Goodbye to Estancia Park

Goodbye to Estancia Park

I have wonderful news to share! All our Sunday morning religious education pro-grams will be returning on-site to our OCUUC classrooms on Sunday, April 17th! It has been two years since our younger children have met on campus, and it will be wonderful to be back. A survey of our religious education parents and teachers showed that everyone is ready to return, and Easter Sunday felt like a very auspicious day to make it happen. We will have an egg hunt in the courtyard following the service, so all congregants will be able to witness the festivities and interact with the kids.

Our younger group has been meeting at Estancia Park for 10 months now, and it will be a bit bittersweet to say goodbye. For many of our youngest children and for children who have joined us for the first time in the last year, this is the only church location they have known. Every Sunday as we drive up to the park, my three-year-old son shouts out, “I see church!” The park has been a special place of refuge and safety during a scary time, and we will honor it our last Sunday there, April 10th, with a special ritual.

I want to thank our unbelievably dedicated religious education volunteers for their commitment and resilience during the past couple of years. Teaching at the park has been a challenge, requiring them to arrive earlier and leave later than they needed to on our church campus. They were no longer able to connect with their church friends during coffee hour on the days they were teaching. They had to figure out how to do activities outdoors that were designed to be done in-doors. They had to supervise children in a big open space and learn to project their voices over the noise of traffic (and through a mask!). They have handled it all with grace, flexibility, and good humor, for which I am eternally grateful.

And to our religious education parents, who have kept bringing their children to church even when it’s inconvenient: I know your struggle and I’m so grateful you have been part of our community anyways. Making the extra trip to the park before heading to the service, leaving the service without much chance to connect with your friends during coffee hour, and, for many of you, joining us at the park on Sundays because your children are too young to attend by themselves or otherwise need extra support. Thank you.

I am always bolstered by the way our entire OCUUC community shows support for our religious education program, and that has never been truer than during these complicated times. We never stopped being united in spirit, but I sure am looking for-ward to us all being together physically, too. See you soon!

Karen Magoon Pearson is Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church's Director of Religious Education.