Clara Barton District
of Unitarian Universalist Congregations
Newsletter - April 2010
|If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you would like to receive it directly:||
by Deborah Levering|
"The faith formation of children is too hard for most of us as parents to do alone. The individual family is too small a unit. A larger We is necessary - families coming together in community."
(Dr. William J. Doherty, Unitarian Universalist, Marriage and Family Psychologist)
Unitarian Universalism is at a cultural crossroads. Are we, as a faith institution, relevant? Is our commitment to theological diversity, personal freedom, and justice making enough? It may be for those of us sitting in the pews on Sunday mornings. But, ironically, it may not be for our children and parents working hard in our religious education programs.
American families today live in a world encumbered by too much information, too many choices, and too little time together. Both the families in our midst, and potential seekers - those searching for a religious home - hope for support and affirmation for the push-me, pull-me, do, do, do craziness of their daily living.
While it is one of our great aspirations as Unitarian
Universalists to give hope and comfort to struggling people, the reality
is that we dismiss the children and youth from our midst regularly, and
soon after ask parents to join their children, as volunteers in RE.
Resources for Multigenerational Ministry|
|by Michelle RichardsA mother and
experienced religious educator, this author encourages a practical and
proactive approach to raising Unitarian Universalist children. The book
includes information about developmental stages, suggestions for
incorporating spiritual practices into family life, teaching the
Principles in age-appropriate ways, answering difficult questions on
religious matters and dealing with religious disagreements.
Tending the Flame:
The Art of Unitarian
through the UUA Bookstore here.]
Putting Religious Education in Its Place
website and blog
about religious education across the generations
Program Specialist for the Pacific Northwest District
Mass Bay District Invites CBD to its Spring Conference|
Using Social Media |
to Fuel Congregational Mission
May 1, 2010 - 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
First Parish Church of Weston
Facebook. Twitter. Websites. Flikr. Podcasts. YouTube.
array of social media is the cutting edge of communications in our 21st
century culture, especially for youth and young adults. And yet we
grapple with how to lasso this technology to serve the mission of our
Unitarian Universalist faith and the purpose of our congregations.
MBD's Spring Conference will introduce participants to a host of new
technology and expand our imagination about how to use social media to
support our faith. We'll identify and reflect on the potential and
limitations of social media to nurture spiritual depth, faith
development, and community building, and we'll explore the theological
and ethical implications of this media.
Click here for more information and schedule.
and leadership from Shelby Meyerhoff (UUA Public Witness Specialist) and
Peter Bowden (Ballou Channing District Growth Consultant), both experts
in new technology and its theological implications
- facilitated conversations for the following affinity groups:
- DREs and people working with
children and youth
- Lay leaders
| Multigenerational Ministry - continued from top
We do this from a place of best intentions. We want our children and youth to be religiously educated, well equipped to engage in spiritual discovery and discernment, to articulate their values, to understand and integrate the richness of diversity, to work for fairness and justice in the world, and to be just and peaceful people. The opportunity to do this has been realized, for the most part, through children and youth religious education programs. And these programs need volunteer staff to make them a reality, thus our plea for parent help.|
Here's the rub: there is a deep longing on the part of parents (and others) for their own faith formation, as well as support for their role as chief religious educators to their children. Families long for deep connections with other Unitarian Universalists both for themselves and their children.
A commitment to multigenerational wholeness may be an answer. Congregations with a commitment to multigenerational ministry are intentionally working to connect our people to the wisdom of other age groups and to help bridge the phases of our lives to the generations before and after us. We cannot easily access what the people who have gone before us have learned. We are losing that wisdom across all generations. Imagine parents sitting with others and talking about spirit, struggle, appreciation, love, and loss. Imagine an old-timer congregant, advanced in age, partnered with a young family or a young adult, just talking about life, just connecting through sharing stories of faith.
Faith communities may be the only places left in our society where multigenerational intention is still acceptable. Other than within our own families,where else can we find multi-generations sharing their stories, wisdom, perspective? It's counter cultural. Multigenerational community is essential congregational witness in a cultural storm.
I look forward to continuing to work with the good people of the Clara Barton District. I am hungry for your ideas and concern about how our faith communities can be relevant and vital for all UU, current and potential.