Religious Education Corner
RE Corner April 2014
“Worship occurs when the horizontal and the vertical – the mundane and the transcendent – suddenly intersect for us.” ~ Ghandi
As with any other educator, it is important for religious educators to be at the top of their game with regards to hot topics in the religious education field. One of the ways we do this is by attending professional development workshops. These professional development modules provide basic training in a specific area useful to religious educators. When five modules have been successfully completed, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) recognizes this achievement with a Letter of Recognition and award a lapel pin. I have actually completed 9 of the required Renaissance modules already. The Renaissance Program is a recognized component of the Religious Education Credentialing program.
The Religious Education Credentialing Program is a three-level program for religious education professionals intended to nurture the call to religious education as a profession, provide a comprehensive path for professional development, and articulate and uphold professional standards and guidelines in religious education leadership in order to strengthen religious education and faith development in Unitarian Universalist congregations. I thought it was important to share with you that I have been admitted to the RE Credentialing program. Over the course of the next two years I will be compiling a portfolio of all of my background, education and experiences. When my portfolio is complete, I will need to present it, not unlike defending a thesis I would imagine, in front of a board of religious education professionals. If they feel I am qualified, they will award me “Credentialed” status.
Two weeks ago, I participated in a Renaissance Module on the topic of “Worship”. I thought I was going to learn primarily about planning and implementing worship with children and youth. It turned out to be much more than that. We worked at planning adult and multigenerational worship as well. Working with colleagues from other congregations, we developed answers to the questions: Why do we worship? How do we worship? And most importantly, what are the challenges to creating meaningful worship? And of course, the answers vary depending on who your audience is.
Worship involves the mind, body and spirit. Good worship incorporates all three components. When we worship together we feel a connection to something that is larger than ourselves, yet also feel connected to our true selves. Worship invites people (including children) to be authentic. Planning worship is holy work no matter who your audience is. There are special occasions and rites of passage that honor the journeys of human life, personal identity or growth.
One such special worship is the Child Dedication Ceremony for infants or children. Rev. Margie will be offering a group child dedication as part of the Easter service on April 20th. A Child Dedication Ceremony is a time for a blessing for the life of a new child, an expression of a parent or parents’ hope for a child and a promise by the congregation to nurture and support the child in its spiritual life. Unitarian Universalists believe that every child brings new life and hope into the world. Religious Educator Sophia Lyons Fahs said, “Each night a child is born is a holy night, a time for singing, a time for wondering, a time for worshipping.”
~ Gretta Johnson-Sally
Director of Religious Education