Religious Education Corner
RE Corner July 2015
Is Summer the time for Religious Education?
Just because your child's school year takes a 10 week summer vacation, that does not mean that a child's search for spirituality, truth and meaning in their lives needs to take a summer vacation. There are many things done in our Fellowship throughout the summer months that help our children grow spiritually. I would like to suggest a few ways to keep your children involved in their faith throughout the week, the month, the summer.
One spiritual message we are attempting to convey is that through stewardship, we are taking care of the environment. We are teaching the children that we need to take on the responsibility to maintain our environment for years to come. In our Love and Help class in the early grades our children have learned about Hobbs Farm, our shared ministry with the Bethel AME church by doing some early spring planting. Stefani Scott has also led several of our Social Justice Sundays educating our children and youth by planting seedlings and bringing them to the farm for planting. The farm provides fresh produce to those in need through a network of local food pantries and food programs. Volunteers are welcome throughout the year to do a variety of farming work like planting, weeding, harvesting, working in the greenhouse and more. The farm is located on Oxhead Road in Centereach. Their contact information is: . Your family’s help would be appreciated this summer.
We all see summer as a more relaxed and fun time. Not necessarily a season for education, teaching or learning. However, many children have many less things on their plate over the summer. There are no sports teams, dance classes or theater performances. Life slows down. What better time to practice full week faith? Generally Sunday morning attendance at services drops off. On summer Sunday mornings, we do offer a classroom for games, crafts, and movies for any children who come. This summer, we are working on an art show for our Fellowship's Sanctuary walls. Each child/youth is asked to consider the Seven Principles and choose the one that speaks to them most directly. (All of our children know their Principles through the Seven Principles song.). On a white 8x11 piece of paper, they are asked to write or draw what the chosen Principle means to them. They can even do this at home. They can also choose to do more than one piece of art work. We ask that you bring it in to the fellowship where we can mount it and hang it in our Sanctuary.
Consider Sophia Fahs summer religious education overnight camp held on Shelter Island from August 9-14. It is a unique chance for your child/youth to experience enjoyable, practical and spiritual experiences in a safe, beautiful and natural environment that will inspire them to explore their identities: personal, communal and Unitarian Universalist. Children/youth use games and fun to build relationships. The Sophia Fahs camp experience can be life- changing. At camp, they live in a beloved community where everyone else shares their beliefs and values in a 24-hour, 6-day experience. UU friends from camp are friends for life! Their website is: liacuu.org.
Our children and youth cite seeing their friends as one of the primary reasons they come to our UU Fellowship each week. They enjoy the projects we do in class. They enjoy the talk time we have in class with their peers and teachers. They love to play on our beautiful grounds. In researching what brings families to a congregation, I learned, believe it or not, that the condition of the playground equipment can make or break a family's connection to the community. Unsafe playground equipment is not welcoming. This summer, we have initiated a fund drive for our playground equipment. With the goal of $5000, we are looking to replace our sagging wooden structure with new equipment. We would also like to include several benches for parents to sit down and be able to chat with one another. Donations can be made by check to the Fellowship (please put "playground" in the memo line) through the Sunday morning collection plate or can be mailed to the Office directly (also please indicate playground fund).
Consider full week faith for your family. Don't let valuable summer time escape you. You, parents, are the best teachers of your family's faith. Teach your children/youth what our faith and community mean to you. Stop in and see us over the summer!
~ Gretta Johnson-Sally, DRE