These are the “souvenirs” of my weekend at a UU Identity Renaissance Module. (Ren Mods are the continuing education courses designed for religious educators that the UUA has published). The stones were on the altar for our closing worship, with the little chalices on the bottoms hidden away, and we were all asked to come up and say what we had brought with us and what we were taking away, and then choose a stone to keep. The surprise of the little chalice painted on it seemed to delight people when they noticed it on their stones. The wooden knob was what I selected from a basket of odds and ends to represent my UU identity – because it’s what helps me get a handle on the meaning of my life. Yes, I got punny with it, but what was I supposed to do when faced with a basket full of things like paper clips, plastic flowers, stones, dice, and Duplo men?
This module is all about the UU Identity: whether there is one or a core identity to being a UU, the stages of UU Identity formation, how we experience our own identity as UU’s, and how we as religious educators foster UU identity formation in others. One of the exercises had us sort ourselves into a line from the newest UU to those with the most years as a UU. I’ve been a UU for 20 years now, which actually came as a surprise to me when I did the math. 20 years!
All in all, it was a useful training and a fun weekend of sharing with colleagues. We don’t get nearly enough time to spend with one another, and as we are all somewhat isolated in the churches we serve because of our role as staff, this is where we can actually experience the sort of religious community most people get in their congregations.