By Meredyth Fleisher
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, one of our most admirable accomplishments is our commitment to lifelong learning. Our roots run deep in a fertile ground of education, thanks in no small part to the curiosity and interest of our founding members, many of whom were professors at the University of Georgia.
This original group, consisting of around 6-10 families met weekly in member’s homes in order to listen to speakers and provide a forum for rational discussion. This tradition continues to this day in our own weekly forums, but it is by no means the only opportunity for spiritual growth and religious exploration. Over the years as our fellowship has grown, we have strived to encourage the free and responsible search for truth and meaning through sponsoring and facilitating religious exploration in all our members.
Every week our children come to class rooms to learn about the values and principles that bind us together as a community of faith. Our Religious Education Mission is “to provide, through the participation of parents and other members of this congregation, guidance for our children and youth in their personal, ethical, and spiritual exploration, in a safe, nurturing, inclusive, and engaging environment. As early as three years old, our youth are learning UU values as Chalice Children, and these lessons continue as our youth grow in Rainbow, Seeker, JRUU, and YRUU classes. On Sunday, May 18, the Fellowship will honor the volunteers who make UUFA Lifespan Religious Education a success.
In addition to our religious exploration offerings for younger learners, UUFA offers several opportunities for adult learning through our Stepping Stones program. Currently, members and friends can take part in opportunities like book discussions, A Chosen Faith classes, Writing as a Spiritual Practice sessions, the Ethical Eating group and leadership development courses such as our Lay Ministry Training.
Those aren’t the only ways that religious exploration and lifespan development are encouraged at UUFA though. Driven by our fourth principle, the individual search for truth and meaning, members and friends are encouraged to seek out growth through involvement in all aspects of the life of our fellowship. Learning doesn’t exist solely in a classroom or forum, and one of the best things about being a member or friend of UUFA is the opportunity to learn from each other as we come together in a community. Members of our Goddess Group explore women’s religious history and thealogy together, while our Green Sanctuary committee have worked together to educate themselves and our congregation on ways to become more sustainable. Even our Fourth Sunday lunches provide opportunity for learning, as anyone who has ever tried out a new recipe to share can attest!
Visit the Diamond JUUbilee page here.