Lifespan Religious Education

 

Young Church

 

Note: Due to COVID-19, programming is being held online and outdoors.  To learn more or find out when the next gathering is, please contact mara.flynn@frsuu.org for ages 0-8th grade; julie.amery@frsuu.org for 9th-12th grade.  

 

Kids have lots of big questions about the nature of the universe and life. Our aim at FRSUU is to provide them with a safe space to explore these questions and seek their own answers. We expose them to a variety of ideas, beliefs, and principles from the Six Sources of our Unitarian Universalist faith, because Wisdom doesn’t come from only one source. Through worship and ritual, we honor life as a complex mix of joy and sorrow. We seek to instill a sense of justice and an ethic of service as we learn about the world and our community by teaching the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism.

 

Your first visit

 

To make your family’s first visit to FRS as smooth as possible, please let us know you’re coming. Contact our Director of Religious Education. Or come 15 minutes early to register your kids and get a quick tour. You can register on-line by filling out the Registration Form. A registration form is required even if you are just trying out Young Church.

 

Children attend the first part of the church service with their families. After the Moment for All Ages, about 15 minutes in, kids are dismissed to go with their group to their room in the Lower Meeting House or the Parish Hall. Parents can stay in the church service or join their child in Young Church. Young Church runs until the end of the service, about 11:30am.

 

At the end of the hour, kids through 4th grade must be signed out by parent or guardian. Kids in 5th grade and up are dismissed on their own.

 

Curriculum

 

12-24 months old

 

Our nursery is staffed by one of our church teens and a volunteer. It’s stocked with age-appropriate toys, and the children are guided in free play. The nursery is located in the Lower Meeting House, a floor below where the church service takes place.

 

3- and 4-year-olds

 

Ritual, stories, crafts, and games introduce preschool children to our church community.

 

Kindergarten to 6th grade

 

Kids develop their faith through worship, ritual, story and hands-on activities.

 

7th and 8th graders

 

Two programs for this age group are offered in alternate years: Neighboring Faiths and Our Whole Lives.

 

Through our Neighboring Faiths program, children host visitors from other faiths, and then go on field trips to worship with them. We’ve visited a Hindu temple, Islamic mosque, Jewish synagogue, Greek Orthodox church, Buddhist sangha, Friends Meetinghouse, and Christian Science church, among others.

 

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is our comprehensive sexuality education program. Kids work with trained facilitators to explore issues of human sexuality using honest, accurate information with a heavy emphasis on values and decision-making. OWL dismantles stereotypes and assumptions and builds self-acceptance and self-esteem. For more information, see what the Unitarian Universalist Association has to say about OWL. OWL meets 10:15-11:45am on Sundays.

 

Youth in these grades may also delve deeply into some of life’s big questions, like “Why do bad things happen?” and “What happens when we die?”

 

9th-12th graders

 

Our Youth Group meets every Sunday morning to give teens opportunities for service work, as well as a safe place to ask questions, explore life issues and socialize. Youth Group is advised by a staff advisor and adults of the church community.

 

OPTIONAL PROGRAMS (offered in alternate years)

 

Our Coming of Age program typically attracts 9th and 10th graders to wrestle with quintessential coming of age questions–Who am I? What’s the purpose of my life? What are my values? The culmination of the program is a worship service for the whole congregation put together by the youth, at which they have the opportunity to read the reflection piece they’ve written. Coming of Age meets once a month on Sunday evening, plus a couple of overnight retreats.

 

A justice learning trip is open to all high school grades. In this yearlong program, we learn about justice issues, community building and fundraising before going on a trip in late June. The program meets once a month on Sunday evening. Past trips include Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and learning about immigration in Tucson, Arizona.

 

FAQs

will I be expected to volunteer?

We strongly believe that a child’s religious education is enhanced when their parents participate, so we encourage you to volunteer in the program. Also, it takes many volunteers to make our program a safe and successful one. Helping with Young Church is a rewarding experience and lets you feel connected to your child’s religious education. And since you know what’s been talked about on Sunday mornings, you can engage your child on that topic during the week.

Adults who volunteer in Young Church on Sunday mornings are more like facilitators and guides than teachers. You’re not expected to provide answers, but simply to help the kids explore values and concepts.

We realize that helping with Young Church groups is not for everybody, however. There are many other volunteer options available for Young Church parents. Please talk to our Director of Religious Education to find the option that’s right for you. And thank you, on behalf of all the kids in our program.

Will I be expected to pay?

Yes. All families taking part in religious education are expected to make a financial contribution to the church–most often in the form of an annual pledge. You can make a pledge at any time, preferably as you start in the program. Pay all at once or in increments throughout the year. FRS depends on pledges like yours to fund all the staffing and activities of the church. Think about the ways in which the church makes a difference in your family’s lives and pledge accordingly.

What do you teach about the Bible?

Because Unitarian Universalism is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, we believe it’s important to familiarize our children with stories and teachings from the Bible. It also helps our children to be culturally literate and introduces them to many rich and meaningful stories.

We don’t teach Bible stories as factual. Instead, we see the Bible as a book of Wisdom Stories and cultural literacy. We tell the story and then, through discussion and activities, help kids understand how the story’s meaning applies to their own lives.

 

What should my children wear to Young Church?

The environment at FRS is casual. Most children wear whatever they would wear to school. If we have a particularly messy project planned in one of the classes, we’ll let you know in advance so your child can be prepared.

OUR Foundational Principles

Vision

FRSUU’s religious education program aspires to create a welcoming and inclusive community that supports spiritual growth through learning and serving in a respectful, safe, and joyful environment.

Mission

The religious education program is one in which Unitarian Universalist Principles, modeled by caring and inspired adults, are taught in a joyful environment, where opportunities to practice them are given through classroom experience and service to the community. We pursue this mission in an effort to integrate Unitarian Universalist Principles as a foundation and moral compass for life.

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