Joy Berry: Religious Education The 10,000-Foot View

JoyBerry-blog

The 10,000-foot view. It’s what makes an IMAX film of the Grand Canyon more breathtaking than walking it step-by-step, at ground level. It’s what helps us see the forest, and not just individual trees. It is very different from what I like to call the “in the trenches” perspective, where we solve problems, plan for the short-term, and manage the nitty-gritty. In the world of religious education, that’s where professionals spend most of their time. Emails, phone calls, calendaring, room reservations, meetings, permission slips, recruitment, committees, time sheets, staff management, more meetings, more emails, and lots of planning to make sure Sunday morning won’t flop.

It can be easy to keep my focus there – there is certainly plenty to be done, and it never really seems “finished” when I lock up the office at 23 Edwin and leave on Thursday afternoon for my Sabbath. The daily management and oversight of RE is an essential piece of a healthy ministry, and a big reason you have a professional religious educator. But without the 10,000-foot view, which might be called vision, we can get to the end of the event or the curriculum of the year and not have an idea of where to go next.

You trust me to manage the ground-level view. The Lifespan Religious Education program has an excellent committee and dedicated staff, and in collaboration with the UUCA staff team, ministers, and lay leadership, we do a pretty good job with RE.

But the 10,000-foot view? That perspective comes from the picture that develops when the wider faith community and leadership engage in meaningful dialogue on the big questions. Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? What are our shared values and dreams for the essential ministry of faith development? And how can we get there from here?

I hope you’ll join in this important conversation coming up soon. Songwriter Ani Difranco wrote “When I look down, I miss all the good stuff/And when I look up, I just trip over things.” Your vision is needed to help RE leadership navigate toward “the good stuff” you can see from the 10,000-foot view, while we continue to offer a program that runs smoothly on the ground.

Visioning for the Future: Lifespan Religious Education at UUCA

  • Friday, February 27, 5-8pm: It’s a Potluck History Party!! (Note: Long-time members needed here!) (RE C)
  • Saturday, February 28, 9am-3pm: On to the Future!! (RE C/S) Lunch provided with RSVP.

Please plan on attending this important opportunity to talk about the ministry of religious education and faith development at UUCA. During this time, we will share our knowledge of the history of religious education at UUCA and look to the future as we envision the program of faith formation we will work to create together. This work is covenantal in nature, and so we are inviting all who have an interest in religious education and faith formation to attend – lay leaders, board members, parents, elders, teachers, and youth are especially invited. Click here for more information.

Friday night, 5-8pm: Childcare will be provided. RSVP here (specify ages please).

Saturday, 9am-3pm: Childcare will be provided. RSVP here for lunch and/or childcare needs (specify ages please).

We hope you can come to one or both of these important events.