Re-Imagine Religious Education

Posted on August 11, 2021
Category: Faith Formation
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GOAL $4,700 Second Unitarian Church of Omaha wants to bring to life a vision of religious education that is more effective and sustainable.
Second Unitarian Church Created 1 Project
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“If we are to bring the the love and grace of this faith to our families’ lives, we must intentionally support the faith formation of children and adults.”

–  Kimberly Sweeney, The Death of Sunday School

A “ReVision “team was formed in March 2020 at Second Unitarian Church in Omaha, Nebraska with the goal to reimagine religious education.

  • The traditional model of Sunday School is labor intensive and ineffective –  only 12% of our UU youth remain UUs.
  • Many churches (including Second Unitarian) are finding Sunday School unsustainable in our present culture.

It has long been recognized that parents and families play a significant role in faith development. Faith formation is a life long journey.

Photo of a 1960s style church interior with a congregation standing and singing. Many are holding flowers PreCOVID Flower Communion Worship in our sanctuary.

  •  Children (and adults!) need rituals. Rituals help us to find comfort and wisdom in the celebration of our faith and the ups and downs of life. Rituals help us to celebrate who we are as Unitarian Universalists.
  • We all need a Beloved Community where we ‘belong,’ and a community of good role models in life. We also need special time with our UU peers of similar age
  • There is a strong need for intentional ministry to young families, for their sake as well as for the future of our church. 
  • Beloved Community encompasses all ages and abilities. 

“Faith development is all we do. Unitarian Universalism is the faith we teach. The congregation is the curriculum.”

religious educator Connie Goodbread

The vision – what we expect religious education in action to look like

A screen capture of the Soul Matters website We desire to connect all ages to a cohesive faith message.

  • Supporting faith development in the home
  • The monthly Soul Matters themes will be used in worship and supplemental curricula
  • Children and adults of all abilities will be welcomed as part of the Beloved Community in worship on three out of four Sundays
  • On the last Friday of the month, September – May, we will have an evening meal and short vespers service, followed by related activity options to close out the worship theme for the month. This is intended to be for all ages, and it is especially intended to be parent friendly.
  • Children will be welcomed to participate in Social Justice causes to live their faith and be with role models that demonstrate living our faith.4 individuals socially distanced standing outside our church building with a Black Lives Banner behind them We are active in social justice causes: we want to give our children and youth more oppotunities to be involved.
  • There will be a variety of faith formation opportunities for adults.
  • The DRE will be involved in overseeing religious education for all ages, including adult programming.
  • Teen Ministry will consist of YRUU, teen/adult groups such as a “Popcorn Theology” movie discussion or book discussions, and Coming of Age programming culminating in a service where teens have an opportunity to share their Credo statements.
  •  Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality classes will be offered periodically for the different age ranges K-adult.A screen capture of the OWL page on the UUA website We want more regular OWL programming for all ages to serve our community.
  • Vacation Summer Camp could be offered with an emphasis on the history of our faith with lots of play, acting out of the stories and fun activities

Religious education happens when people in our church listen, value and encourage us toward our better selves. In order for Second Unitarian to carry out these inspirational goals, we need the guidance and support of our very gifted Director of Religious Education. We want to increase her hours to provide faith formation, Support ReVision, and coordinate childcare. To do so fairly and to adhere to suggested UUA salary guidelines, we would need to raise $4700.00.

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