Our Sunday morning Religious Exploration classes are led by devoted professional and lay teachers who are themselves guided and supported by our Director of Religious Exploration and our Committee on Family Ministry.
Ellery Meehan is a teen member of UUCMP. She currently runs our Nursery for babies through age 4. Elleryis a life-long UU, who started attending UUCMP in sixth grade. She has been a part of several important UU youth programs incliding the Middle School and High School OWL (Our Whole Lives) programs, and Coming of Age in eighth grade. Ellery has attended many MUUGs (middle school UU retreats) and a few of the Cons (the older teen and young adult equivalent). Now she is 17 and attending Millenium Charter High School. She plans to go on to college to pursue a career in Interior Design. She also wants to travel during and after college. Aside for caring for the youngest members of our church on Sundays, Ellery is getting a head start on her design career this year by working with the DRE to update and re-decorate the Nursery.
Tara Martz-Tillman has been lead teacher for our older elementary class, which serves children in third through sixth grades, for four years. She says, “after working with children for twenty years I am still in awe of their honesty, curiosity, and love. Sometimes I wonder who is teaching who," reflecting the notion that teaching and working with children is an important aspect of faith development in UU communities. Tara is a highly motivated and determined teacher who enjoys adding her personal touch to the Spirit of Adventure UU curriculum. She believes in a project-based and child-led learning model, and she incorporates the UU Principal of the democraric process into many of her lessons, allowing the children agency in the creative process to increase engagement and ownership of their spiritual growth. She says of Religious Exploration, "it’s my job to provide the opportunity, but the journey is all theirs. And what wonderful journeys we have had so far!”
Angela Green joined UUCMP two years ago, and started out as an RE Teacher in the Nursery. She has been teaching the Lower Elementay class of pre-K through seccond grade children for two years. She uses the Around the Church Around the Year in her classoom. She is the mother of two adult daughters who are attending UCSC. Angela was a substitute teacher for many years, and very active with her daughters growing up, serving as a co-leader for their Girl Scout troop, and assisting with their many activities throughout. She taught her children not only to 'make good choices' but to help them figure out how to discern good choices, to respect themselves, others, and the world around them, to treat others as they would want to be treated. Angela is very happy to be a part of UUCMP and thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to meet and learn from all of the young people she encounters each week. She is transitioning out of her role as RE Teacher and is looking forward to more active participation in the church as a congregant.
Warren Finch has been a member of UUCMP since 2004. Though describing himself as a "lapsed Zen-Buddhist" who found a home here in the UU faith, he still displays a Zen-like demeanor: calm, kind, and generous of spirit and time. He is the father of a pre-K daughter, Mikhaela, and a teenage daughter, Emma, who went through the OWL programs for grades 4-6 and 10-12 as well as the Coming of Age program. For several years, Emma, who is now in college, has been highly involved with the Cons, vibrant UU retreats for older teens and young adults. Warren himself is certified to teach the various levels of the OWL curriculum, and has helped lead the middle school OWL here at UUCMP. He currently serves as chair of Committee on Family Ministry (the committee that supports and helps fulfill the mission of the Religious Exploration program and the DRE) is one of our three Coming of Age Advisers this year.
Rosemary Milburn is a mother of a son, Robin, in the Upper Elementary class. She currently serves on the Committee on Family Ministry and is one of our three Coming of Age Advisers.
Celeste Alaband is a student in Veterinary school and has been a member of UUCMP for about a year and a half, since she returned to this area after being a way several years. She currently is one of our three Coming of Age Advisers.
Our DRE Aaron Joseph often helps direct our Coming of Age and OWL classes for older youth, with the help of many qualified adult volunteers in our congregation. You can find more information about those programs on our curriculum page.