Religious Exploration Resources
The following list of resources provides a starting place for religious exploration committees and educators. A review of the other religious exploration pages at this site will also be useful.
The Gift of Faith: Tending the Spiritual Lives of Children by Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar
This resource shows how religious community profoundly serves a child’s natural need for spiritual growth and religious grounding. It explores the crucial role of parents as their children’s primary religious educators; an accessible, inspiring book. This will be of particular use to committees and educators who hope to help parents and congregational members understand the value of quality religious exploration programming.
Nurturing Children and Youth : A Developmental Guidebook by Tracy Hurd.
This book belongs to the Tapestry of Faith Toolkit Series provided by the UUA Faith Development Office. It is an insightful tool for understanding children and youth at each stage of development. It outlines typical progressions in physical, cognitive, social, emotional, moral and spiritual development from infancy to early twenties.
This popular program, for pre-schoolers, sees the purpose of religious education as helping children in living into their own answers to the existential questions: Where did we come from? What are we doing here? How do we choose to live our lives? What happens when we die? It uses a Montessori approach for the structure of the morning. As in Montessori, the key elements are the prepared classroom environment and the teachers. These elements free the children to work at their own pace on their own issues after an initial lesson or story within a safe and sacred structure shepherded by two adults.
Supporting Religious Exploration in your congregation
We know that religious exploration programs thrive when they are linked to the overall life of the congregation.
Congregations are encouraged to provide financial support for their religious educators membership with the Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators (CUURE) and other professional development opportunities. We know that resource sharing and networking with colleagues is invaluable, and ask them to take steps to ensure that CUURE membership dues for their religious educators are included in the congregational budget.
LREDA, the Liberal Religious Educators Association and the Unitarian Universalist Association offers guidelines for congregational best practices for compensation, search and supervision, sabbaticals, and staffing levels. The following links may help you in your consideration.
- From From Starting to Parting (pdf) offers information on supporting RE and Music staff in UU congregations
- Continuing Education Guidelines
- Sabbatical Leave Handbook http://www.lreda.org/sabbatical-leave-handbook
- Staffing Levels and Scope of Work Guidelines http://www.lreda.org/staffing-levels-and-scope-of-work-for-religious-educators
- Best Practices for Employment of RE professionals
Effective Congregational Committees, beginning on page 17 of this document you will find some thoughts about how might, most usefully structure your congregation’s committee.
Church of the Larger Fellowship – RE Express
This is a valuable resource, and may be of particular interest to those congregations without paid staff. The annual user fee for these resources are reasonable. Subscribers receive a monthly package, via email, of a lively, easy to use, explicitly Unitarian Universalist curriculum. They also receive ‘REFrigerator Page, which includes activites, featuring people from UU history, social justice projects, spiritual practices, ways to practice our principles, questions for family discussion and more, each month the Refrigerator Page provides a pdf document that you can print and keep on your refrigerator as a reminder of ways for kids to connect to UUism, and for parents and religious educators to glean great ideas for religious education.
Tapestry of Faith
Embodying lifespan faith development for our congregations, Tapestry of Faith is a collection of curricula and resources that nurture Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith, and vital communities of justice and love.
CUC Support for Religious Education