This year all the children and youth from kindergarten through high school will be exploring the Jewish and Christian scriptures from a Unitarian Universalist perspective in our religious education classes.
What this means is that rather than examining the bible as a literal truth, we recognize that the bible contains the stories of a people from a specific geographical region and historical time frame. All peoples all around the world told stories of their deities in an effort to make sense of the world and pass down the values and morals of the culture. As with many indigenous tribes, much of the bible began as oral stories for generations before they were recorded in writing and of course it was translated repeatedly in many languages.
Rather than affirming that the bible is the literal word of God, we recognize that humans have interpreted and reinterpreted these stories and texts to make sense of the world. Many church and world leaders have interpreted the scriptures to support political and power dynamics throughout history.
The bible is held up as the standard of right and wrong in our society. Throughout time it has been used as justification to condone slavery and war. Today it is used to justify sexism, withhold GLTBQ rights and support the building of walls. Yet Jesus’ teachings were radical instructions to love and care for one another.
The religious right regularly quotes and misquotes the bible to further their agenda. If religious liberals do not have basic biblical literacy and knowledge then we cannot counter their claims with our own perspectives and interpretations. The bible carries too much weight in Western society for us to disregard it. With more familiarity, there are many uplifting and inspiring stories and passages that we as UUs can learn from and appreciate.
I have spend much time this summer working with teams to prepare the K-7 and 8-12th grade curriculum. As a result, I have had many of my own biases and previously held understandings examined and challenged.
This curriculum pillar is often one of the least favorite by UU parents because many of us come with our own set of wounds and biases, but we aren’t doing our kids any favors by sending them out into this world with out a basic introduction of and background in some biblical Jewish and Christian teachings.
The K-7th graders will be exploring popular bible stories and figures as well as learn about how each of us can be more kind, courageous & compassionate people.
Our 8-9th graders will be mixing some lessons in biblical interpretation with overviews of both Judaism and Christianity as well as a study of the variations found in many of the denominations. This age group will enjoy some guest speakers from a some of these traditions.
The 10-12th graders will also have the opportunity to participate in monthly field trips to some Jewish and Christian houses of worship to meet folks who follow these paths and discover the depth and breadth of the variety of practices found in Judaism and Christianity.
My hope is that over the coming church year our children and youth will become more familiar with Judaism and Christianity and have some basic biblical literacy. At the same time I hope to inspire in them a strong sense of justice and the courage to speak and act out for those who are oppressed.
Blessed Be, Diane Melvin, Religious Education Director
Wonder, Kindness, Empathy and Compassion
Sundays thru September 2, 10:45 – Noon
Our summer religious education program is using various storybooks to help children learn about kindness and empathy for themselves and each other. The titles include We’re All Wonders, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and I’m Gonna Like Me.
Through fun games, crafts, songs, and outside activities, we are building community and deepening relationships with one another, as well as exploring the impact our words and actions have in the world.
While the activities may appeal most to elementary-aged kids, we often have tweens and teens join us. Led by Mary Kate Webster and Cary Betz Williams, much fun is had by all in these meaningful sessions.
The nursery is open for babies through preschoolers. Summer RE activities are held during the service time; please bring children to Room 9 before the service begins.
Bibles and Globes Needed
We need a couple of globes to place in classrooms and would love some bibles for students to use in RE this year. If you have some to donate or loan, please let Diane know at 375-3262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RE Teacher Orientation
Saturday Sept. 8, 1:00-4:30 PM
Thank you to everyone who agreed to teach Religious Education next year; please save the date in your calendar to attend the teacher training!