Today we kick off Religious Education classes with [over number registered] children and youth in our congregation. [Number of volunteers] adult volunteers carry the sacred privilege and responsibility of journeying beside them on our behalf.
Unitarian Universalism is a faith that has the power to save lives, to shape lives, to sweeten and soften the lives of kids and teenagers who are living in a world that can sometimes be harsh, lonely, unjust, unkind.
Let their Religious Education classes be a constant, a comfort, a community for our kids, a place that holds them in love and gives them strength as they navigate their complicated lives. A time of rest, recreation, respite, and refueling. A scaffold that supports them as they grow into who they were meant to be.
Now we offer a moment of blessing for our kids. Children and youth, if you’re willing, please take the hand of a parent or other trusted grownup as you receive this blessing.
Adults of the congregation, will you recognize, affirm and protect the light in each child’s heart? If so, answer, “We will.”
Will you support their religious upbringing by making this a place of joyful welcome, a place where they feel known and loved? If so, answer, “We will.”
And as you are called, will you support this ministry with our children with your time, your treasure, your talent? If so, answer, “We will.”
May it be so.
And now adults who are serving as classroom volunteers or youth advisors this year, will you please stand as you are willing and able? We’re going to have you stay standing for a bit, so get comfortable.
Children, parents, and all the other adults of the congregation, we are going to shower these teachers with some of the intangible gifts they will need to bring on the journey that’s ahead. Can you think of one of these intangible gifts they’ll need? I need an example please.
[Pause…] Yes, ___! They will need that!
Now, let’s all take a quick, quiet moment to come up with two or three gifts we hope these teachers will carry. In just a minute we’re going to shout them out. [Pause]
Teachers, will you reach out your hands like this to catch some of the blessings we have for you? [Hold hands open, palms up, and arms extended to demonstrate.]
We’ll do this like a wave. When I point toward your part of the sanctuary, shout out your blessing words.
Teachers, we offer you these blessings! [Gesture to indicate for folks on one side of the sanctuary to shout out their blessings, then sweep across the congregation until everyone has been invited.]
We are so grateful for you. May you be blessed, and may you be a blessing. You may be seated.