Our faith formation continues throughout our lives, from our days in Sunday religious education classrooms, through Owl (Our Whole Lives) classes, Coming of Age programs and adult education. We are never finished learning and growing in our faith.
It is my belief that faith formation is the responsibility of the entire congregation. It matters how we welcome families into worship, conduct multigenerational services and invite the voices of children and youth into the fullness of congregational life.
I have had the privilege to lead the Beloved Conversations: Healing Conversations about Race and Identity curriculum at UU Restoration. Created by Dr. Mark Angus McLean Hicks and the Fahs Collaborative at Leadville Lombard, this revolutionary curriculum engages us in the work of exploring race and identity from a spiritual perspective. As Dr. Hicks explains in his introduction: “Beloved Conversations is framed in the spirit of small-group ministry or a covenant group. Many “diversity seminars” do the important work alerting participants to the injustices of how we engage individuals and groups who are outside a social norm. Beloved Conversations is different and instead, should be thought of as a “spiritual practice.”
Frequent multigenerational worship has allowed the UU Restoration community to bring together young folks and older folks in the most visible and well-attended space in the community: Sunday morning worship. For me, these creative and fun worship experiences underscore an important theological point. Religious education is not separate from the primary work of congregational life.
Regular teaching responsibilities in the Religious Education program for young people has enabled me to experience and utilize a variety of Unitarian Universalist curricula, especially from the Tapestry of Faith collection. In addition, it has been my practice to tailor classes to specific moments in congregational life when appropriate. For example, this year’s Kwanzaa celebration includes a Religious Education component, designed to engage young folks in our community.