Jessica M. Hess grew up in a small town in PA and loved walking out her backdoor to the church next door for Sunday School and Wednesday night choir. Jess has three grown children and it was for them she sought a welcoming faith community. A friend suggested Unitarian Universalism in 2003 and it was a wonderful opportunity to be a volunteer in the religious education program, membership and auction committee.
The call to the ministry of religious education came when a beloved friend and fellow UU passed away. She took this as a sign to do what spoke to her heart. Jess enrolled in a UUA Renaissance module in Teacher Recruitment in New England that spring and so began the journey. Since that first 15 hour course she has gone on to complete over 200 hours of training as a professional religious educator. 2020-2021 begins her sixth year in the work. Jessica’s primary focus will remain faith formation but her role has shifted to include other administrative duties and worship support in this sabbatical year at TUS.
Jess believes that we need to find modern day approaches to faith formation for not only our families with children but with all members of our community. We must each take an active role in faith formation. Although the parents and guardians of children are a child’s primary religious educators it is our responsibility as Unitarian Universalists to engage in our childrens’ faith formation as a community.