Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Handout 2: Faith Development Tasks

Adapted from an essay, Learning Types and their Needs. In Essex Conversations: Vision for Lifespan Religious Education, ed. The Essex Conversations Coordinating Committee (Boston: Skinner House. 94-5).

First Task: Learn basic Unitarian Universalist religious skills; learn how we Unitarian Universalists do religion. Anne has learned how to come to church once a week, what a worship service is, what a hymn is, that we get religious inspiration from certain books and certain sets of words, and so on.

Second Task: Learn what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist; learn and explore our faith tradition, our Unitarian Universalist identity. Leslie and Carol learned lots of stuff about our Jewish and Christian heritage, other world religions we draw inspiration from, and our Unitarian Universalist tradition. Probably this task comes to mind first when thinking of the tasks of religious education.

Third Task: Learn to discern who we are as persons of faith, as religious beings. This task consists of at least three parts: discerning your religious identity as an individual member of this faith community, discerning your role within your faith community (which will change over time), and discerning your role in the wider world as a faithful person.

Forth Task: Engage in theological reflection; think about how you do religion and how to find the words to talk about what you think. This task often is ceded to theological schools—displayed through Kathleen's thinking about becoming a minister—but it should also be happening in congregations all the time.

Fifth Task: Having discerned who you are as a religious being and gone on to theological reflection, establish and refine your religious practices. You might learn new techniques of prayer or meditation, learn a new role in your congregation, engage in social actions or find a job consistent with your faith.

These last three tasks can become an ongoing cycle leading to continued growth and deepening of faith.

About the Author

Dan Harper

The Rev. Dan Harper is assistant minister of religious education at the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church of Palo Alto, Calif. He blogs at

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