Religious Education Ebook
Unitarian fellowships are creedless, meaning they require no expression of shared dogmas, doctrines, or religious beliefs. In lieu of doctrines, the denomination is organized around Seven UU Principles (outlined in the Appendix). The majority of Unitarian Universalists identify as atheists or agnostics, and an even larger percentage (91 percent) include humanist as one of their self-identities.8 Unitarian Universalist congregations have a well-developed religious education program for kids, focusing on comparative religion and ethics, as well as a highly regarded sex education program. There are currently over 1,040 UU fellowships in North America, so the odds are good that you will find one or more in your area.
For nonreligious parents interested in a less congregational option for a community of shared values, the freethought group model may be appealing. Such groups to date have seldom had programs for children and families, but this is changing rapidly. The Humanist Community in Palo Alto, California, for example, offers a humanist Sunday school program that was profiled in TIME,10 committed to ethics education. Similar programs are starting up at local humanist groups in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, and Portland. Once you've found some interested folks and secured support from the group's leadership, it's time to start planning the program. A common mistake people make in this phase is trying to do too much too fast. You and the other families interested in this group are probably very busy people without the time to write a whole Sunday School curriculum or plan elaborate events. There may also not be enough demand to justify that kind of program at the beginning. they are...
Jan Devor holds a BA and MA in education from the University of Michigan. She taught middle school for thirteen years and then embarked on a seventeen year career as Director of Religious Education with Unitarian Universalist congregations in Concord, MA, and Minneapolis, MN, where she is currently serving the First Unitarian Society. Jan has been credentialed at the Master's Level in religious education by the Unitarian Universalist Association and has co-taught a graduate-level class at United Theological Seminary in religious education theory, philosophy, and practice. She and her husband have raised two Unitarian Universalist freethinkers.
Jone Johnson-Lewis, Don Montagna, and Lois Kellerman gave permission to include Steps to Seeking Forgiveness Jone and Lois offered additional advice and support. Kate Lovelady obtained permission to use the St. Louis Ethical Society Sunday School's Core Values. Arthur Dobrin generously gave permission to quote extensively from his book. Chris Lindstrom, Susan Rose, Bobbie Kirkhart, Cleo Kocol, John The King and many more people have also been helpful. Tim Madigan introduced me to the research on flow and has been a source of constant encouragement through the years.
There are currently twenty-five Ethical Societies in the United States organized around the principles of Ethical Culture, as well as a web-based Ethical Society Without Walls (www.eswow.org) for those without a local Ethical Society. According to the American Ethical Union, Ethical Culture is a humanistic religious and educational movement inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society. 9 Unlike Unitarian Universalist congregations, which have people of many different religious and nonreligious beliefs, Ethical Culture groups have a core set of beliefs. Although they are nontheistic, many people in the movement consider Ethical Culture to be their religion. Ethical Societies offer religious education programs for young children up through college students. The American Ethical Union also offers yearly youth conferences for middle school, high school, and college students. There are a lot of curriculum resources for Ethical Culture...
The American Ethical Union publishes some of its religious education curricula for kids on its website. The Love Your Neighbor curriculum is its ethics and values curriculum for preschool through early elementary school. If you are starting a children's program, you may find some of the stories and activities useful. If you are considering an Ethical Society, you may also find this curriculum interesting as an example of the children's programs offered.
Unitarian Universalist FAQ www.uufaq.com. Several exciting new resources for nonreligious parents are currently in development, including a Secular Parenting Wiki of activities related to critical thinking, ethics, meaning, and inquiry and a humanist Sunday school curriculum from the American Humanist Association. For continuous updates on new resources for non-religious parents, visit the Parenting Beyond Belief homepage at www .parentingbeyondbelief.com.