R.E. Connections

Dear FUUSN Community,

Unitarian Universalist identity development is one of the core goals of a successful UU religious education program. Whether one is born into the faith or enters later in life, there’s a lot for each of us to learn about what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist. We expect this growth and learning to be a lifelong journey, and that we will change and deepen the particularities of our individual spiritual beliefs and values along the way.

I often counsel anxious UU parents and congregants who feel they don’t know enough about Unitarian Universalism to teach RE. In these moments I share that our third principle encourages us to “the acceptance of one another and continued learning together” (UU Principle in Simpler Language). This value of not knowing all the answers and exploring and learning together needs to be at the core of our religious education classes across the lifespan. Especially for young people, it is a powerful to hear grownups say “I don’t know” or “I’m still figuring it out myself”. So many of the questions we are asking as people of faith are not ones that can easily be answered. People of all ages benefit from sharing these questioning spaces together, offering what we wonder, know, and what it comforts us to believe.

As an open and accepting faith there is a lot of room for theological difference from one Unitarian Universalist to the next, and our diversity of belief and experience is one of our greatest strengths. That said, it is fundamentally important, and often harder for us to articulate what is shared and what binds us together as UUs. To support this growth of understanding, we can lean into our principle and sources, our deep and shared Unitarian and Universalist histories, and the rituals and traditions that are practiced throughout our associated congregations.

People of all ages seek to belong, to ourselves, to each other, to this Earth that hosts our lives, and to the vast universe. As we explore together the question of what it means to be Unitarian Universalist, we will discover answers that help to form a container strong and deep enough to hold all of our differences and celebrate all that we share.

With love and in faith,
Amanda Graff