Religious Exploration
Harriot Arnold, RE Coordinator

Come visit!

We welcome you and your family, whatever your religious background,
ethnicity, color, sexual orientation, gender expression, family structure,
income, or abilities may be.

Please join us!

Click here to read our RE's column in this month's newsletter

REMEMBER: Register your children on-line at SNUUC.org or in person on Sunday. Click here to register your child today!

Welcome to the 2016-2017 Religious Education program at
South Nassau UU Congregation!

For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.” - John Greenleaf Whittier

[Note from Harriet Arnold, RE Coordinator: This following was written by Ann P. Stephenson, the director of Lifespan Religious Education First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, NY. I received it from a colleague and asked the author if I could reprint it for our congregation as it expressed beautifully what I was struggling to write. This has been and will continue to be our message in Religious Education. We must all strive to be a beacon to our children so they may continue the important work of loving each other.]

It never ceases to amaze me — the way Life has of changing, sometimes with dizzying rapidity. We have all experienced it. A birth. A death. A slippery roadway. A collapsing skyscraper. Disbelief. And then — bam. There exists a line in the fabric of our being. A dissonant thread running through the bright tapestry, a point of demarcation. A before, and an after.

Eleanor RooseveltSometimes, they are extraordinary moments of light — like the coming of a child. And sometimes... Well, sometimes they are not.

On those Days After, we find ourselves as I find myself today, reaching for a fixed point by which to reorient. A constant; a North Star. And today, that star, shining brightly in my night sky of doubt, is Love.

What has this to do with RE? Everything. At no time in our lives is it more important than it is at this moment, to stand up. To speak our truth. To commit to our principles and act. As stewards of this world, and the young people in it, at no time has it been more important to teach Peace. Teach Tolerance. Teach Inclusivity and Abundance. To embrace Spaciousness and Wonder.

When the agents of fear, of scarcity, of exclusion and separation stand in full view, their voices raised in broad daylight — we are given a gift of sorts. The gift of contrast. The gift of traction. The wheels of good often spin in the sand of obfuscation and confusion. Of injustice clothed in the garb of establishment, of business as usual. Not today.

Let the shock of this ugliness be like coarse gravel beneath our boots. Let us use this time of stark con- trasts to stand in opposition to all that is not Love. It is the universal solvent, the shining light—no matter how encrusted our reality may seem at times. Let us embrace it. Let us be that light for our children. Let us teach peace. Let us teach tolerance. Let us teach love.
Thank you for all you do, have done, or will do — in the service of our principles, and in the service of love.

Published with permission of Ann P. Stephenson, MA, who is Director of Lifespan Religious Education at First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, NY.


Harriet Arnold, Religious Education Coordinator

golden Rule

Value Based Religious Education As Unitarian Universalists, we envision children and youth who...

♦ realize that they are moral agents, capable of making a difference
in the lives of others, and in the health of our planet.

♦ feel safe & free to form their own answers to life’s great religious questions. ♦ become familiar with, and show respect for, history and wisdom of other religious traditions.

♦ recognize the importance of community, the importance of families of all
kinds, the importance of relationships among generations.

♦ experience joy, awe, and gratitude in response to life’s gifts...and find hope
and healing in the face of life’s challenges.

♦ appreciate the religious heritage of Unitarian Universalism, and feel at home
and among friends in this faith community.

Parental Responsibilities and a Covenant Between Us
Our RE ministry is a cooperative of parents who make common commitments for the mutual benefit of all children and youth. These include:

♦ Striving for consistent attendance, which demonstrates that the congregation and faith are important. Building trust and friendship nurtures our common life.
♦ Showing our commitment to South Nassau UU Congregation by making a financial pledge for the year.
♦ Staying informed by reading the Open Line, the Wednesday eblast and emails from the RE program.
♦ Working out a schedule to volunteer in the program (average of 2 hours a month is requested).
This is essential to our program, and we thank you. We know how busy all parents are!
♦ Remaining in the building while the children are in educational programming and picking them up when the program time has ended.
♦ Providing timely feedback (both positive and constructive) in order to help assess and improve the program.
♦ Offering each other mutual support and encouragement as we strive to live within the covenants of SNUUC and move as UU parents toward spiritual growth in our homes.

Unitarian Universalist Principles
We are a covenantal faith community with NO creed to which members must subscribe.

We convenant, however, to affirm and promote the following principles:

♦ The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
♦ Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
♦ Acceptance of and encouragement for one another as we work toward spiritual growth in our congregations;
♦ A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
♦ The right to apply conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society;
♦ The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
♦ Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.

Sources of the Living Tradition
In pursuit of these principles, we draw wisdom from the continuously revealed sources named below:

♦ Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and upholdlife;
♦ Words and deeds of prophetic women and men. These challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
♦ Inspired wisdom from the world’s religions which helps guide us in our ethical and spiritual lives;
♦ Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
♦ Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
♦ Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.


Thoughts from the RE Coordinator (Summer newsletter)

“There once was a Bald Man who sat down after work on a hot summer's day. A Fly came up and kept buzzing about his bald pate, and stinging him from time to time. The Man aimed a blow at his little enemy, but - whack - his palm come on his own head instead; again the Fly tormented him, but this time the Man was wiser and said: You will only injure yourself if you take notice of despicable enemies. - Aesop

This summer as we enjoy the long, warm days and nights punctuated by political fighting and rhetoric that may sting our UU ears, let us remember that one of our most renowned Unitarians, Ralph Waldo Emerson, warned us that, Do what we can, summer will have its flies. And truer words were never spoken but I must take issue with the wise Aesop and his moral to the story. At this time we must not only take notice of the despicable and acknowledge its presence but we must stand together to stop the rhetoric of hate. Never has it been more important to be Standing on the Side of Love.
I wish you all a peaceful summer of family, friends, joy and warmth and the courage to live our values every day.
Read to each other every day and I look forward to seeing you all in the sanctuary this summer and in a refurbished RE space in the fall.

Harriet Arnold, RE Coordinator