Call and Response: Journeys in UU Lifespan Faith Development

Summer! Open the Door to Wild and Wonderful RE Programming

By Susan Lawrence

Daisies on white

In the desultory days of summer, it’s common for faith communities to abandon the structure of the congregational year. Worship attendance may slide. Religious professionals may take vacation from their usual duties. Yet many of us have the energy and need to stay connected. What kind of faith development program is appealing, meaningful, and practical for the summer months?

The uncharted territory of summer programming is rich with possibility. People may be willing to gather in different configurations and different locations than usual. In the summer, young people may have the time to meet regularly with elders for a program that invites both groups to share their stories. You might bring families with children together to explore an ecological theme, with hands-on activities in an outdoor setting. Summer could be the right time to launch a series of social justice workshops with adults, youth, or a multi-age group. Plan some meetings outside the walls of the congregation, maybe on-site at a partner organization that could use extra helpers on a project, or at an outdoor rally or fundraising event for a justice cause.

A summer religious education program as incidental as a movie-and-discussion night or as ambitious as a week-long family camp can be a wonderful opportunity for both long-time and new leaders to shape new experiences for participants… and themselves. It is not too late to think about summer programming—the door is open and a fresh wind is blowing in.

Next Steps!

The UUA’s Tapestry of Faith lifespan religious education programs are free and searchable online; browse by age group or keyword for activities and topics.

Wisdom from the Hebrew Scriptures is an eight-workshop program with many possibilities for summer multigenerational programming. Eight workshops based on biblical stories from Creation to Joshua engage all ages in role play, discussion, and craft activities.

Gather the Spirit is a multigenerational curriculum on our stewardship of water—the resource all life needs. Stories and hands-on activities highlight why we need clean water, how we obtain and use water, where in the world some people lack access to clean water, and what each of us can do to protect water resources and make their distribution more fair.

Several adult curricula from the UUA have 90-minute modules to use as a ready-made, summertime lifelong learning event. Consider some workshops from What We Choose: Ethics for Unitarian Universalists by Amber Beland and Manish Mishra-Marzetti, Faith Like a River: Themes from UU History by Jackie Clement and Alison Cornish, or the newly streamlined UU theology curriculum by Thandeka, What Moves Us.

About the Author

Susan Lawrence

Susan Dana Lawrence is managing editor for the Lifespan Faith Engagement office of the UUA. She is a writer and educator who has worked in broadcast television, corporate communications, and print journalism. She belongs to Reform Jewish and Unitarian Universalist faith communities.


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