Religious Education

Religious Education Blog

April 06, 2020

RE Online Week 4- We're Focused on Hope!

Hi Friends!

Welcome to a new week. I hope you all are well, I miss seeing your faces at First Church. This week in RE, we're looking for hope. Fostering hope in times of difficulty and stress is a critical resiliency skill. The activities in this week's plan are meant to encourage family conversation and connection. You'll notice that this week we're moving our meeting times around a bit. Our afternoon activities will be at 3:30 pm, and on Wednesday we're going to have an evening Family Chapel at 7 pm. I hope that by moving things around a bit more people will be able to join us. Please email me for the Zoom links, or you'll be able to find them on the Facebook events as well. In addition to our regular(ya know, for the last three weeks) events and activities, I also included an Easter Egg Photo Scavenger Hunt. Post your kids pictures to the Facebook group for us all to enjoy, or email them to me and I'll post them! I know we'll all miss our usual Easter activities at First Church this week, but I hope by finding different ways to connect with each other our kids can still find peace and comfort in our community. This week's activities and the Easter Egg Hunt are posted below this week's schedule. 

Zoom Weekly Events


Topic: RE Scavenger Hunt

Time: Apr 6, 2020 03:30 PM


Calling all Master Builders! Bring your bucket of legos and join us on Zoom to build something new based on prompts. All that's necessary is legos!

Topic: RE Lego Challenge

Time: Apr 7, 2020 03:30 PM 


Join us on Zoom for a special evening Family Chapel! Get the family huddled around the laptop, and join us for a Family Chapel Zoom. All our favorite elements of Children's Chapel will be there, and hopefully a few moments of calm in the middle of our week.

Topic: Family Chapel

Time: Apr 8, 2020 07:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada) 


Join us for a quick and easy craft! The event will happen on Facebook Live, look for it on our main group site, !

Topic: RE- Lissa's Crafty Corner

Time: Apr 9, 2020 3:30 PM Mountain Time


Join us on Zoom or Facebook Live for storytime!

Topic: RE Storytime

Time: Apr 10, 2020 03:30 PM 



Amanda Esko

Director Of Religious Education

Hope Week

Easter Egg Photo Hunt


April 01, 2020

RE Online Week 3

Hi Friends,

Happy Monday! It's been so nice to connect with people over these last few weeks online. Thanks for joining along! This week, we're focusing on joy! 

Right now, there is so much uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. All of those feelings are real and valid. It is an uncertain time, with so much out of our control. What we can control however is our attitude. We can encourage our kids to find joy and things that are making them happy throughout the day. Similar to gratitude, by actively looking for things that fill your life with joy your life will be more joyful. Giving our children these tools during this time of extreme change and stress will help build their resilience in difficult situations for their entire life. We are teaching them that even though things are difficult, there are still things that make us happy.  At the end of this post you'll find this week's activities for you and your family to work on together. Choose joy friends.

You'll find below links to this week's Zoom and Facebook Live gatherings. Join us as you're able, it's fantastic to see everyone online! Also, we're still trying to find the best time. 3 pm seems to work well for people, but maybe it's awful for others. Do me a favor and fill out this 2 question survey so we can see what works best:

We will be continuing to meet this week over Zoom. Please email Amanda at  for links to the gatherings. 


Amanda Esko

Director of Religious Education

First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City


March 23, 2020

Lower School Online RE, Week 2

Hi Friends!

Well, last week was one way to kick off the first week of social distancing! I personally could have done without the earthquake, but apparently, the universe REALLY wanted us all to recognize our control within it. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week digitally! It was wonderful to see all of you! Thank you for your patience as we all learn new digital skills, it's obviously a work in progress! This week, we're looking towards the community. Who's working hard right now to keep our community safe/healthy/happy? I've attached a weekly guide once again for daily activities. As your family participates, post them on the Facebook group(! Throughout the week, we'll once again be offering ways to connect with one another digitally. This week, we're trying two new fun ideas; RE Kid Hang Out and RE Show and Tell! They're listed on the attached handout, and I'll post direct links below. As for tomorrow, we're encouraging everyone to join one of the two church Zoom Coffee Hours! This will be a great opportunity to connect with our larger congregation, see each others faces and catch up. I'll include the information below. All of the events can also be found on our Facebook group and the website! Also, shoot me an email if the 3 pm time is hard for your family. I would love to keep the time consistent if at all possible, but we if need to move the time around that works too.  Also, I don't have it scheduled, but if you would like to do a Parent Check-In call, let me know. I know it's a lot of everything lately, and it might be a nice time to talk to each other without kids crawling over us. 

 As most(I hope) of you heard this week through email, our ministers, Rev Tom and Rev Monica, along with the Board of Trustees, voted to keep First Unitarian's building closed for the next 8 weeks, until May 11th per the CDC guidelines. If you didn't receive the letter, let me know and I can forward it to you. While this is incredibly stressful on everyone, it's in all of our best interests to slow the spread of the virus by physically staying away from one another.  Thank you all again for your support, I miss seeing you all terribly. 


