Religious Education

Halloween prep during my internship at the Unitarian Society of Geneva, Illinois

Religious education is more than teaching young church goers the basics of our religious traditions and thought. It’s about fostering a sense of community that will help them claim a religious or spiritual identity for themselves. Congregations lose about half of their youth as they enter high school, and those who do continue through our high school programs are seldom retained beyond graduation. Solid curriculum adoption, development, and implementation are essential to a healthy religious education program, and more important is the community around which that learning is engaged. We need more 20- and 30-somethings in our congregations, and wooing them can no longer begin in their high school years, or as part of the “bridging” process, as I’ve too often seen. Fostering lifelong members begins from the moment a young person enters our community.

The Jr High group I was privileged to lead in 2005

Adult religious education is an important part of any program. As many seekers come through our doors with a genuine need to learn and grow intellectually, this is a real part of our ministry. Our progressive religious traditions are sometimes very intellectual, and if we choose together to strike a balance in our worship life between a more embodied spirituality and academic exploration, our adult education programs become even more important for our ongoing spiritual development and intellectual nourishment.

Here are some of my other favorite pictures working with youth:

Peace protest with Unity Temple youth group in Madison, Wisconsin, 2005.

After church at UCE one Sunday

An Air Force young adult group I took to Yosemite

Japan was a great place to take young adults snorkeling!

Leading the “story for all ages” at Regional Assembly in 2017

Using puppets and projections for the “story for all ages”