Whenever I hear the word “hope,” it immediately brings to mind Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers.” The first stanza reads:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops at all.
During this year that has felt particularly challenging for me, in a variety of ways, hope has often felt in short supply. What helps to keep the “tune” going for me, even when it’s at low volume, is the work that our congregation has done, and continues to do, with religious education and faith formation. It fills me with hope to see new families joining us, to see the number of families who return each year, and to see the support that the congregation has stepped up to offer.
In the new year, it is my goal to put together a group of people who are interested in talking about what MSUS wants for our religious education program, and what faith formation needs are present in our congregation.
- What is it we offer children, youth, and families that they can’t get anywhere else?
- What do our children and youth need from us to feel at home in our faith, and our weekly worship services, when they become adults in the church?
- What does it look like for our congregation to minister to not only children and youth, by providing opportunities for religious education, but to the whole family?
These are big questions, but I am convinced that we are up for the challenge. If you have thoughts about religious education at MSUS, or ideas about how to answer any of these questions, please share them with me on a Sunday morning, via email Anna Paquette, or, preferably, by being part of the religious education council when it begins to meet again in the new year.
Thank you all for your support of the religious education program this year, and for helping to keep the “tune without words” going, even if you aren’t always aware you’re doing so. I wish all of you the happiest of holidays, with hearts filled with hope and joy, as we look to the new year ahead!