Building Bridges (Grade 6 +)

Building Bridges is a world religions program to deepen youth’s understanding of the dynamic, fascinating, and varied world in which they live. It seeks to broaden their knowledge of humanity and embolden their spiritual search.

The program is organized roughly chronologically, capturing the strong parallel between societal change and religious evolution over human history. The Religions Time Line helps illustrate the emergence of religions in clusters at different points in history. However, this is not a history course. It is a series of workshops that attempts to lovingly and reverently examine some of the closest kept treasures of the human heart. This exploration nurtures participants’ positive outlook toward other faiths and the people who follow them.

To study religion together is to invite a certain amount of discomfort for individuals and conflict in a group. This program provides youth a unique opportunity to engage the world’s diversity of faiths in a safe, affirming atmosphere that is grounded in Unitarian Universalist faith. As facilitators, acknowledge tensions and disagreement and model how to work toward understanding. Help create an environment where respectful exploration and questioning are encouraged, where differences are encountered with open minds and hearts.

Goals

  • Increase knowledge of religions practiced around the world and in local communities
  • Understand how religion addresses basic human needs
  • Fosters acceptance of the diverse forms that religious expression takes
  • Build awareness of the diversity of followers within every faith; understand that to know someone’s religious identity is not the same as knowing what that person thinks, believes, or practices
  • Support the faith development of participants
  • Empower youth to better appreciate human diversity and connect with others and be able to respectfully discuss important matters with people with whom they disagree
  • Nurture open-mindedness and critical inquiry.

Schedule

The program will primarily run on Sunday mornings. There will be visits to other faith communities worship services throughout the program – some of these will necessarily be at other times. The program will run from September 2019 until June 2020, in three blocks (September – December, January – March, and April – June). Youth may register for one or more blocks.

A detailed Fall schedule and registration form will be available soon. Please Email Arran if you’d like to be alerted when this information is released.

Families

Youth are at a critical time in their faith development. The interest and participation of their most important spiritual guides—their parents—will greatly enhance the benefit they derive from this program. Recognizing the essential role of the family, each workshop includes a ‘Taking It Home’ section that suggests specific ways families can be engaged. In addition, many ‘Faith in Action’ activities include ideas for families. To help families utilize these opportunities, we will distribute Taking It Home handouts in class and send email suggestions to families.

Chaperones and drivers may be needed for the offsite visits to various faith communities. If you are willing to be a driver/chaperone for these visits please Email Arran.