Creating a worship service (YRUU this Sunday) or credo (May 13 services) doesn’t emerge out of nowhere! Our now-teens have been building up to these services in all of their years of religious education.
Our Religious Education (RE) Program depends on more than 70 volunteers each year to implement this foundational work for our congregation. It takes many volunteer teachers every year to provide that consistent and compassionate presence; mentors to foster the growth of our Coming of Age youth; a dedicated RE Council; and people enacting the behind-the-scenes work (like cleaning closets and rooms, prepping materials, etc.). We are grateful for this year’s and past volunteers for what they have given to our RE kids. We also hear that the volunteers are appreciative of what RE has given them.
Here is what some of our teachers and parents have said about RE:
“I am happy that my children get to form relationships with a variety of adults in this intergenerational community — not only with the parents of their peers but with the elders in our community as well.” — RE Parent
“t is as much a learning experience for the teachers as the kids–and it’s fun! And the kids are awesome. ” — 6th-8th Grade Neighboring Faiths Teacher
“As an older person, I enjoyed getting to know this age group. I was impressed by how bright, thoughtful and articulate they can be. Visiting the different faith communities and learning about them was a great learning experience for me.” — 6th-8th Grade Neighboring Faiths Teacher
“Without RE volunteers and without RE classes, our children would be lacking in meaningful faith development. We owe them this investment as the future leaders of this world!” — Parent and RE Teacher
“Working on an RE team with other congregation members allows you to form new relationships in this large community.…” — RE teacher
“This year has been special. Asked to teach RE, we said yes and I’m so glad we did. We’ve been blessed with an intelligent, thoughtful, curious group of youth to learn from. We’ve also worked with three amazing co-teachers who have become new friends we look forward to seeing at coffee hour.” — RE teacher
(I have volunteered for years…)”During most of that time, I thought I was volunteering as an expression of my spiritual journey. Well, yes, it was that, but I began to realize that more importantly, I was discovering my spiritual community, and to my surprise it included 15-year-olds…. Are you ready to receive the gifts that our young people have to give you? But be prepared to have it be a life-changing experience, both for you and for them.” — Coming of Age teacher
“I have seen children connect faith ideas to their everyday lives; ask the big questions in a safe space; be silly and have fun together; form new friendships and connections in a large community; learn from other perspectives;, and enjoy lots of food together! There is value in taking time to slow down; to learn, reflect, and question together.” — 4th grade RE Teacher
Now it’s your turn. We want YOU to be involved in RE! What will YOU say after volunteering? How will it transform you? We are asking each of you to join us for Religious Education in 2018-19. You may ask, “But how? What will I do? How much of a commitment is it?” Let us fill you in, because we know there are some myths and questions about volunteering in RE.
Kim Collins and Jen Johnson, Lifespan Religious Education Coordinators