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Andrea's Newsletter Column, April 2010

DRE 101 - Part 4

The Religious Exploration program is guided by groups made up of church members and friends: the Committee for Religious Exploration, the OWL Oversight Committee, and the Adult Religious Exploration Committee (aka Growing Spirit). These groups form a “cluster” – similarly-themed areas – with one Board Liaison: Dorian Zaharia. As DRE, I work collaboratively with the first two, and am happy to act as a resource for the latter.

I’d like to shine a light on the work done by these groups. I am always impressed by their ability to take on a challenge, find creative solutions, and have fun.

Last fall the RE committee chose an overall theme for the 2010-11 church year – World Religions. By this time in the year, they are making decisions about age groupings and curriculum choices. They have tough decisions to make – some ages have high numbers of young people, while others have none. What magic number makes a viable group when we take into consideration the variables of attendance? What ages will blend well, and how do we manage different stages of development? Throughout the year they review the events hosted by the committee, and are deciding now what to offer next year. They think about attendance and timing, workload and volunteers, and how each could be improved.

Last month the OWL Oversight Committee looked at age groups and adolescent development, and determined that we would return to offering OWL to youth based on the ages the curriculum was written for (12-14, and 15 and up) rather than the current divisions (12-13, and 14 and up). They also discussed the possibility that OWL won’t be offered to youth next year due to low numbers at both levels. Because these issues have a direct impact on decisions the RE Committee will make, communication between the committees is crucial.

These discussions happen at this time of year, rather than in the fall, to allow us to plan well and have a smooth start to the church year. Often curricula need to be purchased, adapted or updated, which takes time and research. Supplies and resources need to be ordered and ready to go for RE leaders in September. The plan goes to the Board for review in April and is ideally well laid out by May, when we recruit leaders for next year (it’s nice to know what you’re signing up for, isn’t it?).

On behalf of all of us, I offer heartfelt thanks to all who sit on these committees. It’s important work you’re doing, and we value your efforts.

Andrea James
Director of Religious Exploration

Newsletter Column, March 2010

DRE 101, Part 3

Over the last couple of months, I’ve attempted to paint a picture of life in the DRE world. We’ve talked about what you can see – the tip of the iceberg – so now let’s look at what you may not see. Here’s a close-up view:

I start my week on Sundays. Three Sundays a month I participate in the worship service or lead children’s worship downstairs, visit in RE rooms, support our wonderful leaders, supervise staff in the nursery room, and connect with congregants. It’s the day most people touch base with me, 

Read more: Newsletter Column, March 2010

Newsletter Column, December 2009

Our Village

As I write, I’ve just finished about 48 hours - minus a tiny bit of time for sleeping and a couple of hugs for my kids - at a workshop our congregation hosted in November.

Read more: Newsletter Column, December 2009

Newsletter Column, February 2010

DRE 101, Part 2

Last month I suggested that when using the Iceberg Principle in relation to religious educators, what the “tip” looks like might depend on your point of view.

Some folks see the Director of Religious Exploration (DRE) only during the first part of a Sunday worship service.

Read more: Newsletter Column, February 2010

Newsletter Column, November 2009

Wonder and Awe

Unitarian Universalists find inspiration from six sources. The first - Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life - is a bit of a mouthful. To simplify we might say, “The sense of wonder and awe that we all share”. Awe may be defined as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder”.

Read more: Newsletter Column, November 2009

Newsletter Column, January 2010

DRE 101, Part 1

There is a concept in the business world known as the Iceberg Principle, which suggests that only a small percentage of information is ever visible about any given situation, while the bulk is hidden or unavailable. 

Read more: Newsletter Column, January 2010

Newsletter Column, October 2009

August and September are very busy months, behind the scenes, in the life of a church community. A huge hug to all those who have volunteered this year as Leaders in the Religious Exploration program. There are mothers, and fathers, and aunts, and those without children in the program.

Read more: Newsletter Column, October 2009

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winterpeg

603 Wellington Crescent, Winterpeg, Manitoba, Canada R3M 0A7
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