Unitarian Universalism challenges us to put our beliefs into action. Our faith development programs for children and adults explore what those beliefs are and how they inform our actions. This year during Sunday worship (yes, worship is faith development) we have been inviting you to participate in Random Acts of Kindness and share your experiences on the last Sunday of the month during Time for All Ages. Engaging ourselves and others with kindness seems so simple, and yet, the simple can be overlooked in a world of busy-ness, political divisiveness, and social media distraction. The slip of paper with a suggested Random Act of Kindness that I picked up at service in January (you can still pick one up from the loom in the Sanctuary) is tucked in my agenda and serves as a reminder to get out of my head and my schedule, and be more present to others. It has helped me be more appreciative of family, friends, and co-workers as well as more attentive to others when I am out in the community. Exploring opportunities to surprise someone with an unexpected kindness can be fun.

Another way of putting our beliefs into action is by partnering with local organizations that engage in social justice work. On Sunday, April 7 at 3pm in partnership with Helpmate and Our Voice, we will be screening “The Mask You Live In.” This documentary follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating society’s definition of masculinity. The film explores how society can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men. There will be a facilitated discussion afterward. This is a very powerful and timely documentary whose screening is made possible through the generosity of a generous UUCA donor. Mark your calendar, and plan to join us.

Lastly, this month I have been working with our religious educators, Jen and Kim, planning next year’s children and youth programs. We are being intentional about integrating social justice projects into each grade level that are experiential and address racial justice and equity issues in a developmentally-appropriate way. Ideally, these projects will tie into social justice work being carried out by the adults in the congregation. If you are engaging in social justice work that you would like to share with our youth, please contact me.

Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development