A Message to Parents/ Guardians of Children in our First Church Religious Education Program

regarding Sunday, May 7 Service Participation and RE Classes

Unitarian Universalists across the globe are participating in an anti-oppression Teach-In on or around April 30 or May 7, 2017. As of this writing there are over 600 congregations participating in the US, Canada, the UK, India and New Zealand.

So, where did this come from? Why a “teach-in”?  As you may know, a recent hiring issue at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) sparked controversy and conversations about race and power within our denomination. A lot happened over a matter of days in March, arousing both broad and deep discussions which spread well beyond hiring practices.

While our children and youth will not be dedicating the full RE Session this Sunday to this theme, they are invited to attend the first portion of our service to hear one of our YRUU Youth Group members share a personal story of oppression as a person of color. Afterwards, the children will have the opportunity to reflect on our Youth’s story as they move into their classrooms, and the Youth Group will extend their conversation with leadership from the Youth Steering Committee. The rest of the time in RE will be spent with the original theme of Teacher appreciation, which we were unable to reschedule this far into the church year.

As you may be aware, our young people have already begun exploring themes of race and racism during our “Black People Matter” Winterim program but there is still a lot more work to be done. As the Children’s RE Committee and the Youth Steering Committee start planning for the next year in Religious Education, we will certainly be discussing how we can move forward in our efforts to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression  Rev. Jennifer shares her vision for just such a thing in her May Chanticleer newsletter column.  She writes, “It is an exciting time of opportunity to follow the courageous leadership of the Unitarian Universalists of color who are calling our denomination into living our values more deeply. I pray those who have been harmed will be comforted, those who are leading will be encouraged, and that as a faith, we will find the inspiration, spiritual resilience and strength, and humility to follow this call in to becoming the community we have longed to be.”

I encourage you to read Rev. Jennifer’s full column A Call for Spiritual Resilience and Strength in UU Hiring in the May Chanticleer, and visit the links at the bottom of that column to help you better understand this pivotal time in the life of our denomination.

You might find that the time your kids spend in the service this Sunday provide you with an opportunity to get this conversation started in your family. If you are seeking some resources to help you become more comfortable talking to your child(ren) about race and racism, I encourage you to visit the following webpages:


In faith, with Love,

Beryl Aschenberg,

 Director of Religious Education

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