As we move from the month of September to the month of October, and the Soul Matters theme shifts from Expectation to Belonging, I have been giving a lot of thought to what my expectations were for the RE program at the start of this year, and whether or not they were realistic. One of the things I hoped for but didn’t necessarily expect was the amazing response we received to our summer outreach. Several families who haven’t been here in a while have come back in response to the phone conversations, texts and invitations extended to them. And I think most of them are returning with a desire to feel as if they belong here.
As we transition this month to thinking about what it means to be a people of belonging, I encourage you all to think about what it means for families to belong here at WUUC, and what your role in nurturing that feeling of belonging might be. We have had several families come back, what can you do to help make them feel like they belong here? Here are a few suggestions.
· Can you make time to assist in the nursery, RE class or youth group? We are still looking for volunteers at all levels of the RE program.
· During the service, think about how you can make the parents and children who are there feel more welcome. Smiles, comments of encouragement and solidarity, offers of help; all of those things make families feel like they belong here with us in our church.
· During coffee hour, talk to the children, the youth, the parents. Learn their names. Find out what their interests are. Ask what they are doing in RE or if they have attended any of the parent groups.
· On the 2nd Wednesday of the month (beginning Oct. 9), you could volunteer to cook a meal and have dinner with the families of young children in our congregation. It is a great opportunity to support our parents, have dinner with and get to know church members you might not otherwise interact with. Or you could volunteer to provide childcare on those evenings after dinner while the parents are having their support group meeting.
We have had an amazing and busy September. I can’t wait to see what the next month brings! As always, I welcome your questions and suggestions.
Director of Religious Education