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Religious Exploration

Vision Statement

 We, the Religious Education Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lower Bucks, envision our focus on spirituality to incorporate what is Unitarian Universalism in the spirit of guidance and with time for reflection, while having the freedom to question.
We want our children to feel excited about being in an environment of love and support, while experiencing friendship and respect, in an exceptional Unitarian Universalist community that models shared values in the context of emotional, psychological and physical safety.

 Goals 

The young people of the UU Fellowship of Lower Bucks will:

  1. Understand the seven UU principles, and be able to incorporate them in their daily lives;

  2. Be able to understand and explain Unitarian Universalism, both as it has been historically, and as it is today in our congregations and as a larger movement;

  3. Explore the world’s religions, in an effort to become effective and respectful partners in dialogue;

  4. Learn to put faith into action through social service and social justice opportunities;

  5. Cultivate deep self-knowledge and self-worth in an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement; 

  6. Develop a lifelong eagerness to learn, with open minds and open hearts;

  7. Experience the joy of belonging to a welcoming multigenerational religious community that can become a deep-rooted spiritual home.

Mission Statement

UUFLB will provide relevant lifespan Religious Education in a nurturing and accepting environment. We commit to helping our children build a spiritual foundation that embraces diversity of thought, and encourages faith in action based on our shared values and Unitarian Universalist principles. We will expand their horizons by teaching them our UU heritage, as well as exploring other world religions and their development. By participating in social action projects, and focusing on peaceful interactions, we will encourage our children to find their place in the world and foster their individual Unitarian Universalist identity. We accept this mission fully respecting our privilege to guide our youth in releasing their talents, gifts and creativity.

A Message from Our Director of Religious Exploration

Welcome to the 2020-2021 Religious Exploration (R.E.) program at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lower Bucks. We are glad you are here, and excited for an enriching RE year. Visitors are always welcome to join in our programs, and we are glad that you are considering our congregation as a religious home for your family. As all sessions will be held online until further notice, if you are a visitor and not registeresd for R.E, you must first contact the Director of Religious Exploration, Angela Konin, to arrange your family's R.E. visit (dre@uuflb.org). 

 

A Unitarian Universalist (UU) education is about growing in the context of a supportive and affirming community. As UUs, we believe that there are many paths to the truth. We know that each person has a right to a free and responsible search for meaning, and we strive to support our young people as they begin that search for themselves.

 

A UU education allows young people to form a strong UU identity, developing a sense of value and appreciation for the unique heritage of our liberal religious movement as well as the diversity of the world’s faith traditions.

 

Our R.E. program nurtures an environment of inquiry and respect, in which children are free to explore religious ideas and deepen their own spiritual lives. We foster a sense of responsibility for building a better world by modeling values of justice, compassion, and peacefulness. Participants in our program are encouraged to challenge accepted ideas, as they arrive at their own answers to life’s most perplexing questions.

 

Our carefully planned curriculum involves youth in meaningful opportunities for reflection and discussion, worship with our multigenerational community, and social opportunities which can foster lifelong friendships. Additionally we offer opportunities to turn faith into action through regular social justice projects and community events. Through these experiences, our young people grow in wisdom and understanding, and form a set of values that will provide a foundation for living a life of intention and compassion.

 

Our community is committed to accommodate all those who come seeking a place to belong and be accepted, and you are welcome here.

 

Angela Konin

Director of Religious Exploration

Angela Konin.png

Angela Konin - Director of Religious Exploration UUFLB

Link for more info on Angela.

Religious Exploration for Children and Youth 2020-2021

Registration

If you intend to participate in R.E., please complete the registration form here. 

 

You are welcome to attend as a visitor; because all of our programming is online for the time being, please contact DRE Angela Konin (dre@uuflb.org) to coordinate attendance. 

Fees

There will be no program fee for Religious Exploration in 2020-21, though some groups may incur a small materials fee for needed books.  Please remember that the existence of our R.E. program depends almost entirely on your financial pledges.  If you do not currently have a pledge on record for this year, please consider making one immediately.  You may email trustees@uuflb.org to do so.

Religious Exploration for Children and Youth

In addition to the sessions described below, this R.E. year will be punctuated by multi-generational services and youth-led youth-led opportunities. Our R.E. focus this year will be on developmentally appropriate work toward anti-racism, exploring white privilege, and de-centering whiteness.

 

Primary (pre-kindergarten through grade 23

Children in this age group will explore through stories, reflections, and simple crafts. Our Zoom session is on Sunday mornings, ahead of service, from 9:30-10:00.

