UU Tapestry of Faith What would it mean to have a series of curricula for all ages that was created just for your congregation and was available free of charge? After years of development, focus groups and visioning, this dream is becoming a reality.  At the recent LREDA conference in San Antonio, Texas, the staff group from the UUA's department of Lifespan Faith Development was on hand to give us a preview of what this new curriculum will be like.

The Tapestry of Faith program is truly a twenty-first century faith development curriculum that will change the face of Unitarian Universalist religious growth and learning. Designed for all ages and life stages, this curriculum will not only be available without cost, it will be fully customizable and flexible to meet the needs of individual congregations.  This curricula for all ages developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association will be published on-line where it will be available for download. Some resources—such as handbooks for parents, teachers, and religious educators — will be printed and sold through the UUA Bookstore. Other materials on-line will supplement the core curricular pieces, such as:

  • multi-media presentations
  • blogs for those teachers who are using the materials
  • wiki-style sites where those persons using the curricula can add their ideas and supplemental images, texts and teaching suggestions
  • training materials with resources to connect teachers to professional religious educators ready to respond to questions and offer support

Four integrated strands, which are interdependent and interactive with one another will be woven throughout the curriculum. These strands -- as developed through focus groups -- are the areas of ethical development, spiritual development, Unitarian Universalist identity and faith development. With specific goals identified within each of these areas and the elements which comprise them, the curriculum seeks to create a community of learners who are co-creators of faith and active participants in their development.

The curricula will be customizable in that after it is downloaded to a computer, it can be altered to include activities which best meet the needs of the particular group at the church. Since many ideas for activities will be offered for each session, groups which prefer more cerebral reflection can choose those activities which will stimulate discussion, and groups which prefer a more active, hands-on approach to learning will have the opportunity to explore ideas kinetically.

However, the most exciting part about this new curricula is the idea of teaching as a spiritual practice. Program facilitators will be guided by activities and reflection questions designed as spiritual preparation for leading the session as well as focusing questions and issues for the leaders to consider which can help them reflect upon the ideas of the session after it is over.

The first Tapestry program for adults is already on-line, available to congregations even as it is being field tested. "Spirit of Life: Exploring Spirituality for Unitarian Universalists" by Barbara Hamilton-Holway can be viewed and downloaded for use in congregations. Programs for each grade level of children are currently in development and will be available on-line during their field testing which should be conducted in 2008. For more information, and to view some Frequently Asked Questions, check out the UUA website at uua.org.