It is because of lifelong religious education and spiritual formation that I am a Unitarian Universalist today. I was raised as a UU with strong encouragement to explore my faith, celebrate the faith of others, and ask questions. I was raised to trust the universe and my existence in it. It is because of UU youth and young adults that I remained in our faith when I was a young adult. It is because of adult member’s genuine curiosity and yearning to learn, that I engage in lifelong learning as a minister. The UU commitment to a strong integrated programming in faith formation for all ages needs to be at the heart of every healthy UU community.
Yet, there are changes that need to addressed. For example, our country’s fast paced, information over load culture, does not serve our traditional style of adult programming. We have relied too long on a pedagogy of an authority figure transferring information to hungry minds. I believe a focus on relationship building through developing trust and strengthening our bonds, as well as discovery of new information, needs to be at the heart of a healthy religious education program. We need experience-based learning as much as we need to hear each other’s stories. We need to learn to listen more with the “ear of the heart,” a Benedictine teaching, and reflect on our actions.
For many of us, we need to unlearn old teachings that have been harmful to others, and learn, as if the first time, that our words and deeds matter. From the beginning of life, our programming needs to be integrated throughout the church community, so we can learn what we believe, why we believe, and how to live our beliefs. It is not enough to celebrate the beliefs of others; we also need to fully understand our own beliefs. To live this out, in my current church, we created a cycle of writing credo statements, and engaging in active reflection on living our values. My hope is all UU churches will embrace lifelong faith formation for the sake of our future.
Education for All Ages
Youth and Young Adults at end of Faith Formation D. Min. Project
Annual Holiday Shop Quilt Raffle
•I co-authored an adult curriculum, Facing Death with Life, available on the UUA website.
•I lead a monthly TED Talk, in which we watch a TED Talk on the topic tied to the Theme of the Month and then I facilitate a discussion. My focus for the discussion is on personal experience, relevancy, learning and action.
•I have led classes on race and culture, UU history and heritage, faith formation (Bright and Spirited Path), writing a spiritual autobiography and immigration.
•My doctoral thesis was on faith formation of UU youth and young adults. I developed a curriculum as part of my thesis. Click here for the curriculum.
Youth trip to United Nations UUA Conference in NYC