The first big change is the name of our program. We have been making the shift from Religious Education to Religious Exploration for a while now, so it was time to make that change official. While there is still education involved, we feel that exploration more accurately reflects what we are doing in RE. We have learned over the last couple of years that flexibility and adaptability are key. We had hoped to begin RE in a more “normal” way this year, but the Delta variant put a stop to those plans in late August so we’re adapting and flexing our way to a program that we hope will lead to more community, commitment, and putting our values into practice.
So, what’s happening in RE this year?
For our K-8 groups, we’ll have a combination of online and in-person gatherings. We’ll be using the fabulous Soul Matters material for children and youth to keep exploring our monthly themes, our UU values, how to work towards liberation for ALL people, and hopefully keep connections going as we look forward to being able to be all together again on our beautiful campus. We have new, lovely outdoor spaces, and we’ve invested in outdoor furniture and shelters so that we can utilize those outdoor spaces as long as the weather cooperates. Make sure to register your kids for RE so you can receive up-to-date information about what we’re doing in RE.
We’re happy to bring back Coming of Age (CoA) this year for our 9th-10th graders. They have already begun their journey to look deeper into themselves and our UU community — to better understand and define their spiritual beliefs, how our liberal faith shapes their lives, and how to enact that in the world. These 10 youths are joined by their 4 group facilitators and 10 mentors, who are also more deeply exploring Unitarian Universalism alongside the CoA teens. The group is meeting in person (mostly outside) and are headed to their fall retreat at the YMCA campus in Black Mountain this weekend for some community building and UU exploration.
Note: in hopes of a youth trip while they’re still in high school, the families will be offering some modified “Soup Sundays – and other days!” Coming soon at the Third Thursday events, the Remembrance and Halloween celebration 10/31, and the UUAsheville Auction (11/6), watch for the announcements about how to get fed by and support our youth – and sometimes enjoy fellowship on the UUAsheville grounds too!
YRUU = Young Religious Unitarian Universalists, our high school youth group, will kick off their meet-ups this Sunday, October 3, at 11:00 outdoors on campus. We look forward to bringing our older teens together for some new and classic adventures and exploration:
- This fall we hope to get involved with the BeLoved Village homebuilding project to help combat housing insecurity in our community.
- We’ll explore our congregational themes to discover and deepen what is holy and sacred to us.
- We’ll cook together! We’ll provide food for our congregants in need and send care packages to our college students. We hope to learn bread- or bagel-making from Rev. Cathy!
- We’ll offer the high school version of Our Whole Lives (OWL) to foster healthy sexuality and relationships.
- We’ll take a “Hood Tour” with Hood Huggers to learn about the powerful and resilient history, present, and future of African Americans in Asheville. Info here.
- We look forward to bringing you the annual YRUU-led worship service in February.
- We’ll discover what it means to be a member of UUCA and invite youth to join.
- And we’ll play, laugh, converse, create…and so much more! We can’t wait to be together again and discover what we can do together.
Kim Collins, LRE Coordinator