Children’s Religious Education
Our Sunday School is led by our Director of Religious Education Michael Packard with the volunteer Religious Education Committee.
Mission and Goals of Religious Education:
- We provide an encouraging community with opportunities for our children to explore their own identities and their places with the faith traditions of the world.
- We strive to offer experiences through which they learn how to be responsible for their life long spiritual search.
- We support the teachers in providing a safe and secure environment in which all children and volunteers are held accountable to each other for inclusivity and respecting each other’s space.
- We honor and support each other as we learn, celebrate and seek together.
What to Expect on Sunday Morning
Religious Education takes place during the worship service every Sunday, from 10:30-11:30. On a regular day of RE classes, families descend to the lower Parish Hall to usher their children to their age-appropriate gathering rooms. Every class is planned to have at least two adults present in order to provide a safe and accountable setting for the children to learn and explore their faith identities.
On Intergenerational Worship service Sundays, families are invited to remain in the service throughout, as these types of services are designed to engage all ages. RE Sunday (June 4) is the Intergenerational Sunday which marks the end of the church year for RE classes. Classes resume after Labor Day in September.
As of April 1st, there will only be four more Sundays with Religious Education classes. And the final class, on May 28, will be preparation for the final Sunday of the Religious Education church year, RE Sunday.
There are also special Sundays in which families begin in the Sanctuary and then the children and teachers are sung out after the Story for All Ages to do a special activity in the Parish Hall. Activities vary and are often seasonal or specific to a certain congregational event, such as when we created paper mache chalices to give as awards at the Academy Award-themed church Auction.
During regular RE Sundays, children have 4 choices as to where they will spend their time in covenant with each other. Below are brief descriptions of each:
- UU Explorers (May-June) For children ages 5-7, the Our Whole Lives program has wrapped up and it is time to finish the year with intergenerational worship services and projects that support exploration of our Unitarian Universalist identity. Activities will occur indoors (preparing for the RE Sunday worship service) and outdoors (for example, a project honoring Earth Day in April).
Harry Potter and UU
The “Harry Potter and UU” religious education curriculum is based on the moral and social justice themes of the Harry Potter tales. Harry and UU Magical lessons (including potions, charms, divination, and herbology) are offered for ages eight and up!
While engaging in activity-based classes, students explore how story informs our values and beliefs, and inspires our caring for others, and participate on specific justice-based quests which culminate in a class-wide project. All new or visiting students, professors, and prefects will be matched with wands. Over successive classes, students create, read and discuss, play games (Quiddich, anyone?), and choose projects to work on together that benefit the larger community. No prior Knowledge of magic or of Harry Potter is required to join the class.
Teen Ethics Discussions
For youth aged 11 and up (welcome also to adults) there is an offering every Sunday to participate in a covenanted ethics discussion around topics relevant to participants. The success of each class is due to the skill of the expert facilitators, to the atmosphere of trust and accountability that is fostered, and to the open and honest sharing that happens as a result of the first two factors. The structure of activities and discussion is based on the UUA Tapestry of Faith program called “Amazing Grace”.
Our youngest members and guests have the option of staying in the Nursery during any worship service. Our Nursery is full of age-appropriate toys, stuffed animals, books, and games for children aged 1-4. We have a regular, seasoned child care provider present every week who gives children guidance and support to just have fun being themselves.