Building Bridges

This world religions curriculum introduces middle school youth to the faith traditions and practices of other religious groups in their community. Through classroom discussion and reflection and visits to other churches, the program deepens a youth’s understanding of the dynamic, fascinating and varied world in which they live, broadening their knowledge of humanity and emboldening their spiritual search.


Intro to Building Bridges

We will explore reasons to discuss world religions and discuss the topics and visits for the upcoming year. We will also learn about ChUUrchcraft, an activity we’ll be doing in every class that uses the Minecraft Pocket Edition app.

 

Judaism – Workshop 1

We will explore Judaism as an ancient, monotheistic religion with worldwide influence and varied modern expression. We will become familiar with Abraham’s covenant with God, and the Jewish orientation toward hope for a better tomorrow.

 

Judaism – Workshop 2: Offsite Visit to Temple Emmanuel

We visit Temple Emmanuel in Roanoke.  Please note that this visit occurs on Friday evening.  There is no Sunday morning RE this week.

 

Judaism – Workshop 3

We will continue our exploration of Judaism, discussing our recent visit and learning the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments.

 

Judaism – Workshop 4

We will continue our exploration of Judaism, learning more about Jewish holidays, and discussing the Laws of Kashrut pertaining to food.

 

Buddhism – Workshop 1

We begin an in-depth exploration of Buddhism, the fifth largest religion in the world. We will explore the life of Buddha and Zen koans.

 

Buddhism – Workshop 2: Offsite Visit to Dharmapala Kadampa Buddhist Center (Roanoke)

We visit the Buddhist Temple in Roanoke.

 

Buddhism – Workshop 3

We continue our discussion of Buddhism, reflecting on our visit, and discussing the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

 

Buddhism – Workshop 4

We continue our discussion of Buddhism, becoming familiar with aspects of Zen Buddhism. We will discuss Bodhisattvas and the Eight Verses for Training the Mind.

 

Hinduism – Workshop 1

We will discuss important concepts of Hinduism, including the Birth of Krishna.

 

Hinduism – Workshop 2: Offsite Visit to Shantiniketan Temple (Roanoke)

We visit the Hindu Temple in Roanoke.  Please note that this visit occurs on Sunday late afternoon.

 

Hinduism and Taoism – Workshop 3

We will continue learning about Hinduism, reflecting on our recent visit and discussing the Four Paths to the Ultimate. We will also learn more about Taoism, exploring the Tao Te Ching amd the concept of balance represented by the yin/yang symbol.

 

Eastern Religions – Workshop 4

We discuss other religions that emerged within a short period of time in the Eastern hemisphere: Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Confucianism.

 

Islam – Workshop 1

We begin our discussion of Islam, the world’s second largest faith, and learn about the life of Muhammad.

 

Islam – Workshop 2

We continue our discussion of Islam, learning about the Five Pillars of Islam, and exploring the role of women in Islam.

 

Islam – Workshop 3

We continue our discussion on Islam, with emphasis on the conflict between Sunnis and Shites.

 

Islam – Workshop 4: Offsite Visit to Islamic Society of the New River Valley

We visit the Islamic Society of the New River Valley in Blacksburg.

 

Humanism

We will explore Humanism as a philosophy and as a religion, and demonstrate how religious Humanism addresses needs for meaning, purpose, moral buidance, and faith community that other religions address.

 

Atheism and Agnosticism

We will discuss the fundamentals of atheism and agnosticism and learn about some important legal successes of the American atheist movement.

 

Christianity – Workshop 1

We begin our discussion of Christianity, the largest religion in the world.  There are important distinctions among Christian denominations and we will explore the differences in practices and beliefs.  We will discuss the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and how Jesus often taught in parables.

 

Christianity – Workshop 2: Offsite Visit to St. Mary’s Catholic Church

We visit St. Mary’s Catholic Church to learn about the Catholic sect of Christianity.

 

Christianity – Workshop 3

We continue our discussion of Christianity, reflecting on our recent visit.  We will learn about the Sermon on the Mount and the Jefferson Bible

 

Christianity – Workshop 4: Offsite Visit to Blacksburg Presbyterian Church

We visit Blacksburg Presbyterian Church to learn about the Protestant sect of Christianity.

 

Christianity – Workshop 5

We continue our discussion of Christianity, reflecting on our recent visit, and learning about the Protestant reformation. We’ll discuss the differing beliefs between different denominations of Christianity.

 

Christianity – Workshop 6: Offsite Visit to Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church

We visit Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church to learn about the Baptist sect of Christianity.

 

Christianity – Workshop 7: Evangelical Christianity

We will introduce the fundamental beliefs of Evangelical Christians, particularly the beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible and the concept of being saved.

 

Neo-Paganism & Indigenous Religions – Workshop 1

We will compare and contrast a variety of Neo-Pagan beliefs, including Wiccca.  We will connect the seasonal celebrations on the Wheel of the Year.

 

Neo-Paganism & Indigenous Religions – Workshop 2

We will explore some characteristics of indigenous religions and talk about honoring our ancestors.

 

Neo-Paganism & Indigenous Religions – Workshop 3

We will explore Native American religions, discussing the Medicine Wheel and the belief in animism.

 

Unitarian Universalism – Workshop 1

We will explore our own faith, discussing our origins, our Principles and our own sacred texts.

 

Unitarian Universalism – Workshop 2

We will continue our discussion of our own faith, and the importance that social justice plays.

 

Bridges Built

We finish our year by reflecting on the similarities between the many religions we’ve discussed and Unitarian Universalism.  We complete our ChUUrchcraft building.