Religious Education

Children's Religious Education

In June, 2016, MSUS will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. This article focuses on Religious Education.

MSUS has had a Religious Education (RE) program since 1967. As many as 60 children were enrolled in ‘Sunday School’ in the first years. MSUS rented space at nearby Riverwood Elementary School (now torn down) on East River Road to accommodate classes. The nursery was in the basement of the church so parents were close. After moving to the current location, four RE classes were conducted in the current Social Hall separated only by particle board partitions.

MSUS has had both paid and unpaid Directors of Religious Education. Members volunteered for the job until the first Director of Religious Education (DRE) was hired. Whether or not we had paid staff depended on the number of children registered in RE. Child participation waxed and waned over the decades with high points in the late 1960s, early 80s, 90s, 2000s and 2010s.

50th Anniversary Trivia!!

TRIVIA QUESTION!! Which member(s) served the longest as a volunteer DRE?

BONUS QUESTION!! Name the PAID DREs - both members and non-members. And why is one name all lower case letters?

STILL ANOTHER BONUS QUESTION!! Who was the youngest DRE ever named?

Scroll down for answers.






50th Anniversary Trivia Answers

TRIVIA QUESTION!! Which member(s) served the longest as a volunteer DRE?

Sarah Greene was Chair of the RE Committee from 1980-86 essentially fulfilling the role of DRE. The Sunday School thrived – resulting the decision to hire a part time DRE.
Chad Snyder was Chair of the RE Committee for 6 years from 2005 to 2011.

BONUS QUESTION!! Name the paid DREs - both members and non-members.

Meg Wilson (now the Rev. Meg Riley): 1986-87
Lisa Doege (the Rev. Doege, Hanska): 1987-89
tom kunesh **: 1989-90
Nancy S*: 1990-92
Sharleen S*: 1992-97
Andrea P*: 1997-99
Dale Handeen: 1999-2006
Christine Spiritwolf (died October 2015): 2011-15
Anna Paquette* - acting: 2015-

** tom kunesh chose to spell his name this way because his Native American heritage framed his view of his place in the world.
* MSUS members

ANOTHER BONUS QUESTION!! Who was the youngest DRE ever named?

Elizabeth Hughes Hitomi was appointed as DRE in July 1973 when she was starting her senior year at Fridley High School. In the 1972-73 church year, Dick Shope was DRE and Beth helped with the preschoolers and primary grade children. When the Dick and family moved to South America mid-year, Beth was nominally in charge until June. No adult volunteers could be found as DRE for the next year so the Trustees appointed Beth who tried valiantly to recruit teachers. No one wanted to help so "Sunday School" was cancelled, and no classes were held for two years. Members began to notice that visitors with children came once and never returned. That restarted interest in supporting a religious
education program.