Marsha Thrall, Religious Education Coordinator — One of the easiest parts of preparing for this new adventure in Religious Education has been jumping into a Religious Education program where the difficult work has been completed for this season. I know that losing a long-term member of the church staff is always difficult and getting acquainted with the new staff member is an emotional and mental investment that is equally challenging. I feel very fortunate to have been gifted with the legacy of Maria O’Connor’s dedicated commitment to UUCW. She left good plans in place and beautifully-crafted curriculum materials. My hope is to be able to use this gift to continue ensuring that the Religious Education needs of the community at UUCW are met.
With that said, I would like to share some of the exciting things that are happening with Religious Education programming during September. First, classroom Religious Education for children, youth and teens will begin on September 9th. This year, we will be using tried and true curricula focused upon the wholistic development of children from pre-k to middle school. Whether classrooms are celebrating the developing autonomy of preschoolers, exploring the mystical that is faith and the magic that is friendship within Hogwarts UU, or cultivating social conscience within UUCW youth through the “Call to Justice” and “Neighboring Faiths” curricula, the spiritual development needs for the children and youth at UUCW will continue to be nurtured through the familiar and comfortable methods established by my predecessor.
Next, after listening to several adult members here at UUCW, it has become clear that there is a strong interest in continuing and re-cultivating the work started in the “Jesus Unplugged” seminars piloted by Maria O’Connor. To that end, I will be spending some time in September preparing a two-part, seminar-style adult education program that will focus first on “Life in Year One,” or what archaeologist and historian Scott Korb believes life looked like for those who lived in first century Palestine. The second part of this adult education experience will take place during the 2019 Lenten season and will focus on “Reading Jesus’ Short Stories.” Interacting with work by Jewish historian and Jesus scholar Amy-Jill Levine titled “Short Stories by Jesus”, the Lenten adult education group will examine several parables attributed to Jesus, how these parables were informed by cultural settings and traditional Jewish Midrash, and most valuable, what, if anything, these parables could mean to community, 2000 years later.
Finally, a special pajama party/movie night is being planned for the end of November. This event will be an evening of family-fun, and community-based Religious Education that will help us think and talk about what it means to be a “neighbor.” Stay tuned for more details.
As I come to the end of my first month at UUCW, I’m awed by the community within this congregation, excited by the prospect of the amazing things we can do together, but most of all, honored to be the person who was chosen to take this transitional journey with you.
Contact Marsha Thrall, Religious Education Coordinator, via the church office.