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Call and Response: Journeys in UU Lifespan Faith Development
Call and Response
Faith Development

Voices of our faith, for the journey we make together in spirit, justice, and love. Please read, respond, and share!

  • ”Back to Normal” Makes an Argument for Shedding Labels

    When one of my children was five years old, they entered kindergarten. The child we entrusted to the school was a high energy, affectionate, interesting kid. A kid who “bounced,” just like A. A. Milne’s Tigger in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. A kid not always aware of their...
    By Gail Forsyth-Vail | 4/5/2016
  • Marshman and Fields Scholarship: Reflections on a Legacy

    One of the first things I did as a new religious educator in the mid-1980s was to get in contact with those who had been doing the work for years and had much to share. I lived for monthly meetings of the Mass Bay Religious Education Team. I would come home brim full of ideas,...
    By Gail Forsyth-Vail | 3/24/2016
  • Outside the (Question) Box: Sharing Ministry in Worship

    By Chris Buja Soon after I started attending my first Unitarian Universalist congregation, in Corpus Christi, TX , I was introduced to the concept of “ shared ministry .” Shared ministry recognizes that ministry—all that is done to fulfill the religious mission of a congregation...
    3/14/2016
  • Women Shaping UU History

    In 1980, when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8 as National Women's History Week (now Month), he said, "Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women...
    By Susan Lawrence | 3/4/2016
  • A is for Africa: Using African-centric Material with Preschoolers

    By Andrea Arrington As a professor of African history, one of the first things I do with my classes is assess what they know—or think they know—about Africa. We discuss images in mainstream Western media and pop culture and identify problems in those presentations of Africa and...
    2/22/2016
  • A White Privilege Wake-Up Call

    A wake-up call, according to the Urban Dictionary, is “when you've been doing something self-destructive for some time (perhaps without realizing it) before something serious happens that forces you to come to terms with what you've been doing and that you need to stop.” ...
    By Pat Kahn | 2/2/2016
  • Turning Wine into Water

    By Bart Frost My first congregational event as a brand new Director of Religious Education was an ordination. I was greeted with smiles, handshakes, and a keg sitting in a bucket of ice. This was my first professional gig and I had no idea about what the expectation was around...
    1/25/2016
  • Our Whole Lives Visits the National Sex Ed Conference

    Last fall, I shopped for owl-print clothing online . I waded through countless options until landing on a grey dress with a big white owl at the hem; a dress made of fabric of covered with bright blue owls, and pink pajamas printed with brown owls. Meanwhile, Amy Johnson, MSW,...
    1/15/2016
  • Keepsakes in the Attic

    Our attic needed to be emptied for an insulation project. We brought down boxes and boxes of clothing that had once belonged to our three grown children. It all needed to be sorted for saving, discarding, or recycling—a huge, overwhelming job that I intended to get through as...
    By Gail Forsyth-Vail | 1/5/2016
  • Let the Ceremony of Light Begin

    Two weeks ago, I was part of an interfaith gathering where we asked one another, “What is weighing on you? What signs of hope are you finding? How do you see God’s spirit moving in the world?” One by one, people named the troubles that swirl around our communities and our world...
    By Gail Forsyth-Vail | 12/21/2015
  • 5 Values of Great Teams

    You might not think that an historic resort on an isolated island would be the perfect place to talk about dynamic, innovative and faithful teamwork; but you’d be wrong! Last summer, 160 UUs came together for Lifespan Religious Education Week on Star Island and had a...
    12/11/2015
  • A Humanist Holiday Season

    The holiday season is upon us! This is a time of religious celebration. Christmas music is playing on the radio and in stores and restaurants, and nativity displays are everywhere. Many of our UU congregations have nativity displays as well. Our choirs sing Christmas carols, and...
    12/1/2015
  • Reclaiming the Heart of Humanity

    A UU, two Hindus, and a Baha’i walk into a Christian Ethiopian restaurant. The opening line to a culturally insensitive joke? No, my last dinner at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. In October, I attended the fifth Parliament in Salt Lake City. This one followed two...
    By Jessica York | 11/23/2015
  • Southern Witness: Inspiration from Our History

    How would your congregation respond if a bomb threat forced you to shorten the post-service reception welcoming new members and re-locate child care for the stewardship dinner that evening? In March of 1965 Unitarian Universalists in Birmingham, Alabama, responded to such a...
    11/13/2015
  • Military Ministry: Welcoming All Souls in Our Congregations

    Welcoming people into our congregations takes a conscious effort. Being open to their stories, accepting them in their differences, and allowing their presence and experiences to transform us can be difficult, even when a person’s stories seem similar to our own. But, when a...
    11/3/2015
  • Both Relationships and Ramps

    How intentionally does your faith community include people who have disabilities? I would guess that leadership meetings about buildings and budgets are where the intentions show up: Can we build a ramp to the front door? How much will it cost? Of course, physical accommodations...
    By Susan Lawrence | 10/26/2015
  • Multigenerational Faith Community: Everyone Included!

    Overwhelmingly, Unitarian Universalist faith communities want to be more inclusive of all ages, but aren’t sure how to do it. Creating intentional multigenerational communities means doing things differently. It means thinking creatively and constantly asking, are we considering...
    By Pat Kahn | 10/15/2015
  • We Read Together: Just Mercy

    Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson is the 2015-16 UUA Common Read. This beautifully written book looks closely at the life stories and circumstances of people who have been sentenced to die at the hands of the state or to live out their lives in...
    By Gail Forsyth-Vail | 10/1/2015
  • Tashlich and the River

    Fifteen years ago, when I was the religious educator in North Andover, Massachusetts, we held a tashlich ritual as part of marking the Jewish Days of Awe. People of all ages put bread crumbs in bowls of water to recognize the actions they were sorry for and to symbolize a new...
    By Gail Forsyth-Vail | 9/22/2015
  • Hand in Glove: UU Faith Development and Teaching Tolerance

    I recently had a fantastic opportunity to attend a Teaching Tolerance workshop on their new Perspectives for a Diverse America (free) curriculum. Teaching Tolerance was founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center to help reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations, and...
    By Pat Kahn | 9/12/2015

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