A Gift and a Blessing: Teaching RE at People’s Church
Every week, at least a dozen dedicated People’s People take on the task of teaching our children and youth. It can be difficult work, but also so rewarding. Teachers get to know People’s children, build relationships with them, and become trusted adults for kids who are growing and learning the ways of our church community. Two of our teachers agreed to share some of those experiences.
From Dawn Chamberlain, who has been teaching for many years at many different grade levels:
I have been an RE teacher at People’s Church since 2009 and it has been my family’s church home longer than that! I am lucky to have the opportunity to see our three boys grow and develop into themselves with the support of People’s community. I have so enjoyed teaching many ages over the years. With younger children I have taught meditation and exposed them to nature based religious concepts. With our upper elementary aged children, we used the UU and Harry Potter curriculum to make potions for meditation practice! During middle school years we visited other churches and religions to explore beyond our walls. I have also participated in the high school coming of age ritual where People’s encourages youth to seek out their own beliefs and follow what feels most comfortable to them. No matter what, teaching at People’s provides a loving space for children, youth, and young adults to cherish the importance of listening during our roses and thorns/joys and sorrows experiences together and building a classroom community which becomes so much more. We weathered through virtual classes and an entire year with our classroom outdoors! Teaching also has helped me grow right along with the children which I will always treasure.
From Don Miller, who has been teaching and guiding our youth for many years:
I began teaching RE around the time Diane Melvin became director and she and I travelled together to Indiana for middle school OWL training. But I was probably a HS youth leader a little before that. Some of my more memorable experiences came in a trip taken with six youth, Rev. Jill and Beth Bullmer to England. I was one of the designated drivers” with my four passengers (of a car with a stick shift and managing that with the left hand). It was a rainy day and I was following Rev. Jill and had to slow down going up- hill on a steep curve. I stalled and every time I tried to let off the brake to use the clutch would roll back. A semi- truck was behind me and the driver became impatient and began honking – soon there was a string of cars behind us. It’s hard to say how many times I tried to get moving and finally figured I needed to straighten my wheels on the wet road to get traction but finally did. The youth chided me later over dinner about the colorful language I directed at the car and the truck and the wet road. And we all laughed! I suppose that was a good example of why I like teaching – finding oneself in discussions, life experiences with youth, being vulnerable feeling humble with them and realizing how important that is for them to witness in adults outside their families. It is a unique relationship of learning together I think and a gift and strength that our church has to offer.
Inspired? Want to experience some of the joy of teaching our kids this year? We still have some specialty class spaces available or you could offer to sub if a teacher is out one week. Contact Laura (firstname.lastname@example.org) to volunteer!
The RE Committee is here to help!
While Diane, our Director of Religious Education, is on sabbatical, t he RE committee and the RE assistant are working hard to keep our program running. We would welcome your help! We can always use teachers and specialty class leaders! Get in touch, volunteer, or ask us anything by emailing RE@peopleschurch.net