Religious Education Course Proposal Rubric
Part 1: Course Content
Clarity of purpose:
What questions, needs or concerns prompt this proposal? What outcomes are hoped for? How will the course help participants, our UUCB community, or some other constituency?
Is the facilitator well-informed? Does the proposal demonstrate a good understanding of the scope of the topic, different perspectives on it, historical/cultural context, and questions/growing edges of the subject area?
Alignment with UU values:
Is the proposed course consistent with UU values? Would it help deepen understanding of and commitment to UU values?
Is the proposed course inclusive, anti-oppressive? Does it demonstrate awareness of relevant historical and present-day inequities? Does it include representation of marginalized voices?
Is the proposed course interesting and engaging? Does it offer useful content and/or experiences?
Part 2: Religious Education Context
Does the proposed course meet at least one of the following criteria?
_____ Fills a need in the Prospectus, addressing at least one key RE topic area*:
- Spiritual Growth
- Spiritual Practices
- UU Identity
- Theology and Religion
- Unitarian Universalism in Life
- Social Justice
_____ Fills a need in the UUCB community.
- Building community
- Healing from conflict/trauma
- Addressing current events, issues, concerns
Part 3: Course Design
Methods are thoughtful and appropriate; considers how best to help people learn/grow; offers new information/perspectives/insights and also makes room for participants’ reflections and sharing, connections with the topic and with each other
Duration, frequency and scope:
Appropriate length, frequency (i.e. not too much info for short time period, not too long and drawn out, not unrealistically demanding on people’s schedules)
Variety of ways to engage (readings, video, lecture, discussion, writing, other); reading materials are engaging and helpful; resources are available at reasonable/minimal expense to participants and/or program budget; meeting arrangements are appropriate to audience (time of day/week, location [in-person/zoom/hybrid], childcare options)
*Key areas of religious education:
We acknowledge that we, as a faith tradition and as individuals, exist within a white supremacist, patriarchal, and colonialist culture, all of which are contrary to our Unitarian Universalist values and principles. We must, therefore, work intentionally to understand and dismantle these forces in our own lives and our organizations.
- Courses might include Widening the Circle of Concern, Raising Anti-racist Children, Jubilee Training, book discussions, Bystander workshops, etc.
- For children and youth, we strive to weave anti-oppression themes into every religious education program, both implicitly and explicitly. In addition, courses in the works include Anti Racism for children, Jubilee Kids training, and Indigenous People’s History.
On our journey toward wholeness, we seek to better understand ourselves, own our spiritual/religious past, heal old wounds, discover and develop our strengths, build trusting relationships, and more.
- Examples of courses include Listening In, Owning Your Religious Past, etc.
- For children and youth, Spiritual Growth is emphasized in Spirit Play and in elementary programming during “Seeking the Spirit” years; themes are reinforced throughout all programming.
We can grow our capacity for reflection, awareness, connection, mindfulness, compassion, groundedness, and staying calm in the face of turmoil by learning and engaging regularly with spiritual practices.
- Programs might include Yoga, Tai Chi, spiritual journaling, meditation classes, and more.
- For children and youth, Spiritual Practices are introduced in Spirit Play and in elementary programming during “Seeking the Spirit” years; they are referred to and encouraged throughout all programming.
Whether we were raised in a UU congregation, are longtime members, recent arrivals, at some point we must ask ourselves what does it mean to be a Unitarian Universalist? To answer this question, we look to our heritage, learning the stories of our Unitarian and Universalist predecessors and how the two groups came to merge; we look to Article II of our UUA Bylaws to see how we have collectively defined our purpose (currently in Principles and Sources, possibly soon in terms of Values); we listen to the words of present-day Unitarian Universalists and their various perspectives on our faith and what it means; we examine our UU rituals and practices to learn their origins and understand their meanings.
- Examples of classes include UU History, Backpedaling through the Principles (Michele Grove, 2022), etc.
- For children and youth, UU Identity themes are introduced through Spirit Play, and in elementary and middle school programming during “Seeking the Spirit” and “Building Community” years; they are revisited during “Changing the World” years as well.
Theology and Religion
Though many are triggered by the words theology and religion, we do identify ourselves as a church, and we have roots in two religious traditions with well-defined theologies. We do not, however, prescribe a theology that people must accept in order to call themselves Unitarian Universalists. Instead, we covenant to affirm and promote our own searches for truth and meaning. To do this, it can be helpful to consider age-old questions and to understand how various other religions have answered them, using this awareness to help develop our own responses and build our own belief systems.
- Possible courses include History and Philosophy of World Religions, Build Your Own Theology, etc.
- For children and youth, Theology and Religion themes are introduced through Spirit Play, and in elementary and middle school programming during “Seeking the Spirit” and “Building Community” years; they are revisited during “Changing the World” years as well.
Unitarian Universalism in Life
Unitarian Universalism is often criticized (typically from within) for being overly intellectual or theoretical. In addition, we do not adhere to a set of rules for living that might seem to make it relatively straightforward to figure out how to “live” our faith. So we have the potential for a great deal of personal and community growth when we explore what does Unitarian Universalism mean with respect to parenting, relationships, community, work, school, and other basic aspects of our lives?
- Possible courses could include workshops for parents of teenagers or young children, empty-nesters or caregivers; Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education; The Pursuit of Happiness (Brian O’Donnell); A Year to Live; etc.
- For children and youth, concepts of Unitarian Universalism are explored through Spirit Play, and in elementary and middle school programming during “Seeking the Spirit” and “Building Community” years; they are revisited during “Changing the World” years as well.
Social justice work begins with education: we educate ourselves on the issues, and raise awareness among others to grow a movement. But to be effective in our actions we must also ask ourselves some faith-related questions: Why am I drawn to this work? What inner work is necessary to ensure that I am coming from a place of humility, compassion and respect, rather than fear, guilt, or rage? What cautionary tales should I be aware of to avoid doing harm in my efforts to help? How do I form healthy, respectful relationships with those I am serving? Am I listening well?
- Potential courses include Social Justice Survey, and Love in Action.
- For children and youth, Social Justice is explored through Spirit Play, and is emphasized in elementary and middle school programming during “Changing the World” years; themes are reinforced throughout all programming.