We were sitting on a blanket, outside our Unitarian Universalist congregation. The kids and I were listening to my co-teacher, the preschoolers paying remarkable attention to her explain how our class’s Water Communion ritual from last week resulted in the Blessing Water she now held in a jar. One-by-one she asked each child if they wanted a blessing that sunny morning. After receiving consent, she moistened her hand with water, placed her palm on top of their head, and murmured words of intention for a good year together. When it was my turn, I eagerly agreed to the blessing. Her hand was warm, the air was fresh, her words were welcoming—I felt belonging in my body.
The above Water Communion ritual underscored my belief in experiential learning, no matter the age. In this and other settings, I have witnessed how small group faith formation changes lives in positive and meaningful ways.
Over the years, I have worked with people of all ages intentionally engaging in faith formation. From preschoolers to middle schoolers, from college-aged students to elders, I deeply enjoy exploring life’s questions with fellow humans.
Whether I was a Coming of Age mentor, a coordinator of the overall Religious Education program, or a facilitator for an offering geared towards adults, I came to each opportunity similarly: with a desire to build trusting relationships.
How do we agree to treat each other—what is our covenant? Could any insights about each person help guide us towards experiences that would be meaningful for them given their unique learning styles? How might we best co-create knowledge, with an eye towards justice and liberation for all? These questions are foundational; the content comes secondarily. Or as Angus MacLean summed it up: The method is the message.
“She is very thoughtful about engaging children in the story—talking with them rather than at them, and doing so in ways that are very developmentally appropriate and accessible. In all she does, she offers an authenticity that is comforting, refreshing, and welcoming.”