Topic: RE Kid Hang Out- Does your kid miss their friends and just want to talk? Now's their chance!
Time: Mar 23, 2020 03:00 PM 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 404 585 178
Password: 015132

Call-In: +1 301 715 8592 US


Topic: RE Show and Tell- Does your kid have a thing that they have always wanted to bring to church but never let them? Now's their chance!
Time: Mar 24, 2020 03:00 PM 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 866 501 672
Password: 196439

Call-In: +1 301 715 8592 US


Topic: Children's Chapel
Time: Mar 25, 2020 03:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 341 849 498
Password: 353669

Call-In:  +1 301 715 8592 US


Topic: RE Art!

Time: Mar 26, 2020 03:00 PM

Join us on Facebook Live:

Topic: RE Storytime
Time: Mar 27, 2020 03:00 PM 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 614 692 274

Password: 160829 

Call-In:+1 301 715 8592 US



Amanda Esko

Director of Religious Education

First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City


March 17, 2020

Lower School Online RE, Week 1!

Hello Friends!


I hope your first day of “homeschool,” however that looked for your family, went well! This week in Lower School RE we’re going to be focused on gratitude. In a week when schedules have changed, routines have been thrown upside down, and we’re seeing A LOT more of each other, focusing on gratitude is an important mindfulness tool we can all use a refresher in. 


Before we get into the schedule of offerings for the week, I do have a bit of housekeeping to talk about. In order to not send a million emails to you all each day, I’m going to try and streamline the information into one email. Additionally, I’m going to encourage everyone to make sure they have joined our Facebook group, While I understand Facebook is not everyone’s preferred avenue, for our current purposes of daily connection to each other, it is the most convenient option available, and a large percentage of our parents already have access to it. I would try and look at the page daily so it starts regularly showing back up in your feed. Additionally, we will post the weekly information on our website, Due to the nature of our website however, it does not have the ability to connect with one another in dialogue. 


Each week, we’re going to have a different theme. As I mentioned earlier, this week’s theme is gratitude. Attached to this email, you’re going to find a document called Gratitude Week. Each day this week has a different activity for your family to do together. As you complete the day’s challenge, take a picture of it and post it to the Facebook Group. Every morning around 9 I’m going to start a post with that day’s challenge in it. In the comments, post your family’s pictures of how they completed the challenge. As the day goes on, make sure to show your children other people’s posts. If you do not have Facebook but still want to participate in the daily challenges, please email your picture to and we’ll post them to the group for you if you like! 


To complement our theme, we’re also going to offer a few Zoom calls for everyone to hop on as they are able. If you weren’t able to join us on Sunday, Zoom is an online meeting platform. To join a meeting, you don't need an account (although it's easy and free to sign up for one), just click on the link to join. I've been on Zoom meetings on the computer, and on my smartphone. I've found computers to be the easiest to use, but it's not hard to get working on your phone either! I’ll list the Zoom meetings below, and they will also be on the Facebook group. This week we’re going to try 3 pm for our meeting times. While we’re getting the ball rolling with online community gatherings, we may change the time if we’re finding another time works better. As the week goes on and people get their online learning schedules worked out, let me know if there are other times that are better. 


As we’re all doing our part to protect our interdependent web by practicing social distancing, we’re going to have to become more deliberate in gathering as a community. I’m incredibly excited to see what opportunities come out of this moment in our community. I can't wait to see all of our kid's faces this week!


Zoom Call Links:

Children's Chapel:

Time: Wednesday, Mar 18, 2020 03:30 PM
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 176 072 971
Password: 804883

 RE Art:

Time: Thursday, Mar 19, 2020 03:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 685 843 617
Password: 355847


Time: Friday, Mar 20, 2020 03:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 988 190 910
Password: 323344



Amanda Esko

Director of Religious Education

First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City


August 09, 2019

Religious Education Registration for 2019-2020 is LIVE!

Join the RE party and register your youth today!


2019-2020 Registration

May 24, 2019

Summer Schedule Begins THIS SUNDAY!

View this email in your browser

Hi Friends! Welcome to summer!

As a reminder, this Sunday, May 26th, First Church will begin its summer schedule. There will be one worship service only beginning at 10 am. Childcare will be available throughout the summer for those that need it.

This Sunday, Elementary school-aged youth are invited to watch Jim Coombs present a Soo Bahk Do martial arts seminar in Little Chapel. High School youth attending the Alabama trip will be meeting with Rev. Monica at 11 am in the Haven. 

I look forward to seeing everyone as we slog through this rain towards summer!

In Peace,
Amanda Esko
Director of Religious Education
May 06, 2019

The Match- 5/3/19

     RE Funding

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked by new families is, “is there a registration fee for RE?” Usually, this happens at the beginning of the year, but this year, I’ve had this question throughout. My answer is simple and complicated all at the same time.

