We are excited to start the 2022-23 year with all of our Religious Exploration groups meeting in person this fall, starting Sunday, September 11. We have been imagining and planning a robust program with 4 different *OWL classes, a PreK and Kindergarten class, 2 groups for elementary aged children, a world religions class with field trips for middle grades, high school youth group, and (NEW!) some all ages – that’s ALL ages, young to elder – spiritual practice and religious exploration opportunities, and family ministry events! We are enthusiastic to try some new things with y’all this year and to host some vibrant, enriching, faith deepening and justice oriented experiences at UU Asheville.

Our goals this year are to develop in all of our children and youth a strong sense of UU identity, an understanding of our principles and sources, a sense of belonging and being held by our congregation, and the understanding of why it’s important to organize and act for the rights of all marginalized peoples. Our curricular choices reflect that, with our elementary choices coming from the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith curricula, as well as a new (to us) World Religions curriculum, Crossing Paths, from Soul Matters. Our YRUU (high school) youth group will explore a combination of youth group theme materials from Soul Matters, OWL, justice learning and projects, planning and executing our beloved YRUU worship service, some fun traditions and new experiences, and a summer youth trip.

*OWL = Our Whole Lives, a comprehensive, faith based sexuality education program that was largely and unfortunately suspended for 2 years due to the pandemic preventing consistent in person gatherings. (We did offer a virtual parent/caregiver support group and a few high school OWL sessions in person.) We know that it is important, lifesaving information and are dedicated to getting the curricula to as many children and youth as possible this year. We are able to offer OWL to 7th-9th graders (2 different year-long classes!), 4th/5th grade, and 10th-12th graders. Leading OWL requires an intensive offsite weekend training, and we are grateful to the volunteers committed to this valuable program.

Please register your children and youth to stay in the loop about all the happenings in RE and Family Ministry at UU Asheville. This also provides us with important information to best support your child(ren)/family.

Serve in Religious Exploration! Our children and youth need a village of caring adults to know them and to help guide their faith exploration. Kids thrive by growing up in a loving community of adults who pay attention, laugh, create, listen, play, teach and learn alongside them. Young adults to elders are encouraged to join our amazing team of volunteers; this is not just a job for parents. No expertise needed; open minds, loving hearts and helping hands are the name of the game. We will train and help you, and the lesson/game plans are provided! Will you join our younger generation and explore Unitarian Universalism with them? We’re especially seeking some more people to care for babies in the nursery, assist our PreK-K staff, and lead/assist in our elementary aged groups (younger and older elementary). It is transformative work that can nurture your own spirit. In order to sustain the program we envision and our families desire, we need your support! Please contact us — and come to the RE volunteer training this Saturday, August 27 (begins at 9:45 in Sandburg Hall).

Religious Exploration will launch on Sunday, September 11. On that date, we will happily return to our pre-pandemic ritual of everyone gathering together in the Sanctuary each Sunday for the chalice lighting, opening, music, and wisdom story. Children, youth, and RE volunteers will be sung out to their classes following that Time for All Ages.

Note: we will also have periodic 9:30 RE for all ages and 11:00 all ages worship. Watch for those announcements in the Weekly eNews.

Still have questions? Contact us! If your child is Nursery-8th grade, please email Kim. If your youth is in 9th-12th grade, please email Jen.

Jen Johnson and Kim Collins, Religious Educators