CAMPUS MINISTRY, GEORGE MASON, UNIVERSITY
SYLLABUS: "ISLAM IN AMERICA," ADULT EDUCATION
ISLAM IN AMERICA TODAY – There are Muslim brothers and sisters all around us, even here in our church. Therefore our course begins with some from Accotink who grew up in Muslim cultures sharing their journeys into and out of Islam. We will read two books – one about the Koran, and one about a woman struggling to understand her place in today’s Islam. And the most exciting piece is that we will have Muslim leaders from our community come and speak to us about how they live their faith, how they embrace the Koran, and how they live as 21st century Muslims.
This course is co-led by Rev Scott Sammler-Michael, and Mohammed Salih, a Sudanese-American, a columnist for the Washington Post, and member of AUUC!
First session – introduction; video; course layout; groundrules
2nd session – Examining the “Essential Qu’ran”
3rd session – Mohammad Salih’s ‘odyssey.’
4th session – Cleary text Introduction; visit from Sheikh Rafaa and friends from ISNA
5th session – Cleary text Qu’ran readings; visit from Farhanahz Ellis from ADAMS
6th session – Hamed Sami’s ‘odyssey.’
7th Session - Qu’ran readings; wrap-up; next steps
MULTIGENERATIONAL WORSHIP ORDER OF SERVICE
“Renewal” - A Multigenerational New Years Service”
Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, 2015
Gathering Hymn: #1010 “We Give Thanks” (shared responsively, 3 times)
Welcome and Announcements – Board Host
Greeting - Welcoming One Another
Ringing the Bowl – Gathering for Worship
Chalice Lighting – #544 “New Years Day” (shared responsively)
Hymn #395 “Sing and Rejoice” (sung in a 3 part round)
Invocation - Worship Associate, Clarice Douoguih
Time for All Ages – Opening the “Wonder Box” - Three wisdom stories, to tell for the New Year:
“The Two Brothers”
Prayer or Meditation, Sung Response - “Alleluia”
The Wonder Box Stories Continued – “The Chiefs Three Sons”
Offering – A Collection of the Free Church
Offertory - “God’s Highway,” Theresa Anderson
Fire Communion –
- - Hymn# 1011 “Return Again”
- - Procession
- - Letting go of the Past
- - Blessing for the Future
- - Hymn #1040 “Hush”
Benediction and Extinguishing the Chalice -
Recessional - “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free” Nina Simone
TEACHING AND MENTORING CHILDREN AND YOUTH
We recognize children as original theological thinkers, and we design and support programs in accordance with that truth. We find the Unitarian Universalist way of preparing our young to be critical thinkers and moral imaginers as essential to spiritual and intellectual growth. We work closely with directors and teachers of Religious Education to coordinate planning across all congregational programs.
Rev. Anya and Rev. Scott both appreciate the opportunity to share adult education classes. Among other curricula, Rev. Scott has developed a great books program for congregations and Rev. Anya has developed curricula on "Evil - a Liberal Religious Perspective," and both have developed a multi-faceted curricula on Crossing the Partisan Divide. We also encourage others from within and beyond the congregation to lead, teach, and mentor.
Multigenerational communities once evolved without our effort. Today, congregations serve the cause of building multigenerational opportunities. Rev. Scott and Anya both develop and support multigenerational worship, classes, justice experiences, choirs, rock bands, and social experiences, like the hike pictured here. All ages have something to gain from multigenerational community.
WHAT AND HOW WE LEARN BY BEING TOGETHER
George Carlin, the comedian (and one of our favorite theologians) once said: “How old you are can be a problem. Kids and old folks are both discriminated on because of how old they are - too old or too young.” Our work in Religious Education is equalizing. We are called to build communities that recognize the particular gifts or each age. Multigenerational community is essential to religious community.
We both appreciate teaching the adult curricula that helps us better understand and engage our own faith tradition as well as those that help us reach beyond.
We write our own curricula and use the curricula created by the UUA and other sources. We are strong proponents of OWL and work to sustain relationships between the middle-school and high-school youth in particular, as these years of faith development can create life-long Unitarian Universalists.
Religious Education must be a priority, and we make it one. Faith Development is an anchor that keeps a congregation from going adrift. A focus on Religious education is a sign of vitality.
UU Campus Ministry – In 2011 Rev Scott led the creation of a UU Campus Ministry at George Mason University, the largest public university in Virginia. This was not a simple task as he had no staff or students. Using what he learned reviving the UU Campus Ministry at the University of Chicago in 2005, Rev Scott was able to build a viable UU Campus Ministry that remains a core partner of the GMU Campus ministry network. He garnered personal and church funds, and he committed to spending one day a month on campus for his office hours to get to know the campus and its people. Today, The George Mason Unitarian Universalists provide significant support for the University’s “Homeless and Hunger Action Week” every Autumn, and they have put on award-winning programming, including bringing Maureen Fiedler from NPR’s Interfaith Voices Radio Program to GMU for a live radio panel event.