Junior Youth – ages 11-13

Building Bridges: A World Religions Program

The purpose of the Building Bridges program is 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.

Leaders need not be knowledgeable about world religions to facilitate this program. You do need:

  • Respect for and curiosity about religions
  • Enthusiasm for guiding youth through the explorations of this program
  • Ability to respectfully engage with youth in both serious inquiry and fun.

Having respect does not necessarily mean agreement. To successfully facilitate Building Bridges, you must be able to suspend judgment of a religion’s impact on yourself, accept its validity for other people, and help youth decide what they believe is true and good. An attitude of respect and compassion is as important as any information gleaned in this program.

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.

This group will meet twice a month during Sunday Service*.  

This meeting can take place in the alcove with the couches (off the main RE space) or in the Ed Radcliffe room.  

*Approximately once a month this group will visit one of the faiths being studied.  This visit may take place on a Sunday or on another evening during the week.

This program requires two individuals to co-lead the curriculum.