Martha Graham, the inspired choreographer and dancer, once said “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. ” This quote grounds my work in religious exploration; that is, to nurture the hope that all of our unique and precious vitality flow into existence. My name is Irene Stefanko, and I’m excited to be serving as your Director of Religious Exploration for the next year.
Exploring the world with children and youth is a passion of mine. Whether the adventures occur while teaching a religious exploration program, mentoring youth to imagine and realize improvements in social justice, or when combing the beach for marine treasures with my partner, Jerome, and children, Alexa and Nicholas. As for this year, I think Dr. Seuss said it best, “oh, the places we will go.”
Currently the Religious Exploration Council, Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris and I are hard at work preparing for this year’s religious exploration programs. We are planning to offer childcare for infants and toddlers, Funshops for preschoolers and a curriculum called Principles for UU and Me for school-age children. As you read this, that curriculum is being personalized for the children here at Starr King. In addition, we are hoping to meet with the middle and high school youth and their parents/guardians so that together we can identify the best religious exploration plan for these youth.
Soon you’ll receive a survey via Survey Monkey that we’ll use to register for these programs, gather your thoughts regarding religious exploration, and identify fellow explorers interested in volunteering with these programs during the upcoming year. As you know, volunteers are the lifeblood of these programs, and we are deeply grateful to all of those who have, and will volunteer to help offer them. I’m looking forward to meeting you on Sunday!