Just about any 11 o’clock RE family knows the back story: for some time now, Sunday mornings have been uber-crowded in the RE wing during the second service.
Of course, it’s wonderful that so many families have decided that JUC is the place they want to raise their children. A good, solid, engaging RE program is just what they yearn for. But finding enough room for all those kids on Sunday mornings (nearly 300 last year) has been – to say the least – challenging. And Director of Religious Education Annie Scott worries about the crowding. “It’s harder to get a sense of belonging and develop friendships,” she says, “especially for new kids to connect.”
Here’s the dilemma. At the 11 o’clock session, when all the classes for 6th grade through high school are held, every room in the church has an RE class. That means the RE wing, the Mills Building, the two rooms in the basement and the chapel (and also includes some less-than-optimal arrangements, like combining K-3 into one class). At the 9 o’clock, the RE wing is full and one Mills room is used. That leaves two basement rooms, another Mills room, and the chapel open.
So….Annie takes a deep breath and says, “It’s quite a balancing act. We just have to move some younger families from the 11 o’clock to the 9 o’clock service.”
That will mean all families need to register for RE for one session or the other.
Online registration will open on August 8th at 7 p.m. (That time was chosen to not disadvantage parents with 9-5 jobs).
Nursery through 5th grade will be offered at both 9 and 11 o’clock, and the older kids (Neighboring Faiths, OWL, COA and YRUU) will continue to meet at 11.
Two kinds of families will get priority for the 11 o’clock session: families with kids who regularly attend 6th grade through high school classes, and parents who are teaching on an 11 o’clock team.
“What we’re hoping,” Annie says, “is that things will be better this year. There were lots of situations that were less than great last year because there were too many children in many classes. I hope parents will realize JUC wants things to be better for their kids, and they’ll make the 9 o’clock work for their lives and give it a try”.
What does this have to do with Making Room? If and when we find a new and larger campus, more classrooms, more classrooms, more classrooms!