Like children, adults need a stable, loving community that is intentional about what it draws out of people. Does the community exemplify that people are good? Is your story valuable to those around you? Is there service to the surrounding community that is enriching and relational? Is the singing in church beautiful and settling? This is the nebulous side of religious education, but it is the foundation for the more structured programs.
In regard to a valuable and evocative program, the secret is variety. Congregations should be able to choose from many options that are offered by thoughtful and responsive leadership. Of course this depends on the size of the congregation, but whether it is scaled up or down, a healthy program will have plenty of opportunities for learning – small groups for connection and relationship, shared meals for fellowship and service, choir for beauty and practice, special lectures to whet the intellect, credo groups for discernment and theological clarification, retreats for rest and renewal, educational classes for betterment of self and to expand the mind, and plenty of opportunities to talk about or act for justice. There should be extra attention given to age appropriate programming: for example, Theology on Tap for the young adults, discussion on teenage depression for parents, and aging groups for the seniors and their families.
Adult RE is so much more than social connection; it’s finding things drawn out of yourself by engaging in a community that is intentional about what it hopes to draw out.
Overview of class: What can we learn by looking back into our religious history? Our national history? In order to fully comprehend the religious/racial climate of today, we remember that slavery ended 170 short years ago; we continue to struggle through an extended period of reconstruction. This class will view our present racial and and national situation in direct correlation to the recent history of massive trans-atlantic slave trade and civil war.