Two of my daughters are participating in Our Whole Community, a service module in their continuing religious education–and mine. Last year, my oldest daughter joined a group of 11 other 12 to 14 year-olds from five or six churches in the wider Chicago Community where the enrollment of middle-school children was too few in any of them to have a real comprehensive Coming of Age program. So these kids were trucked in from places flung far from the middle of Chicago and spent weekends together creating their own community. Some of those kids aged out of the program and some new ones have joined–including my middle daughter, who found the first day-long experience pretty exciting.
Thanks to the Rev. Dr. Randy Becker, the Rev. Brian Covell, Sue Dunmore and Keeley Sorotki (DRE at Second Unitarian Church), and thanks, also to the wonders of email and cell phones, my girls now have age-mates in their faith that they wouldn’t have otherwise–except each other. We live in Indiana, and our small church has weathered thick and (mostly) thin through its 130-odd years operating in a place where it really shouldn’t be.
There’s something comforting to me that my girls have a place now, albeit sporadic and far-flung, to be with other UU kids. It is a place where they get to let their hair down, so to speak, and it has given my girls a healthy dose of self-knowledge, this being with kids who find them weird simply beause they are–not because of where they go to church, or that they go at all.
Not sure why I’m writing about this, other than that I am grateful for Our Whole Community, where ministers reach out to provide a safety net for all–even giggly, wiggly middle school girls (and boys).