RE Matters: Summer Spirit Jams! by Emmalinda MacLean

On June 26th, we’ll kick off our summer programming—a break from our September-to-June classes and curricula—and we still need volunteers to make it happen! Summer Religious Education will offer three age groups (a correction to my previous column, which stated there would be two; the RE committee voted to continue holding a preschool class) and each group needs two adults every Sunday.



Emmalinda MacLean, Director, Religious Education


You can volunteer!

Most weeks, there will be a staff member leading each group: Sarah Siskin provides nursery childcare, Karen Rose will be teaching the preschool group, and I’ll be running “Spirit Jams” for elementary and up. This means that most volunteer spots we need filled require no prep work or even reading a lesson plan—just your caring presence and willingness to assist! To sign up for any of these slots, visit and click on the date you’d like to help out.


IMG_4052-Version-2 Karen RoseDSCF0424

Karen Rose and Sarah Siskin


Summer is a great time to give an RE classroom a try, and see if you might enjoy teaching or assisting with classes in the future. This program depends on the involvement of many church members, and it’s a fun way to give back to the congregation! All volunteers are required to read and sign our church safety policy, as well as consent to a background check; I can email you these forms, and I appreciate your understanding of these necessary precautions.


What will preschoolers be doing?

Our summer program for preschoolers is on “The Five Senses”: each week we’ll explore a different sense with a variety of materials and media, share our impressions, and name likes and dislikes.


What will elementary, junior high, and high schoolers be doing?

“Spirit Jams” is focused on the idea of “growing our spirits” through a different theme each week: music, art, nature, teamwork, etc. We’ll be meeting outside as often as the weather permits, and every Sunday will include a reflection/meditation exercise, an explanation of the activities available, and then a wide range of options for children to choose how they would like to explore the day’s theme.


Our opening session, as an example, will be a “Mandala Jam”. I’ll be explaining the concept of a mandala as a spiritual symbol, and then give participants the option to color printed mandalas, create their own in sidewalk chalk, or build 3D mandalas with beads, stones, and leaves.


Thanks to the wonderful 2015-16 RE volunteers!

On June 5th, we presented all of this year’s classroom teachers and assistants with a small token of the congregation’s gratitude for their hard work and dedication: these refrigerator magnets were made from melted-down crayons that passed through the hands of many Emerson children, before being reincarnated as these symbols of our community’s love. If you taught in RE this year, but weren’t at church on the 5th to receive yours, look for it in the mail soon!