Unitarian Universalism: Now Serving 31 Kinds of Families
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
By Karen Bellavance-Grace
Thirty-one. Not Baskin Robbins flavors. Not Heinz varieties. Not even the number of Sources of Unitarian Universalism. That number represents our families.
Last year a group of UU religious educators described different family configurations showing up in their congregations. They counted 31.
Mom + Dad + kids families. Single parent families. Queer families. Step-families. Grandparents raising grandchildren. Foster families. Families with one parent imprisoned. Immigrant families. Blended families….
Not to mention a healthy mix of lifelong UUs, recent converts, and families dividing time between two faith homes.
How hard it is to plan rich religious education programming for all of these families! To plan curriculum arcs, meet all the spiritual growth and health needs, equip wildly varied parent constituencies to carry faith home... and to fit all of that into a couple dozen Sunday mornings a year. It’s the kind of task that’d make Sisyphus grateful all he has to do is roll a rock uphill forever!
Our times and families have changed. Although our faith formation ministries still largely focus on Sunday morning as though it were the one way we know to kneel and kiss the ground, we are called today to show up in new ways. Religious professionals must show up where our families are, because although they cannot all be with us on Sunday mornings, they are still all our people. Our parents must show up to live Unitarian Universalism at home, in neighborhoods, and even on soccer fields. Our world is moving rapidly from an Age of Enlightenment culture into a new and radically connected Age of Embodiment. We all need to embody our faith in new ways that help our own people understand and live out our theology and help our communities know we are the Love people.
I started talking about a Full Week Faith approach to spark conversations and collaborations around innovative, shared ministries of faith formation. I wanted to encourage the brave souls willing to engage and embody our faith not just on Sundays, but all week long. Because with all of the varieties of people and places that need our Love and the saving Grace of Unitarian Universalism, we must act with the conviction that there are, indeed, hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Karen Bellavance-Grace, Director of Faith Formation, Mass Bay & Clara Barton Districts of the Unitarian Universalist Association, developed Full Week Faith during her 2013 Fahs Fellowship for Innovation in Multigenerational Faith Formation, supported by the Fahs Collaborative and the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA).
To learn more, join the UUA Faith Development Office on Tuesday, July 22, 1 pm or Wednesday, July 23, 9 pm (Eastern time) for a free, one-hour webinar on Full Week Faith presented by Karen Bellavance-Grace with Pat Kahn. To register, email faithdevwebinar [at] uua [dot] org.
The new Tapestry of Faith Toolkit Book from the UUA, Creating Justice Together, offers 36 family and home activities to "model and encourage ways to step up, even to act up, to share justice and love." Do you know other sources for faithful acts a family can do together? Please share!