RE NEWS by Joanne Dingus

Joanne Dingus  (Director of Religious Education)

Joanne Dingus
(Director of Religious Education)

By Joanne Dingus

Ready or not here I come! If you’ve ever played Hide and Seek, you’ve probably heard those words. They signal all the people hiding that the seeker is coming their way. Well, we have not been hiding but we have been gone. Soon we will be back in our building and there is no doubt in my mind that I’m ready! Ready to be back to our building, our spiritual home. Ready to be back to two services where we see all our community. Ready to be back to the programs that enrich our lives. Ready to be back to the meetings and work that give us opportunities to serve.

We have made the best of a difficult situation and there are many people to thank for making everything work so well. I think we’ve all appreciated the beautiful facility at Sandy Bottom and many of us have put it on our wish list for when we build a new sanctuary some day.
Having this time away from our building has reminded me of all we have at the Fellowship. Having the building torn apart for weeks has been difficult but we will surely enjoy all the beautiful updates.
On Saturday, April 25th I went to the Cluster Meeting in Glen Allen. The theme of the event was multigenerational church. I attended a break out session on Worship and went to the Religious Education workshop and Music workshop. In the Worship session we shared the pros and cons of  multigenerational services.
In the Religious Education workshop we talked about ways to connect people of different ages. I was happy to share that our congregation does a great job of this already. We have special programs from time to time that facilitate this, Coming of Age mentors, Fellowship Friends, Multigenerational Workshop Day, Game Nights, Clean up days and our music programs, to name a few. But I also see people of all ages getting to know each other every week at hospitality. People are friendly here and really show they care.
Preschool through elementary school children share in the first part of the service each week. Our adults know who they are and this makes a difference. Our middle and high school youth are less visible as they go to class directly. But I plan to give them a chance to participate in services more often this fall.
The Workshop I was most inspired by was the one on Music. Glen Allen has a full time Music Director who has created a true Music Ministry. This semester they offered 22 different classes. From Ukulele Ensemble, Boneshakers Drum choir, Soul Singing, Handbell Choir, Sign Language Ensemble, Clowns Around Town to Liturgical Dance. Most groups are open to people of all ages and talents. Some perform in a Sunday service, some perform in public, some perform just in class. The classes are designed for success so that everyone feels encouraged and part of a team. This ministry has been so popular that their church membership has increased dramatically. And you could tell that the excitement and positivity around it has permeated the rest of the church.
I would love to explore the possibilities of a Music Ministry at our Fellowship.
And there are other things to look at as well. Recently, our student minister has been in conversation with the Boys and Girls Club. We may have an opportunity to partner with them and make a real difference in our own neighborhood. I was in conversation recently with a congregant who has a gardening project that could bring together RE, Social Justice, Fellowship Circles and Green Sanctuary. Next year’s Communications Chair has expressed interest in forming multigenerational pairs to learn with each other to cover different aspects of social networking, filming and Fellowship news. There is so much we can do as we spread the good news of Unitarian Universalism.

It has taken time to restore and renovate our building. Let’s return with renewed enthusiasm for all that we do at the UUFP. Ready! Here we come.

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One Response to RE NEWS by Joanne Dingus

  1. Sarah Pierce-Davis says:

    here, here! Well said Joanne!

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