friendly face in RE that can answer your questions. If you haven’t met her yet, c’mon down to the garden level to say hello.

All my best for the continued success of the program.

Beth Corsa

Religious Education Chair