Information For Families
Unitarian Universalism is a non-dogmatic, non-creedal faith. In our Religious Education program for children and teens, we teach our young people that their beliefs should make sense in their minds and feel right in their hearts. The key components in our religious education program for children and youth are respect, community, ritual, stories, social justice and service.
Unitarian Universalist 7 Principles - Children’s Version
- We believe that each and every person is important.
- We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.
- We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.
- We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.
- We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.
- We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.
- We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.
Sources of Our Faith
Unitarian Universalists find inspiration from six sources. The stories and lessons we offer in religious education are drawn from these foundations of our faith:
- The sense of wonder we all share.
- Women and men long ago and today — people whose lives remind us to be kind and fair.
- The ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world’s religious.
- Christian and Jewish teachings which tell us to love all others as we love ourselves.
- The use of reason and the discoveries of science.
- The harmony of nature and the sacred circle of life.
Covenant of Respect
- Respect for others;
- Respect for self; and
- Respect for our church.
In the fall, each group creates a list of behaviors that demonstrate respect in each of these areas. The children, youth, and adults promise to practice the behaviors when they are together and at church. As the children grow into youth, the behaviors they commit to become more nuanced.
Our religious education leaders work hard to create a safe and trustworthy environment. We use cooperative games to help young people share, look out for one another, find a sense of belonging, learn, and reflect, using hearts, minds, and bodies.
Our groups, from three-year-olds through high school youth, begin and end their gatherings with rituals. Opening rituals include: lighting a chalice; a time for silence; sharing of joys and sorrows; and sometimes a reading or a song. Closing rituals may be as simple as gathering in a circle, taking a moment of silence together and each sharing a word or phrase about what they learned or how they are feeling about their time together.
We use the power of story throughout our program whether we are sharing important events in our lives during the Joys and Sorrows time or telling stories that have been passed down for thousands of years. Sharing stories helps humans make sense of and find meaning in our lives.
Social Justice & Service
One of our core teachings is that together we can do what one person cannot do alone. We offer opportunities for our children and youth to work for justice, such as practicing anti-bullying techniques. Ways we serve others include events such as collecting food for the local food kitchen and a warm clothing drive during the winter months.
Programs for All Ages and Stages
Our Nursery Staff & Religious Education Volunteers
Our religious education program serves children from infancy through high school. We have paid caregivers and a coordinator on staff that work in the Nursery during our morning service and provide childcare for other church programs and special events. Church volunteers who have been background checked and trained by our Director of Religious Education staff all other classes. It is our policy to have two teachers in each classroom each Sunday to provide consistency and safety for the children and youth.
Every Sunday, at the beginning of worship service, children five years and older, assist with lighting our worship chalice. If your child is interested in being a chalice lighter, please sign-up at the welcome table in the Dome Room. The Director of Religious Education or representative will meet your child in the Dome Room on that Sunday at 10:20 to assist.
Nursery (Infants – 3 Years)
We provide a safe and nurturing environment- surrounding our children with love and acceptance starting from infancy. We continue these ideals with our toddlers using the curriculum, A World of Wonder. As the children seem ready and interested, this program provides young preschoolers with opportunities to sing songs, play games, hear stories, and create art as they explore their world.
Orange Group (Pre-k – Kindergarten) 3-5 years
Our preschool curriculum, The Rainbow Connection, offers an age appropriate introduction to the seven Unitarian Universalist principles for children. Each week, the group will begin with a circle time, offering an opportunity for each child to be individually welcomed and recognized. The group will also enjoy picture books, songs, and crafts to explore the values that unite us as Unitarian Universalists.
Yellow Group 1st and 2nd Grade
This year, our theme will be World Religious. Early in the year, the curriculum Super Heroes – Bible People will explore stories of people from the Hebrew and Christian Bible who acted with courage and wisdom in their attempts to lead their lives fully and make the world a better place for others. We will supplement this program with additional materials beginning in February as the group explores ideas and stories from the Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu faith traditions.
Green Group 3rd and 4th Grade
Every day our children go forth into a complex world where they are often faced with difficult decisions and situations. The curriculum Moral Tales attempts to provide them with the spiritual and ethical tools they will need to make choices and take actions reflective of their Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values. Each session has a central story in which participants meet real and fictional heroes and heroines who have displayed moral courage and spiritual greatness. Participants also will have regular opportunities to create and share their own stories, in which they are actors for justice and goodness.
Blue Group 5th and 6th Grade
Harry Potter and UU focuses on social action through the lens of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Our young people will be immersing themselves in the imaginative world of these popular stories while seeking to put Unitarian Universalist values in action through activities focused on making the world a more just, peaceful, and beautiful place. Last year, we worked together to smash a variety of Horcruxes including Illiteracy, Hunger, Poverty, Animal Cruelty, Child Labor and Environmental Degradation. We will revisit some of these issues and work together to choose some new ones as we reprise and extend this fun and engaging program for our tweens.
Programs for Junior and Senior Youth
We believe a healthy youth program includes: fun and fellowship; worship; service; spiritual exploration; and leadership development. Junior Youth begin a journey of discerning and articulating their own beliefs and developing meaningful personal spiritual practices. Senior Youth learn to plan and lead their program with guidance and mentoring from our volunteer youth advisers and our Director of Religious Education.
Junior Youth Group
The Our Whole Lives (OWL)curriculum presents a comprehensive approach to human sexuality based on the values of respect, responsibility, justice and inclusivity. The program helps young people apply these values to their behavior and provides them with information and skills they can use throughout life. Due to the nature of this program, parent permission is required for young people to participate in this class and participants must enroll by October 1. Newcomers will be placed in the Blue Group or Senior Youth Group after Oct 1.
Senior Youth Group (High School)
Our Senior Youth programs are shaped around 5 components: worship, leadership development, fellowship, social justice action, and learning. They meet Sunday mornings and at other times for special activities, retreats and youth conferences.
Charting Our Own Journey, our Sunday morning program, encourages youth participants to work together with their adult advisors to develop their own curriculum of faith development. They will engage with topics of interest through discussions, games, activities, and spiritual practices and work together to process their own experiences and ideas through a UU lens.