Religious Exploration

Jill M. Hall, Director Religious Education

Jill Hall came to Unitarian Universalism as a young adult and became involved in Religious Education/Exploration shortly thereafter. She has filled many different RE roles in the various congregations she has been involved in; leading Religious Exploration groups for children, youth and adults, providing nursery care, leading worship, storytelling, serving on the RE committee and as DRE for two different congregations. Jill finds that her own faith development is continually expanded, refined and challenged through her work with young UUs. Jill has been KUUC’s DRE since 2014 and works in a local elementary school in special education. She lives in Keene with her husband, children and one very shaggy dog.

RE Calendar

All of KUUC’s programming is being offered virtually — via YouTube (worship services) and Zoom (“coffee hour” conversations). See the main page for a link to the current virtual service. View our past virtual worship services here. Our Religious Exploration classes have also been suspended due to social distancing restrictions. We are offering resources and support for at-home religious learning and family worship via email. To be added to the distribution list for these resources, please contact DRE Jill Hall at

The Soul Matters theme for October is Deep Listening. We’ll turn our attention to listening to our instincts, our conscience, the still small voice that is sometimes wordless, sometimes a feeling, sometimes an unexplainable knowing.

Sunday, October 4 at 8:00pm, please join me for a 30-45 minute live Zoom for parents and other adults. We’ll check in with each other, talk about the theme and activities for the month, and whatever else is coming up for you right now. If you’d like to receive the link to this or any other event, please send an email to Jill at

Sunday, October 11 during the live Zoom worship (which begins at 10am) we’ll have a breakout group for the elementary RE kids, either during the service itself or during coffee hour which immediately follows the service. If you’d like a link to the live Zoom worship, please email either Jill at or Rev. Michael at

Wednesday, October 21 8:00pm, live Zoom meeting for parents, a conversation about the first episode of Seeing White (*This is actually the first episode of the second season of Scene on Radio, so S2 E1, Turning the Lens, original airdate 2/15/17.) Please listen to the podcast episode, which is available online (also a transcript), on Stitcher and Spotify, among others, before we meet.

Sunday, October 25, during worship or coffee hour, breakout room for elementary RE kids and families.

Sunday, October 25, 4pm, middle and high school Neighboring Faiths group meets on the topic of Unitarian Universalism. Please contact Jill at to receive details and preparatory materials for this meeting.

UU History – Explore More!

During the August 9th worship service, I shared the episode in UU History that is often called “the Empowerment Controversy.” I learned about this period, roughly 1967-1970, during the online Unitarian Universalist History course I took this summer. Here is a list of resources I used while preparing this service. When available, links to purchase through inSpirit, the UUA’s bookstore, are provided. Starred works are required texts for the course and are easy to read, informative and highly recommended.

** Morrison-Reed, Mark. Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism. Skinner House Books, 2011.

Morrison-Reed, Mark and Jacqui James, editors. Been in the Storm So Long. Skinner House Books, 1991.

Carpenter, Victor H. Long Challenge: The Empowerment Controversy (1967-1977). Meadville Lombard Theological School Press, 2003.

Morrison-Reed, Mark. Black Pioneers in a White Congregation. 3rd ed., Skinner House Books, 1994.

Ross, Warren R. The Premise and The Promise: The Story of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Skinner House Books, 2001.

** Peterson, Polly. Stirring the Nation’s Heart: Eighteen Stories of Prophetic Unitarians and Universalists of the Nineteenth Century. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2010.

** Peterson, Polly and Gail Forsyth-Vail. Missionaries, Builders, and Pathfinders: Unitarian and Universalist Stories from the Midwest, West, and South, 1830-1930. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2014.

As I mentioned in my reflection, to me an essential take-away about the Empowerment Controversy is that Unitarian Universalists keep trying to improve. Tangible proof is the recently released volume (also available in its entirety online) Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2020.  From the back cover: This report “represents the culmination of the Commission’s work analyzing structural and systemic racism and white supremacy culture within Unitarian Universalism and makes recommendations to advance long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism.”

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU)

Click the link above to go to the home page for BLUU, an organization “committed to: expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within our faith; providing support, information & resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; justice making and liberation through our faith.” (from BLUU’s home page). Click here to go to the donate page.

Resources for talking about race in your family

This blog post by “strivingshannon” cites a recent survey that only 6% of well-meaning white parents talk to their kids about race “often”. The author lists the top 5 reasons (from her work with parents in Atlanta) why this is so. Among the reasons she listed the one that resonates most with me is “fear of getting it wrong.” Her response to this is “you will.” Which is why we need to keep educating ourselves, growing in our understanding, recommitting to the work, and trying again. I encourage you to read her whole post. Here are some resources from the UUA and BLUU (Black Lives of UU) to help you educate yourself, recommit to the work, and talk to your kids.

2015 article, Talk about Race: Starting the Conversation, by Aisha Hauser, MSW and long-time religious educator.

Race, Class and other Complexities resource list, from the “Growing Young Justice-Makers” section of the UUA website.

Family Discussion Suggestions: Identity and Race

Time for All Ages, June 14

I first came across today’s story, Anansi and his Gifted Sons in Once Upon a Time: Stories to build character and prevent bullying by Elisa Pearmain. Ms. Pearmain has worked with the UUA on Tapestry of Faith curricula, including Moral Tales and Toolbox of Faith.

Here is some general information on Anansi, and here is a another version of Anansi and his sons, this one a Caldecott honor book by Gerald McDermott.

Our Whole Lives

Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) is the values-based lifespan sexuality education curricula developed jointly by the UUA and UCC (United Church of Christ)*. KUUC offers the segment designed for youth in grades 7-9 (or homeschool equivalent) in alternate years and – next year is the year! Right now, we are awaiting the rescheduling of the facilitator training sessions. Once we know when our facilitators will be fully trained and ready to go, we will announce dates for the 2020-2021 session of O.W.L. Participant meetings are traditionally held on Sunday afternoons; the actual schedule is flexible and will be determined with input from the facilitators.

Description from the UUA website: “Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives.” (www.uua.org/re/owl) If you feel called to serve your community by facilitating this program, please contact Jill, Rev Michael, or Barbara Bryce (RE Committee chair). If you’d like more information before deciding, please check out the UUA O.W.L. info page.

Please contact Jill () with questions, for more information or to be added to the preliminary registration list. This class fills quickly.

*while the program was developed by two religious denominations, the curriculum is secular – no doctrine or dogma is included, just honest, factual information and the core values of self-worth, sexual health, responsibility and justice and inclusivity.