Dear Old Ship,
When people out in the world ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I am the Director of Religious Education at a Unitarian Universalist Church. That gets me a lot of blank looks.
It’s not like being a minister, a music director, an office manager, or a sexton. People know what those jobs are; or at least, they think they do.
When my friends or family try to explain me to someone, they simplify and say, “She’s a Sunday school teacher”… I rarely correct them, because, honestly, who cares if they really understand my job?
But I am not a Sunday school teacher.
I could be; I enjoy teaching Sunday school… Honestly, Sunday school is the fun part of the work… The kids are the fun part,
In point of fact, I am much more like a Sunday school principal.
But, I’m a principal who does their own hiring… their own payroll… their own book-keeping… their own filing… their own supplies purchasing… their own curriculum research and archiving… their own emergency planning and first-aid preparation… their own classroom space care… etc. etc. etc.
The one thing I really cannot do by myself is teach Sunday school.
Not counting the Nursery, we have six age groups…
Six Sunday morning classrooms…
Pre-K through Sr. High…
People come to us from surrounding towns because we have that… and we have critical mass in each age group. Church-shopping families like that.
Best practices dictate that there are two adults in any room with children in it; we try to abide by that.
That’s 12 adults per Sunday. In addition, we have 2 paid teenage caregivers in the nursery, with an adult occasionally standing by for safety and security while I am across the street or off the property.
I cannot teach Sunday school, because I am “on the move” on Sunday mornings. Being part of worship… making sure the group crosses Main Street safely… keeping my eyes open for new families or new kids… watching to see who is out-of-sorts and in need of some pastoral attention… making sure the volunteer teachers have what they need to minister to their flocks.
But even if I tried to do all that on a Sunday morning, and teach Sunday school, I am only one person… I can’t be in ALL the classes.
We need your participation… Period.
If we don’t get enough teachers to make a safe and supportive environment for children and volunteers, we will have to reduce the number of class breakdowns and have more grades levels per classroom. That will reduce the variety of subject matter that we are able to teach, and the R.E. Committees are hoping that that does not come to pass.
Many hands make light work… And the opposite is true as well…
Director of Religious Education