What is Religious Exploration?
Religious Exploration (RE) refers to programs beyond Sunday Worship that deepen our understanding of the formation of our faith, beliefs, and spiritual practices, and of how to incorporate our most sacred values into the actions that form the fabric of our lives. These programs are informed by the deep commitment to humanity that has always been characteristic of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) tradition. Together, in developmentally appropriate ways, we explore how we can imagine the world and the living beings in it, how others understand those things, and how we can participate in the world in ways that are beneficial, meaningful, and rich with spiritually-informed values.
UU Religious Exploration seeks an outcome of respectful, responsible, life-loving people who know they are valued for all of who they are and who are ready to show others the same deep acceptance. Parents and caregivers come to UU congregations for communities that help raise children to become kind, respectful, fair-minded, caring, and strong enough to side with love and fight for justice. UU religious exploration and participation in worship, social justice work, and multigenerational gatherings reinforce what parents teach at home. We nurture truth-seeking, spirituality, and progressive moral values that will continue to shape and support our children as they grow.
UU children’s and youth programs build resilience, offering support through life’s tough times and encouraging each child to connect with their own quest for purpose and meaning. Kids learn respect for others and respect for themselves. They experience spiritual practices and learn ways to center themselves, whether by sitting cross-legged and taking a few deep breaths, giving thanks before they eat a meal, or looking up at the stars in wonder. Our programs create peer connections that break the patterns of a school or neighborhood social scene, allowing children to build genuine friendships across differences. It is common for our RE programs to combine story, song, art, movement, discussion, and play to engage children with many learning styles, abilities, and activity levels. We seek to embody a spirit of inclusivity for all the young folk who join us.
During the 2019-2020 year, our programs will especially emphasize the theme of spiritualities of embodiment, with emphases on personal identity and mindfulness, ecology, and social justice.
Beyond children’s and youth programs, RE programs are also available for Adults (ages 18+).
UUA/UCC Our Whole Lives (OWL) comprehensive sexuality curricula are also available for children and youth, both within our UUCSC community and in our local, Los Angeles community. Currently, we refer all families interested in sexuality education to the programs offered by More Than Sex-Ed. In the 2019-2020 year, UUCSC will be exploring its status as a Welcoming Congregation, looking to ensure that all who would be with our community find us a place of sanctuary and peace. To that end, children and youth engaging in Religious Exploration with us this year will be exposed to a contemporary understanding of gender identity as a tool for allyship.
For more information about our Religious Exploration program, please contact our Director of Religious Exploration, Dr. Jason Taksony Hewitt at DRE@UUStudioCity.org.