Join the Ministry of Religious Exploration by Sarah Ahrens, DRE

The following are the opportunities we currently have for teachers and advisors for the 2018 – 2019 program year.

Please contact the Director of Religious Exploration, Sarah Ahrens, at dre@hunterdonuu.org for more information and/or to volunteer for one of these positions:

Current as of June 27, 2018

Grades 9 – 12, Youth Group (YG): 

  • Three volunteers needed
  • We are currently still exploring the best time and format for Youth Group meetings. Advisors will rotate through the meetings in pairs of two. There may be onsite meetings, off-site field trips and/or overnights depending on what the group plans.

Grades 7 – 9, Our Whole Lives:

  • One volunteer needed
  • Our Whole Lives (OWL) will run from Sept-May on scheduled Sundays from 12:30 – 3 pm. Advisors will rotate through the classes in pairs of two. All training (on and offsite), lesson plans, and materials will be provided.

Grades 6 – 8, Open Minds ~ Helping Hands:

  • Three volunteers needed
  • The 6-8th-grade group will meet on two Sundays of the month for various field trips from 10:30 am – 12 pm. Advisors will drive and chaperone students on trips to nature activities, other faith houses of worship, and community service events. Each advisor will attend an average of 10 events/trips throughout the year.

Grades 3 – 5, Soul Matters & Tapestry of Faith – Monthly Theme Based RE – aligns with worship:

  • Four volunteers needed
  • The 3-5th-grade group will be working on a combination of Soul Matters and Tapestry of Faith curricula. The volunteers will rotate in pairs of two, alternating teaching (5 times) and assisting (5 times) throughout the year. Due to Super Sundays and monthly Multigenerational Worship services, there will only be two RE lessons monthly during the 10:30 am service hour. All training, lesson plans, & materials provided. No prior experience required.

Grades K – 2, Soul Matters & Tapestry of Faith –  Monthly Theme Based RE – aligns with worship:

  • Four volunteers needed
  • The K-2nd-grade group will be working on a combination of Soul Matters and Tapestry of Faith curricula. The volunteers will rotate in pairs of two, alternating teaching (5 times) and assisting (5 times) throughout the year.  Due to Super Sundays and monthly Multigenerational Worship services, there will only be two RE lessons monthly during the 10:30 am service hour. All training, lesson plans, & materials provided. No prior experience required.

Religious Exploration Committee

  • Three volunteers needed
  • The RE Committee meets quarterly and members assist with serving as Acting DRE in the DRE’s absence, planning Super Sundays and Multigenerational activities, and general program support and visioning

I have a crazy schedule, so I can’t teach. Is there another way I can help?

Yes! Our RE program can use volunteers in countless ways.  Please ask the DRE about some of these other options –

  • Super Sunday Assistants – We need 3 assistants for each monthly Super Sunday to work with our K-12th-grade social justice events during the 10:30 am service. This can be a one-time commitment and requires no preparation in advance.
  • Nursery Assistants & Substitutes – We occasionally need someone to help out in the Nursery. Offering your name to a list of subs will help out greatly when needed.
  • Multigenerational Event Assistants – The RE Committee offers at least one Multigenerational Event per month, either on or off-site, to provide opportunities for all to engage in our mission of Nurturing Spiritual Journeys & Expanding Social Justice. We are always looking for folks to help plan, coordinate or just assist with these events.

Why do teachers volunteer their time?

The best way to get an answer to that is to ask one of our teachers! Sharing the excitement of learning and exploring new ideas with children and youth can be a very special experience. We learn as much, or more, from them as they do from us, and their fresh outlook helps us to keep our youthful perspective.  The curriculum materials we provide allow you the opportunity to celebrate both Unitarian Universalism itself, as well as the religious traditions of other cultures. You will explore and clarify your own religious ideas, and delve into the varied religious heritages that have influenced Unitarian Universalism.

I’m still forming my own beliefs. How can I teach religion to children?

As UU’s, most of us spend our entire lives formulating our religious beliefs. It’s a part of what we’re all about! Since we have no creed, we don’t try to “teach” our children religion. Instead, we help them to question, to wonder, to grow their own spirituality. We teach them how to think about religion, not what to think about it. Our teachers don’t need theological certainty, just open minds, and open hearts.

What if I don’t know how to teach?

That’s okay – we’ll help you! We’ll have a comprehensive training workshop before classes begin so you’ll feel right at home with our RE program. The Director of Religious Exploration (DRE) will provide ongoing practical and emotional support. It is very rewarding to share the joy of celebration and discovery. The children will benefit from your viewpoint as differing perspectives are invaluable to their growth.

Will I be teaching alone?

You’ll be a part of a teaching team of four teachers per class. When it’s your turn to teach, another member of your team will be there to assist. Our curricula are designed to be easy to use and are so complete that all you need to do is follow the directions.  The DRE will check in with you, offer suggestions when asked, and help you find the supplies and resources you need.

My kids are grown (or I don’t have kids). Why should I get involved in RE?

Social responsibility begins at home, within our own church family. What better way to assure our future, as well as that of our denomination, than to work with children/youth, who are its heartbeat? We have approximately 80 children and youth to our 135 adult members.  We NEED ALL people to get involved in order to keep our congregation thriving!

What if I enjoy the sermons too much to miss them?

Good News! RE classes meet at all different times, depending on the group you are working with. Please reference the chart to see the approximate meeting time and expectations for each age group. The teaching teams work together to ensure that the schedule works for everyone. The teaching/assisting schedules are flexible, and adjustments can be easily made as needed. The DRE will work with you to find a good match for both your scheduling needs and personal talents and interests.