No, we do not have a registration fee for Religous Education at First Church. Religious Education is paid for through First Church’s General Fund. This fund is funded by the members and friends of the First Church community. During the spring, we have our annual pledge drive, where people pledge an amount, like NPR, to contribute through the year. You can, however, make a pledge at any time! We do not take any money from the larger Unitarian Universalist Association, in fact, we pay thousands of dollars in dues to them yearly. The suggested amount to give is 3% of your income. As an example, for a family making $60,000, that's a pledge of $1,800.  For some, this 3% giving is a goal to reach, and that’s ok! Each family and their circumstance is different, and we as a community understand that. Part of our commitment to economic equity is assuming that families will give as much as they can give when they can give it. While we encourage each family to give as generously as they can to support our community and our goals as a liberal faith community in an illiberal theocracy, we gratefully accept each generous gift with so much love.

As you may have heard on Sunday, our pledge drive for the 2019-2020 fiscal year is not where it should be. We are at about 84% of our goal, or $500,000. This sounds like a crazy amount of money, but it is $89,000 under what we need to maintain our current church budget. With that amount of shortfall, drastic budget cuts will need to be made. Per our bylaws, we are not allowed to vote on an imbalanced budget (we’re not the federal government.) When I say drastic budget cuts, this is what I mean: hourly staff will have hours reduced, program budgets  (music and RE) will be cut no less than 10%, staff salaries will be cut around 10%, committees will lose funding, etc., etc. This is not a pretty budget, and it is a budget that our entire community will feel the effects of.

About 50% of families enrolled in RE pledge. If you are a family that has not pledged yet this church year, I encourage you to do so. If you’re a family that has pledged, but you realize now that you may be able to give more, thank you. There are two ways you can pledge. One is Sunday mornings in Eliot Hall or the main office. The other is by emailing our church administrator, Carol Foster, at . If you have questions about the budget, I encourage you to attend a budget information session on May 12th at 10:15 in the main Sanctuary. Church Board leadership, as well as our Church administrator,  will be there to answer any questions. You can also email Rev. Tom Goldsmith, or our Board President, Peter Esko at . Finally, I encourage everyone to attend our annual congregational meeting on May 19th at 12:30. While only members can vote, all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Childcare is also available during the meeting.

This is not a fun topic. It's not parties or social justice organizing, or youth singing. We need to talk about funding though, in order for all of the good works that First Church does in our community to continue. Continuing this conversation is important, and I encourage everyone to reach out to any of the community leaders mentioned above, attend meetings and become involved in the leadership of this community.  

In Peace,
Amanda Esko
Director of Religious Education

Thank you to everyone who signed up to bring supplies for Sandwich Sunday! Our signup is full! Thank you!
It's Our First Ever Survey!

Want to share your experiences in RE this year? Have really great ideas for the future? Fill out our survey! It's only 10 questions and will take about 3 minutes to complete. I'd love to hear from everyone in RE! 
Super Informative RE Survey
8th/9th- Schedule updates! Our final regular session is this Sunday, May 5th. Next week, please attend service with your families (if you would like to volunteer in Lower School that day let Amanda know!) May 19th, we will have a party, and will also have a contraception mini-session available to those that missed those class sessions around spring break. Thank you for a wonderful year, we'll see you in the fall in High School!
Come one come all to our Lower School Talent Show! Have you been dying to show off your super cool card trick? Do you have a song you would love to belt out? Baton twirling, instrument playing, or cool yoga move? Join us in Little Chapel on May 19th during the 11 am service
Family Fun Night

Please join us for a very important Family Fun Night this month. While this month's topic, suicide prevention is not easy, it has directly affected our community at First Church. This training is not meant to just address youth suicide prevention, but adult as well. I encourage everyone to consider attending.

We've invited trainers from the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition to join us and lead us in their QPR training. From their website, "QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer -- 3 simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help."

As always, we will start with dinner. This month, however, we are going to start dinner early at 6:00 pm. Unlike most months where we can be a little more flexible with dinner, dinner is going to be cleaned up and put away by 6:40, so the training can begin at 6:45. Thank you all for respecting our trainers time by arriving on time and eating promptly! Older, mature youth attending with a parent(7th grade and above) are welcome and encouraged to join.

Please reach out with any dietary restrictions or concerns, this will hopefully be an important learning opportunity for our community.

We're still looking for supplies for the Congregational Meeting Sandwich Fundraiser. If you're able to contribute, sign up below!
Congregational Meeting Fundraiser Signup
RE Calendar
May 5- Sandwich Sunday
May 6- Family Fun Night- 6 pm
May 12- Sanctuary Sunday
              Jr Choir Sings
              6-9th Grade in Worship
              High School End of Year Party
              Congregational Budget Info Session- 10:15 am Sanctuary
May 19- High School Bridging- 11 am
              RE Talent Show- 11 am
              Congregational Meeting- 12:30 pm Sanctuary
              Children's Congregational Meeting- 12:30 Little Chapel
May 26- One Service- 10 am, Childcare only