Religious Education Coordinator’s Message
New Religious Education Coordinator started March 1st 2023
Ariel Smith-Iyer (she / her) is excited to be joining Mission Peak UU to serve as your Religious Education Coordinator! She is new to this role as a profession, having been a teacher and tutor, non-profit program coordinator and part-time gardener in her two decades of work experience. She is grateful to have had the flexibility to spend part of those years home raising two kids and feels most proud of the bond she has with them- they are ages 9 and 13. She lives with them, her husband and their dog in Berkeley where she has been a member of the UU Church of Berkeley since 2006.
Ariel grew up in a rural part of New Hampshire, raised in a conservative Christian faith that tried to keep her small and quiet and always in line with the limited role of women. That congregation was her entire community so when her parents split up at the end of her middle school years and their faith crumbled as well, she lost all connection outside of her biological family to the people who knew her as a little child. What she took from that experience, along with a connection to a higher power and a little bit of bible knowledge, is the power of a bond with a group of like-minded people over time. Unitarian Universalism is her religious recovery. She marvels every time she reads our list of UU principles and tends to sing too loudly to the hymns she loves best. She believes that, when done with care and intention, intergenerational community is one of the great gifts of organized religion. She delights to know that this congregation was formed from a children and parent playgroup! She is excited to learn the traditions of Mission Peak UU and to weave in some new ideas for us to try together, in pursuit of multi-generational beloved community.
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