Message from the Director of Religious Exploration

Helen Cassara, Director of Religious Exploration

Hello and Bright Blessings!

It’s been a busy few months with RE at UUCT! This message includes everything you need to know about RE for May and going into the summer, and I promise I’ll try to keep it brief.

Going forward, Youth Group for middle and high school will meet at their regular time – 12:30-1:30 on 2nd and 4th Sundays. We are excited to have several new and returning volunteer youth advisors, including Aun-Drey Brown, Rei Myers, Carolyn Pardue, and Janet Temkin. By the end of the summer, we hope to have enough volunteer support to offer separate middle and high school Youth Groups. 

Starting on Sunday, May 1st, we will return to offering RE during the service on 1st and 3rd Sundays. Children and guides will leave the sanctuary for RE after the Time for All Ages and wrap up class no later than 12:15. 

  • On days we have at least two volunteers, guides will be responsible for supervising children during RE.
  • On days we only have one volunteer guide, at least one adult from each family unit will be required to join their child/children for RE and supervise their own child/children.
  • On days we have no volunteer guides, RE will be canceled and children will remain in the sanctuary with their families. 

We will maintain this model throughout the summer and reassess as needed. Thanks to Debby Tipton and Diana Williams for showing up to help with our younger kids during RE this semester. 

During the summer, we will shift from RE to Makerspace on 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays. Robin Gray is helping organize an exciting calendar of Makerspace workshops with local artists, and our first workshop will be a papermaking class with Natalie Binder on May 29th. 

RE Sunday will be Sunday, May 22nd and I will be in town to share a service about lessons we can learn from Disney’s Encanto and celebrate our awesome RE volunteers.

UU Parenting Group will meet Tuesday, May 10th and 24th at 8:00 PM via Zoom.

We are still holding weekly RE Planning Meetings, and are covering a lot of ground! There’s plenty to do and discuss, and we’d love to have you join us when you can! The RE Planning Team meets on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM via Zoom, and will likely switch to bi-weekly meetings after May. 

We have two special events for May:

  • On Friday, May 6th we will hold an outdoor movie night for all ages on the veranda, and we are taking film suggestions! Many thanks to Dan D’Arcangelis for signing up to help with tech for movie night. If you’d like to suggest a film, please email Helen at
  • On Friday, May 20th, we will have an (almost!) end-of-school bonfire for our Youth Group members from 6:30-8:30 PM. 

Please continue to use the page to RSVP for all RE events. Volunteer opportunities are listed there as well – every date there is an event to sign up for, there will also be a slot for specific volunteer needs. This is updated for May and most of June, so you can plan ahead for when you want to attend events or volunteer. We especially need folx who are willing and able to help lead RE during the service.

We are looking into both hosting an OWL facilitator training and re-launching UUCT’s OWL programs for children and youth this fall. If you are interested in being trained as an OWL facilitator or if you are already trained and interested in facilitating this fall or next spring, please let me know. Many thanks to Kerry Burner for helping us get organized for this exciting undertaking!

It’s been about one month since I had to move and our Sunday mornings started feeling a little different, but I am thrilled to report that in the last month we have experienced more engagement with RE by the larger congregation than we have in the three years I’ve been with UUCT. We had a massively successful Easter egg hunt, had several new families visit and join us for RE and Youth Group, several new guides volunteer, and consistent participation from our established families. We are having a lot of difficult but fruitful conversations, and working together towards rebuilding a robust post-pandemic RE program. This great leap in engagement would be incredible in “normal” times, but is even more so because it is all happening right on the heels of restarting in-person activities. It is clear to me that UUCT is willing and able to do the hard work needed to support our families, children, and youth, and I am so thankful to have such a dedicated team to work with. 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as we continue to navigate this strange time together. We are in a time of incredible growth, and growth is not always comfortable or easy – and that is ok. We can continue to figure out how to manage our growing edges together. link –

Zoom link for UU Parenting and RE Planning Team –