 

Intermediate (grades 4 to 8)

Youth in this group will participate in book discussions and activities, alternating action and reflection. Titles to be used are "This Book is Anti-Racist" by Tiffany Jewell and "The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander.

 

Senior Youth (grades 9 to 12) and Young Adults (~18-24 years) (alternating Sundays)

This year, the work of our older youth will also be focused on book discussions and reflections intended to spur action. Titles include "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo and "Felix Ever After" by Kacen Callender. 

 

Adult Religious Exploration Touchstones Discussion Group

On the third Sunday each month, we will offer a discussion group based on the monthly worship theme. Please join us from 11:45-12:30. Zoom meeting information is available in the Firday Fellowship e-news.

 

Spirit Snacks

Spirit Snacks is a program which invovles a brief reading or viewing of material focusing on anti-racism and examining white privilege, followed by reflection and discussion. Two (different) sessions per month on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, 7:30-8 pm. Zoom meeting information is available in the Friday Fellowship e-news.

 

Congregational Reads 

Join us for bi-monthly discussions on the first and third Fridays from 7-8 pm beginning in October. We'll alternate our discussions between two titles: "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race" by Beverly Daniel Tatum (week 1) and "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates (week 3). You may commit to one or both books, and if you are in need of help obtaining them, please reach out to Angela Konin, DRE (dre@uuflb.org). 

 

Movie Discussions

Watch the selected movie of the month at your leisure at anytime during the month (all titles are available on Netflix as of Sept. 2020), and join a lively discussion about it on the 4th Saturday of the month from 7-8 pm. So that parents and caregivers may participate (relatively) distraction-free, a G- or PG-rated family movie will be shown via Zoom or Netflix party with the children beginning at 6:30.

 

For all Ages Multi-generational Worship

On selected Sundays through the year, our Religious Exploration classes will remain in regular worship with the entire congregation, to participate in planned multi-generational services. These are not "days off" from Religious Exploration; rather, they are an intentionally planned part of the total program, intended to provide the opportunity to meaningfully engage in the wider Fellowship community, enabling the entire group to grow in their identity as Unitarian Universalists.

Supporting the R.E. Program

Our program is a cooperative one.  All families will be expected to contribute in the form of volunteer assistance in the (Zoom) classrooms, as part of the R.E. team, and/or through participation in fundraising, efforts whenever possible.

Visiting With Children on Sunday

Information.

**Until further notice, all faith development/R/E. will be held virtually. If you would like to arrange to participate as a visitor, please contact Angela Konin, DRE at dre@uuflb.org.**

Rites of Passage

Unitarian Universalists have their own rites of passage. These may vary within each congregation. Our congregation regularly facilitates Child Dedication, Coming of Age, and Bridging ceremonies.

Child Dedication

Most Unitarian Universalist congregations have child dedication services for infants, young adopted children, or young children whose families have recently joined the congregation. We can dedicate children at any age. The parents bring the child to the front of the sanctuary at a designated time in a regular Sunday worship service, and the minister presides over the ceremony.  The dedication ceremony is generally a celebration of the blessing of new life, an expression of the parents’ hopes for their child, and a call to the parents and the congregation’s members to lead and nurture the child’s spiritual life as it grows. One of the special elements of the ceremony is that when parents bring their children before our congregation to be dedicated, we give the babies an unopened  rose, symbolizing the beauty and newness of their lives and we remove from the rose all the thorns that might cause pain. For further information about Child Dedication please contact our Minister minister@uuflb.org.

Coming of

Age

Coming of Age Ceremonies (COA), marking the transition from childhood to young adult, are as old as history. They have included confirmations, vision quests, and bar and bat mitzvahs, all to help youth learn about themselves and prepare for adulthood. Our Religious Exploration program marks this transition with a two year Coming of Age program which emphasize self-reflection, confidence building, service to the fellowship and community, and a culminating

affirmation ceremony where students read their statement of faith. During this two year program, students usually participate in a Heritage Trip to Boston, Massachusetts to visit the UUA and learn more about our UU history.  Coming of Age Programs are generally started in the middle school years as part of our Junior Youth group program. 

Bridging

This is the rite of passage, held during a Spring congregational Sunday service, in the youths’ 12th grade year. Bridging marks the transition from being a teen to young adulthood The Bridging ceremony recognizes, honors, and celebrates the youth who have, in many cases, been in our Religious Exploration program for many years and now are moving on. We also give an unopened rose to the youth, but this time the thorns have not been removed which represents life with all of its joy but also difficulties. At this time bridging youth also address the congregation with their self-reflection of their years with the congregation and what they will take with them as they go forth.  

For more information about Coming of Age or Bridging, please contact dre@uuflb.org.