Religious Education News

Has it been four years already?!

Mission Statement: We, the Religious Education Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society: East, will provide a multifaceted program for our young people, which promotes personal religious growth and exploration, and incorporates Unitarian Universalist ideals. We will integrate children, youth and families into the life of UUS:E by educating the congregation and its leadership about the needs of RE volunteers, parents, and children, and encouraging both parents and non-parenting adults of the congregation to seek opportunities for involvement and leadership.

Wow, what a year. This year my time chairing the Religious Education committee comes to an end and it has been a different sort of a year to say the least. Last spring our social lives as we knew them came to a screeching halt when we were hit with a worldwide pandemic. We were faced with a “new normal” of social distance and mask wearing. UUS:E went virtual, which did not include many of the things I’ve loved about our community in past years. I found myself nostalgic, reminiscing about some of my favorite things at UUS:E: Our traditional Homecoming service, Trunk or Treat and the Haunted Hallway, Holiday Caroling, delicious treats on Cooking for a Cause Sundays, games and ice cream socials, and the list goes on. Instead of a busy year of activities and events at UUS:E we were challenged to stay away and carry on from afar.

To do this the RE Committee has pushed the limits of our imaginations over the past year to find ways to connect without actually being together. Families had the opportunity to pick up activity kits for home and some also had fun making and exchanging homemade Holiday cards via the good old U.S. Postal system. We even had a sleep over with stuffed animals standing in for their respective kids! For the most part though, Religious Education at UUS:E relied heavily on using technology to maintain connections. Thank goodness for technology, by the way! (I often have to remind myself to be glad for it when I’m frustrated with frozen screens, dropped calls, and losing internet connections.) RE classes and groups have streamed all kinds of videos from cartoon shorts to documentaries in order to spark discussion and inspire activities to do at home. Our kids have also been watching movies “together”, playing digital games online and running through our houses to find items for virtual scavenger hunts. Families and children have answered Gina’s calls for artwork, readings, and musical performances—all in the form of digital photos or videos. At times we grew tired of having to function at a distance in this new virtual way, but we were determined to stay connected, so we did it. Now it is starting to look like we can go back to being together again one of these days soon(ish?) and I hope we find a way to have the best of both our in-person and virtual worlds!

Serving on the RE committee has been an honor and a pleasure. As with every important phase in my life I look back and wonder how it could have gone by so quickly. I am truly grateful for all of the many wonderful times and memories.

 

Thank You.

Tammy Stolzman

Religious Education Chair