Religious Education: July 2, 2021 - Surveys, Registration, Fall Overview
Religious Education & Faith Development Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains July 2, 2021
2021-2022 Religious Education Theme:
Community, Wholeness, and Discovering Our New Normal
The RE Council is working on plans for fall as we transition back into our building. Initial information is below. It will help us to know your thoughts and plans.
Your responses to the survey for RE volunteers (below) and the congregational survey with specific questions for RE families (coming mid-July) are important as we continue planning our building reopening, classes, and activities. We also ask that all families submit a new RE registration using the link below. Thank you!
Gratitude for Lyra
Please join us in gratitude for Lyra Harada, who has served as Children's Music Coordinator at CUUC since the fall of 2017. Throughout her time with us, she brought creativity, music, and joy to children and youth in R.E. We have appreciated her talent as a musician, her resourcefulness as a teacher, and her warmth as a person. Read more about Lyra's service to the CUUC community HERE.
RE Registration Available NOW
We ask all families to please submit a new RE registration to assist us in planning classes and activities for 2021-2022. We appreciate you completing the registration form as soon as possible. Click here for the registration form.
Survey for RE Volunteers Available NOW
We are deeply grateful to our many volunteers for your commitment to RE ministry. You make it all possible!
As we plan for the coming year in RE, it will help us to know who will be available to volunteer, your interests, and your comfort level with various activities. This volunteer survey is separate from the congregational survey about reopening that all will receive mid-July since we need to collect contact information from volunteers while the mid-July congregational survey will be anonymous. Continuing and new volunteers, please click here for the survey.
There's still time to register for UU and local summer camps and activities. We compiled a list of online and in person opportunities for you in this Google doc .
Please watch for a survey going out to the whole congregation mid-July asking for your thoughts and needs related to a safe building reopening in September. There will be questions specifically for RE families. Your input is important! The congregational survey will be sent out mid-July in the e-Communitarian and RE newsletter.
The Religious Education (RE) theme for 2021-2022 is Community, Wholeness, and Discovering Our New Normal. Given current local trends, we anticipate being able to gather in person this September with safety measures to protect those in our community who are unable to receive a vaccine. Our reopening plan will center science and guidance from the CDC and local health officials.
We are eager for the familiar pre-pandemic community we hold dear. At the same time, we are returning as changed people affected by the pandemic in ways we may not yet understand. As a faith community we can hold all of this, reconnecting joyfully and safely as we learn how we have grown and changed over the past year and a half and what our needs are moving forward. Our community is a curriculum as we model what it looks like to hold all we bring with grace and understanding.
September and October We anticipate that people will return at their own pace this fall and even in the building might have different comfort levels for interaction. During September and October, we will be mostly outside and online. We are working on activities that highlight our beautiful and sacred grounds, discussions about spirituality whole families can participate in together, junior and senior youth groups, and children's play groups to name a few. Whole congregation worship services will include measures to protect those vulnerable in our community. The sanctuary activity area will be put away but individual activity boxes will be available. We will discuss childcare needs and options with PreK families.
November Conditions permitting, we will begin RE classes in November utilizing familiar curricula for K-12th graders, including Coming of Age for 8th-9th graders. There will also be a special program for COA mentors and other adults interested in an adult COA-type of class. Taking into account family input on the upcoming mid-July congregational survey, we may offer a mix of in person and online classes. We will not, however, attempt to hold activities where some children or youth participate in person and others remotely. The sanctuary activity area will reopen when it is safe to do so.
Online Activities Given the convenience of meeting online, we expect to continue offering some activities online. This may include a group for parents, activities for the whole family, and others. Again, your feedback on the upcoming mid-July congregational survey will inform our planning.
Future of Faith Formation
Before the pandemic, we were already exploring new directions in faith formation and religious education to better respond to changing family and community needs. Later this fall, we will resume our future-looking work. In my June 6th RE Sunday reflection, I highlighted some areas we will be discussing, including scheduling challenges as extracurricular activities are increasingly held Sunday mornings, more support needed for parents/caregivers and volunteers, new models of faith formation that resonate more in current times, and the critical role of the whole community.
Input from families will be important as we explore new schedules and ways to offer Religious Education. Input from the CUUC community will be important as we identify goals we can realistically support. We will create a short-term RE-Vision Advisory Group comprised of people from various communities in CUUC to support the RE Council in this work. The advisory group will meet 5-6 times over the year, offering diverse perspectives, and sharing and receiving information in the community as opportunities arise during coffee hour and other informal conversations. We are excited about this work and hope you will participate!