DRE’s Message – Walking in the Garden of Religious Exploration

As the sun shines brightly across our Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church campus, I am reminded of the growth we have been going through both inside and outside the building.  After the heavy rains of February, this month will bring exciting changes to our landscape and we are making space for trees to stretch branches, for new leaves to unfurl, for flowers to bloom.

This spring, the Religious Exploration Council and I are making plans for changes in the coming year.  We are beginning to explore what it would look like to divide our FUNShops into two groups, one for early elementary and preschool-aged children and one for elementary-aged children who can read.  For the younger group, we will keep the FUNShop model and for the older kids, we are looking at curriculum that would support their spiritual growth and exploration.  I look forward to keeping parents, guardians, and members informed of the curriculum we decide on.

Last month, I received the good news that the Pacific Central District will be going forward with a Coming of Age Program in the upcoming year.  For those of us who aren’t familiar with this program, it is designed to teach high school and middle school youth about what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist and what it means to become a member of the church.  This year, the youth have been learning about multiple faith traditions and have been visiting different places of worship.  It has been exciting to think about how their current programming will support taking a look at one’s own faith and learning about the history of our tradition.

For both of these new programs, we will need as much congregational support as possible.  The Coming of Age Program requires regular teachers as well as mentors willing to meet with the youth about 4-5 times throughout the year.  We will also need a group of about four adults to staff the new curriculum-based class for the older elementary kids.

Coming from this past month’s worship theme of “Standing on the Side of Love”, I am confident that the expansive love of this congregation is big enough to hold these programs and support our youngest church-goers.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to get involved or if you have any questions at dre@starrking.org.  Let us continue to tend the garden which we have already planted.  May we till the soil this spring, to make our grounds ready for new growth.