First of all, I want to thank all of you for a wonderful year. Your kindness helped to support me as I ventured through my first year as a DRE. This community is wonderful. I knew that as a parishioner and I now know that even more deeply as your religious education director.
This year has been full of enjoyable and enriching experiences for our children, most of which have focused on the theme of Unitarian Universalism within our three year cycle. Lessons have centered on our sources as well as our guiding principles. The youngest students worked through the Love Will Guide Us and UU Superheros curricula. Activities ranged from exploring the ecosystems of FPNUU's backyard, to practicing First Aid, to creating a group puzzle, and everything in between. Our upper elementary students worked through an entire year of the Questing Year curriculum, focusing on what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist and engaging in hands-on activities and lively discussion. This group rounded out the year with a social action project that raised money for the Norwell Food Pantry. Our Neighboring Faiths class considered beliefs and traditions of various religions, including Baptist, Judaism, Quaker, Wicca, Catholicism, Islam, and Buddhist. Our visits to various temples, churches, and the like brought the learning to life as the children sang (sometimes loudly!), meditated, visited prayer rooms that faced Mecca, and sat in the front of the temple to listen to stories from the old testament. All of this learning was grounded in information from various First Parish parishioners who were willing to visit the class and share their own faith traditions, either current or from earlier times in their lives. The Neighboring Faiths experience allowed students not only to learn about various perspectives and beliefs, but also provided them an opportunity for personal reflection. This ultimately led to the creation of thoughtful Coming of Age credos that were grounded in authenticity and honesty.
Youth Group spent the year meeting every other week with other teens from Scituate, Cohasset, and Rockland. Activities included political rallies, parades, and several multi-day CONS. The creation of the SciCohRockWell Youth Group has provided a large, dynamic, and thoughtful community for our teens. I am very thankful for the hard work of the youth mentors from these other churches. They are all truly dedicated to supporting teens and building them up in every way possible. And when you are hovering between childhood and adulthood, being surrounded by the safety net of caring adults who support you in being exactly who you are can make a world of difference.
This Spire article wouldn't be complete without a shout out to the dozens of people who helped to bring RE to life this year. Whether you taught a class, led a mini-session, visited with the Neighboring Faiths group, drove to Youth Group meetings, or just had a good conversation with a child, you helped to make this all happen. Our children need supportive adults to thrive within our church community and you have stepped up and offered your time and energy to help them grow and learn. Thank you!
Director of Religious Education