Joy Berry: Come Grow with Us in Religious Education

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School has started back up, and RE classes are not far behind. I’ve spent the last several months telling you about wonderful things going on in our program.

  • You may have heard about our cutting edge Makerspace Program, featured on numerous UUA pages… or the Little Free Library our kids are dedicating soon…or sampled delicious food harvested from the container garden our kids created (with help from our kid-constructed vermiculture farm!) UUCA is being talked about nationally as an RE program that is trying new approaches that work for kids, youth, and families.
  • You might be as excited as I am to hear about UUCA’s FIRST EVER multigenerational Sunday morning classes, where parents can learn with their own children (or without!) and elders and young adults and youth can explore together with a class on Miracles (from a UU perspective), in our brand new All Ages classroom.
  • You might think that our extensive renovations in RE reflect a passion to look as progressive and open-hearted and hip as our program really is, and want to enjoy more time in such a cool space. Plenty of adults tell me they’d like to just stay in our Contemplation Center indefinitely.
  • You might know that being a part of a teaching team means a special kind of spiritual growth.

After a year of progress, change, renovation, and making our classes reflect and amplify our church’s mission, we are still missing something… YOU.

I spend lots of time asking parents to help in RE. We have a FREE but cooperative program, so each family is expected to volunteer in some way each year. Most do so in the classroom but others choose to help out with tasks that can happen throughout the week, or for special events or hospitality, or on vision teams that have taken the place of our RE committee.

So I have LOTS of thirty-something parents leading and assisting and mentoring and visioning. In other words, the people who teach and lead our kids MOSTLY look a lot like their parents. Frankly, we need greater diversity of age (and every other kind!) in our RE programming.

The wisdom and experience and patience and spiritual maturity that comes with age (for most!) is priceless. The need children and youth have for elders as mentors is immense, especially in a culture where few of them live near their extended families, so that grand-uncles and grand-aunts and grandparents can be close enough to talk, and share, and listen, and teach our youth.

Perhaps your own children have grown up and out of RE and you want to build your skills for grandchildren that are surely on the way. Perhaps you don’t have children of your own but want to connect and serve and grow in your own faith development, as you teach (and learn) with kids. Perhaps you want to see for yourself why our RE program is getting rave reviews from kids and parents and becoming known as a space where new approaches to RE are working. Perhaps you just want to hang out in the amazing Contemplation Center and help children learn healthy spiritual habits in a strangely quiet yet full of children space.

Want to help out once a month with young children, storytelling or assisting as part of the Contemplation, Drama, Music & Movement, or Makerspace centers, or the new Nature classroom?

Want to dig deeper with a team, volunteering twice a month to lead a multigenerational class at 9:15 or a 4th-9th grade class at 11:15? Here is a rundown of our most pressing needs:

9:15 and 11:15: Spirit Play Storytellers and Activity Center helpers needed. This radical approach to religious education uses storytelling and a vast trust in the child’s ability to apprehend, question, and process BIG IDEAS through active listening to stories that reflect our principles and hands-on engagement with play and work in our activity centers. This is unlike RE as you’ve ever seen it! Storytellers and helpers agree to be with us eight times each year and work within a team to rotate Sundays. If you can volunteer once or twice a month, this is the job for you!

11:15 am 6th grade: “Riddle and Mystery” and supplemental curriculum of “The Gospel According To the Simpsons.” Two more teachers needed to lead/assist in 14 sessions ​(twice a month) ​with team during the fall and spring.

11:15 am 7th grade: “Amazing Grace” and supplemental curriculum of Morgan Spurlock’s “30 Days.” Two more teachers needed to lead/assist in 14 sessions (twice a month)​ with team during the fall and spring.

9:15 am “Miracles” Multigenerational (MG) class – second graders through adult. FALL semester. We need four teachers able to lead twice a month.

Consider becoming involved by leading one of these classes. It is a great way to deepen your faith as well as connect and journey with others at UUCA.

Email Joy Berry, the Director of Lifespan Religious Education at dlre@uuasheville.org. Let’s talk!