The Future of Religious Education at MLUC

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Visioning for the Future, Honoring the Past
A UUA-Facilitated Conversation

Saturday, February 8, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

JoyBerryAll are invited to join together to talk about the ministry of religious education and faith development in our church. During this time we will share our knowledge of the history of RE at MLUC and look to the future, as we envision the program of faith formation we will work to create together. This work is covenantal in nature. All who have an interest in religious education and faith formation should plan to attend—lay leaders, board members, parents, elders, teachers, and youth are especially invited.

From the UUA: The word covenant has broad meaning. It is traditional religious language that refers to a “solemn agreement” or “promise from the heart.” Developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association in the early 1990s, Covenanting for Excellence in Religious Education is a facilitated process between a religious educator and a congregation for purposes of identifying a set of mutually agreed-upon commitments. In its current incarnation, this covenantal process considers present expectations of the congregation and outlines mutual hopes for the future of the program. It may be used as a tool for growth and deeper understandings for the congregation and religious educator, with identified resources, mutual commitments, and support systems. It can specify results expected and how these results will be achieved. The covenant should be a living document that represents more than a list of objectives and aspirations; it reflects a commitment to ongoing congregational transformation. A covenant reflects the quality of the relationships involved, rather than the contractual dimensions of employment.

Setting the stage for congregational change and transformation, a Covenant for Excellence in Religious Education deepens and strengthens the bonds of Unitarian Universalist community through intentional commitment to the common vision, awareness of faith development, and growth and change.

The covenanting process is conducted by trained facilitators, and includes the religious educator, parish minister and other church staff, lay leaders, and other interested congregants. It involves individual and group theological reflection and exploration of the congregation’s history and culture, clarifying and prioritizing goals and expectations, articulating a common vision, and celebrating the accomplishment in a special service.

A Covenant for Excellence in Religious Education invites us to place lifespan religious education and faith development at the center and heart of congregational life.
In this context of religious community, all aspects of congregation life are interconnected and are affected by the changes in priorities and ways in which leadership is shared.

Maria Harris, esteemed religious educator, offers us the philosophy that everything we do is educating religiously. Harris views the entire course of the congregation’s life as its curriculum, the context for its life-long creative and educative processes. Within this framework of Congregation as Curriculum we can identify five central aspects of Unitarian Universalist faith communities:

Social/Community—the people and relationships of the church, pastoral care networks, social events and community celebrations

Social Justice—service projects and social justice activities in the wider community

Worship—worship services and rituals practiced in the congregation

Learning—the more formal learning context of Religious Education classes, workshops, and adult programs, as well as the informal learning that comes from engaging in other aspects

Leadership—opportunities for all ages to learn and practice leadership skills; also the coaching and mentoring practices of professional staff and congregation leaders in empowering others

The Covenant for Excellence in Religious Education process is a stepping stone in the larger process of congregational transformation. Once created, the covenant is intended to be a vital and sacred part of a multigenerational faith community—a true “promise from the heart.”

Please plan to join us. Childcare and lunch will be provided. RSVP by February 3 to .

A UUA-Facilitated Conversation: Visioning for the Future, Honoring the Past

Religious Education at Main Line Unitarian Church