Vision and Mission in Our Education Program

Charlie19"The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own….In a word, the great end is to awaken the soul; to bring understanding, conscience and heart into earnest vigorous action on religious and moral truth, to excite and cherish spiritual life." -William Ellery Channing

Lately I have been having a hard time using the term Religious Education (RE) to describe our program. In large part, I have observed that people are turned off by the idea of religious education or have a limited view of what RE is. What words better encapsulate this notion of stirring up minds, awakening the soul, and inspiring action? How can we invite new families into this endeavor if they have been turned off by religion in the past?

In my first year as the Director of Religious Education, the RE Council worked on clarifying our mission and vision for the educational and spiritual work that we do at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. This was a helpful process to guide our work with students of all ages and I think we clarified the actual work of our religious education program. The visioning process is ongoing though, and I have been enjoying conversations with families about what they envision for their children and themselves in their spiritual and UU educations. Please let me know if you would like to talk about our education program’s mission and vision -- for any age.

Mission Statement

Religious Education at USNF engages children and youth with lessons, activities, community service, and events which exemplify the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism.  RE brings together community members of all ages to learn, grow, grapple, celebrate, and serve together.

Vision Statement

Religious Education at USNF is:

  • a primary hub through which members of the congregation develop a robust and affirming sense of self, community, and faith.
  • a nurturing environment in which members of the congregation become religiously literate by exploring Unitarian Universalist history, principles, and values, and gaining an appreciation of our neighboring faiths. 
  • an affirming community in which all members feel valued, and become invested in valuing others.
  • an incubator for personal and communal work for social justice.  
  • a space where children and youth experience safety and radical acceptance.