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RE Community Conversation: October 2, 2022

Several people spoke about why they are here in the meeting. Our children are our future and the future of our faith. Every child matters. We want a safe and healthy environment for our children. We want to offer what some of our children have had, to our children now.

What are our hopes and what can we do?

We had five kids in our service this morning.

A parent of a middle schooler says finding ways that we know Sundays there will be some more kids present — it was tough when we showed up and had the only child present. Bridging connections with other youth—that’s my short-term #1 hope. The parent needs the Sunday morning experience, and knowing that their child is in a safe space and making connections with other UU kids.

Leaders: We established that we will make sure there is some place for kids every Sunday. Need an adult, 18 or over, and one other person— the other can be a teen. Parent of a middle schooler says: It’s good to know that, and they can spread the word in the parent community.

Leader: Today we had 5 RE kids and were prepared for a “one-room schoolhouse” and talked about the theme, Courage. (this is the month’s Soul Matters theme that the larger congregation is embracing as well)

Parent of a high schooler : Maybe have a text group message? Middle school parent said that RE parent targeted emails helped a lot. Parent of an elementary schooler wants something more formal, making sure every new child will be informed. A regular email blast to all participants will be helpful.

The possibility of hiring a Director of Religious Exploration who’s not a UU was brought up. A church member and former DRE is on board but would want to see that these people learn about the UU values and teach UU values to the kids.

Parent of a middle schooler: The social aspect is fully important to their child, and the RE part is less important. We are almost certainly going to want a staff member at some point.

A church member with grown children asked: Any recent graduates who might want supplementary income? We have a young adult who is being paid today. Middle school parent said: My 12-yr old daughter would love to be around 18 or 20 year olds.

Middle school parent: Capacity to utilize everyone in the congregation. Parents are willing to take on their share, but we also need to include people from the whole community. Their child loved Mystery Friends in the past. Finding those ways.

Church member with young adult children: Having an older UU, 18 or 20 was great for her daughter when she was 12.

Parent of a high schooler: Most valuable for her teen was connections with more senior people in the congregation.

Church member with young adult kids: We’re in a unique position because the RE job description has gone through a major transition, with Tanya going from youth, then all elementary/middle school RE, then Lifetime Faith Engagement. We need to reevaluate where that grew to, pull it back to RE, and maybe hire a staff member next September. Better advertising for the job than we did previously.

Parent of a middle schooler: 11 year old and friends find volunteer work very exciting. We could get someone here to connect.

Parent of a 10 year old agreed. Volunteer work is appealing to kids.

Parent of young adults: Take a step back. This is a welcoming place. As churches shrink, UUs can grow. Thinks we should start looking for someone because it will take so long. We don’t want to miss an opportunity.

Church member: Fix-up day is good for volunteer opportunities.

Parent of middle schooler: Especially if kids can destroy stuff.

Church member with young adult kids: What is a skill we have, that we can teach kids? Soccer, music, schedule them in and plan them out.

Church Leader: UU Video on how to do “whole church” — hinged cushions more welcoming for smaller kids.

Church member: First Friday during construction. Leader: Just do it. Someone offered their house for First Fridays. A few adult church members expressed excitement about this idea.

Parent of middle school and elementary kids: We need emails that say KIDS in the subject line. Bulletin could repeat the information. Sign-up genius for Sundays. Her teen will be okay with middle schoolers, but not the young kids. Youth group eventually. Also need reminders a day before. Parents have received target emails on Friday nights. One parent requested they are sent again Sunday morning.

Middle school parent: Groupings is an issue with their child too. Don’t cut off friendships artificially because they’re in adjoining grades—be a little more flexible.

Leader: Next steps: Share the notes. Closing words.


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