Religious Education in Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalists are united by shared values, expressed in our seven Principles. Our fourth Principle affirms the importance of a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning." This is the foundation of a Unitarian Universalist approach to religious education.
Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Philosophy
We believe that the search for truth begins as soon as a child can think and spans one’s entire lifetime. As Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing wrote, "The great end of religious instruction is not to stamp our minds irresistibly upon the young but to stir up their own." Understanding that parents are the primary religious educators of their children, Unitarian Universalist congregations covenant to support families in their free faith journey.
Unitarian Universalist religious methodologies come from progressive religious educators Unitarian Sophia Lyon Fahs, Universalist Angus MacLean, and others. They brought understandings from social science and liberal theology to Unitarian Universalist religious education, lifting up the child's natural experiences and questions as central to their religious growth. We are indebted, too, to liberation educator Paulo Friere and other progressives who believe that an education that includes problem solving and critical thinking empowers people to change the world.
What a Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Offers
We strive to provide children, youth, young adults, and adults an opportunity to explore the world and their own experiences in a nurturing community as they develop their own beliefs and meet their spiritual needs. Unitarian Universalist religious education programs offer all ages:
- Spiritual growth through a variety of practices and traditions
- Ethical growth through support for living out one’s values
- Religious exploration of the basic teachings of other religions and philosophies
- Encouragement to act as agents of change for more peace, justice and love in the world
- Unitarian Universalist identity and a lifelong faith
Religious Education Resources
Congregations are free to choose what curricula they teach. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) provides lifelong religious education resources free of charge through the Tapestry of Faith series. Additional resources, available from the UUA Bookstore, include our expanding series of Tapestry of Faith Toolkit Books and materials to lead Our Whole Lives comprehensive sexuality education programs.
Religious Education in Congregations
Religious education programs include more than classes. Many programs incorporate social justice activities, worship opportunities, service trips, fellowship and fun. Professional religious educators may administer religious education programs, yet most congregations rely on volunteer lay leaders to teach classes and organize additional activities.
Children’s religious education programs are often offered on Sunday mornings during the worship service. Youth and adult religious education classes are usually offered afternoons, evenings during the week.
To experience Unitarian Universalism firsthand, we invite you to visit a congregation near you!
For more information contact info @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Tuesday, April 10, 2012.