You may have heard me say that even if your family is here every Sunday, the total amount of religious education we can provide at UUCA for children and youth is about 50 hours per year. In the big scheme of things, that’s a minuscule amount of faith development. We value faith formation but our modern lives don’t make it easy for many of us to engage on a daily basis; our time together on Sunday morning remains the primary site for our religious growth and exploration.
A disclaimer: we do know that faith identity gets “stickier” the more time we spend in teaching and learning and worship and covenant groups, so please feel free to increase the amount of time you are here, finding ways to plug in more for your whole family! With classes for all ages, social justice work, social/fellowship events and meaningful worship, we do have lots of opportunities to connect and grow in your faith here at church.
But for families in particular, the need to bringour faith home and apply it liberally, via a daily dose, is compelling. One of the new challenges that religious leaders are taking on is how to think outside the church walls, supporting a missional approach that encourages us to consider how to live out our UU identity and values 24/7/365: each hour, every day, all year.
One of the most exciting innovations in this area is something called “Full Week Faith” (read all about that here). This concept encourages RE leaders to curate and share content that is focused on “walking the talk” of our religious principles, so that the learning and living can go on after Sunday morning ends!
Here at UUCA, we offer a weekly RE newsletter, sent via email, that still shares pertinent information and activities and events–what is happening on Sunday morning, when the Children’s Choir is practicing, who we are learning about in our Spirit Play story, where the 7th graders went for a Buddhism field trip last week. But we have gone further in the last year, adding WHY and HOW to the resources shared in this communication. (By the way…miss something from the past or want to refer to it again? You can access our previous Enewsletters here on the UUCA website. Make it a resolution to read your news each week!)
This week, for example, we pull together resources for talking about religious tolerance, diversity, and conflict at home with children and youth.
Parents of Spirit Play children can read about the story of Francis David, a Unitarian hero who encouraged radical inclusivity in a time of religious strife, and explore the wondering questions with kids, helping to solidify and deepen their understanding of this piece of who we are as UUs: those who draw the circle bigger, inviting everyone in. The story itself and the wondering questions are linked in the newsletter, allowing you to continue the learning from this upcoming Sunday throughout the week.
Parents of older children and youth can reflect on the Francis Davis story, and go deeper: a link to a 30 Days episode called “Muslim in America,” following an evangelical Christian with little understanding for Islam as he lives, eats, prays, and grows with a Muslim family for a full month. Watching the episode together, then using the discussion guide for further conversation, can be a meaningful way to think about what your own family values are around religious pluralism, interfaith dialogue, and democracy.
We hope you enjoy and find useful the Taking It Home: Full Week Faith resources we will continue to develop and share. Living our faith is full-time work, and we need as much support as we can get, especially in orienting our children and youth toward how we are called to reflect faith values as Unitarian Universalists!