Religious Education Corner
RE Corner November 2015
“Our religious education nurtures both roots and wings; the roots of community and shared values, and the wings of the free mind and creative spirit.” —— Rev. Pat Hoertdoerfer, "Education for Religion as Relationship"
The metaphor of “roots and wings” is often used to talk about our faith tradition. The “roots” are the traditions that come from our ancestors that allow us to believe, feel and act our faith – the “wings”. But, what do these ancestral roots mean for us?
Family institutions are important in growing a child’s faith. There are four main family influences on religion for children. They are: the relationship between the parent and the child, the parents role in “modeling” their faith, their grandparents faith and their family’s religious inheritance. What faith traditions were important in the way your ancestors lived their lives? How do you learn about your family’s faith traditions? Children should listen to stories from their family members or ask family members to share family photos and keepsakes. Talk with immediate family members about what they remember about their family’s religious history. Ask them about their religious background and about their current religious affiliations. Ask them, “What in your faith has kept you rooted and what has given your faith wings?”
Our ancestors in the faith are the ones who have gone before us to carry the torches of our values of tolerance, compassion, reason, freedom, hope and love. Unitarian Universalists love to name names and talk about the many famous people who were Unitarians or Universalists. Awe-inspiring names like Susan B Anthony, John Murray and Sophia Lyons Fahs to name a few. They don’t expect us to be like them or do what they did, but rather they give us a source of inspiration to take on our own journeys. When someone leaves a legacy or has led a life that inspires people, we often celebrate their memory. This can be a famous person like Martin Luther King, Jr. or it could be someone from our own heritage – the legacies left by our own ancestors. Dia de los Muertos, All Souls Day and Samhain are religious holidays that celebrate our ancestors and are celebrated in the fall.
This year we, at UUFSB, will have an intergenerational service on November first to celebrate these religious holidays and celebrate our ancestors. Children who come one half hour before the service (beginning at 10am) can have their faces painted in the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Plan to bring a memento, sing some songs and share a story about the importance of ancestors in your faith journey.
~ Gretta Johnson-Sally
Director of Religious Education