Ready or not, here it comes. “It” is of course, a new school year. The kids in my life (even my own homeschooled kids) are all making transitions this week: new schools, new classes, new teachers, new schedules, and of course all the new stuff that they need to do all those new things.
The church year follows the school year, and so we are in a transition here as well. My congregation is in a big transition at the moment, welcoming a new Interim Minister and going into a church year where we may do some things in new ways.
And the Religious Education program is in a time of transition as we try a brand new experiment for our Elementary grades – a new program I am calling Labyrinth Learning. What is Labyrinth Learning? It is a mixed grade (1st-6th) program. Labyrinth Learning has developed from the inspiration of the Way Cool Sunday School, Workshop Rotation, and Multiple Intelligences models of Unitarian Universalist Religious Education. It is a model that utilizes different learning styles so that children can self-select for what is best for their own learning, and generally emphasizes the experiential and relational nature of religious education and faith formation. And it is something brand new that we are creating for ourselves – so this is bound to be a transition and a grand adventure!
Other things will be new too: Coming of Age on Thursday evenings, a new rite-of-passage program for 6th grade, a 7 Principle program offered at our earlier worship service, and small group ministry model for high school youth group.
Are we ready? Mostly. The pencils are sharpened, the new bulletin board displays and posters are getting done, the volunteers are trained, the shopping list is in my purse, the registration packets are in the mail.
The transition is both scary and exciting. There is the unknown: how will it go? Will I make new friends? Did I put too much on my plate/schedule or is this just right? But there is also the satisfaction of newness: those spiffy classrooms waiting for the kids, those new backpacks, those empty binders waiting to be filled up. I love those signs of the new year about to unfold. I treasure that row of sharpened pencils and the potential they represent. What we will make with them? What will we learn? What fun will we have?
I cannot wait.