This column is about sex. Did I get your attention? Well, stick around and read on:
Actually, this column is about Our Whole Lives or OWL, one of the best programs about sexuality that we offer as part of our religious education program here at All Souls. Our Whole Lives is a secular program that is taught in faith communities such as ours as well as primary and secondary schools, charter and home schools, colleges, correctional facilities, and other group settings (like youth or young adult groups). It is a secular program but gives clear messages about values we care about: self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice, inclusivity, and decision-making. As the description on the Unitarian Universalist webpage reads: “Our Whole Lives recognizes and respects diversity with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. The activities and language used throughout the program have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this human diversity.”
There is a new awareness about sexuality and boundaries in our society and people trying to navigate a changing and sometimes confusing world in these areas need resources and education. Next year we will open our OWL program to the community. We plan to offer the Kindergarten and First Grade OWL, the Fourth and Fifth grade OWL, and the Junior High OWL and we will offer the Adult OWL if there is interest. We will charge a sliding scale fee and we will pay our OWL teachers, too. All OWL classes will be offered during the second hour (11:30 until 12:30 or 1:30 for the Junior OWL). Each class is 8-10 sessions and will be offered the first of each month. The Junior OWL will also have two half day retreats.
We are moving the time for OWL for a couple of reasons. First, we want people from outside of All Souls looking for a program such as this to find it whether they are looking for a church or not. Of course, it would be great if they join our community but if not we have at least given them valuable tools for their whole lives. Second, not every family is ready to take the OWL class when it is offered and so the family waits out a year or their attendance drops off in the religious education program. We want to be a space for everyone, no sitting on the sidelines for religious education!
If you have questions or would like to get trained in OWL, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Our Whole Lives program is available at https://www.uua.org/re/owl.