Religious Education Programs 2011-2012
UU Identity, History, and Theology
Nursery (Infants through age 3)
Engaging childcare is provided each Sunday (and for all congregational events upon request) in our Nursery, from 10AM through 12 noon.
Love Surrounds Us (Pre-K-1st Grade and/or ages 3.5-6)
This curriculum focuses on the core of our Unitarian Universalist community: our seven Principles. The Principles encompass all the ingredients of a good and faith-filled life based on equality, freedom, peace, acceptance, truth, care, and love. This program explores all the Principles in the context of Beloved Community of family/home, school, and neighborhood. Participants engage in activities that emphasize the love they feel in community.
Love Will Guide Us (Grades 2-5 and/or ages 7-10)
In this program, participants learn to seek guidance in life through the lens of our Unitarian Universalist Sources, with an emphasis on love. Together we ask questions such as, "Where did we come from?" "What is our relationship to the Earth and other creatures?" "How can we respond with love, even in bad situations?" "What happens when you die?" Participants will learn that asking questions is valued in Unitarian Universalism, even as they begin to shape their own answers.
Riddle and Mystery (Fall) and Heading the Call (Spring) (Grades 6-8 and/or ages 11-13)
In this program, middle schoolers will split the year between the curriculum Riddle and Mystery and Heeding the Call: Qualities of a Justice Maker. In Riddle and Mystery, students will introduce and process a big question such as: Where do we come from? Where are we going? How can I know what to believe? What does Unitarian Universalism mean to me? In Heeding the Call, true stories of courage, sacrifice and collaboration, role-plays, games, and a program-long justice project will feed youth’s rising realization that as people of faith we are all called to love justice—not just with our words, but also with our deeds.
Youth Group (Grades 8-12 and/or ages 14-18)
The youth group meet weekly from noon-1pm where they discuss relevant issues, plans social activities, organizes social actions, attends district rallies, and worships together. During Sunday morning class time, high school youth are welcome to attend the worship service with the larger congregation or to assist with the younger classes.
The Youth Group at First UU Church is based on the theory of the Six Components of a Balanced Youth Group: community building, social action, leadership, learning, worship, and youth/adult relationships.
Our weekly Youth Group meetings are discussion-driven and are coordinated by the youth advisors from noon-1pm. Their discussions cover a wide range of topics from current events to questions of spirituality. Once a month, the youth group attends a Sunday worship service together that they collectively choose to attend.
In addition, the Youth Group works on various social justice projects selected by the youth and their advisors. Youth leadership roles are encouraged and supported throughout the program in ways that are appropriate for the ages and maturity of the youth. Youth also participate in community building events such as overnight lock-ins at First Church, camping trips with other nearby UU youth groups, and district youth rallies where they participate in circle worship, serve leadership roles, and deepen their UU identity.
The Youth Group annually leads a full Sunday Service known as the Youth Service in May. During the Youth Service, the Youth Group engaged the congregation in a lively thought provoking reflection on the issues they have been contemplating over the year.
Most Sundays children and youth will attend regularly scheduled RE classes. However, several Sundays a year children and youth will participate in special worship programming. Below is the current schedule for the year.
Multigenerational Worship Dates
Over the year there are a number of services that are multigenerational. These services usually are collaborative efforts between the DRE, Rev. Melanie, and the Worship Team.
9/11 Water Service
11/20 Thanksgiving Bread Service
12/11 Advent Service
12/18 Holidays of Light
12/21 Evening Solstice Labyrinth Service*
12/24 Christmas Eve*
1/22 Jazz Funeral for the Old Year
4/8 Easter Service
4/22 GNOUU Earth Day Service
May TBD Youth Service
6/3 RE Sunday (tentative)
* Denotes service held at a time other than Sunday morning.
Children’s Chapel Dates
Once a season (fall, winter, spring) children will explore ritual and worship with a children’s circle worship service in the D’Orlando Chapel instead of their regular classes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do we go first? Children attend the first part of our Sunday Services in the Sanctuary, which begin at 10:30 AM. Our RE classes start when the children are “sung our” of the Sanctuary and head to the classrooms in the Oscar Flowers Religious Education Wing. Classes run until 12 noon (even if the service is shorter); please meet your children at their classrooms at that time. Youth Group members are encouraged to attend services and/or help out in RE classrooms and then attend Youth Group in the D’Orlando Chapel from noon-1pm.
What should my child(ren) wear? We generally dress very casually so that we are ready for messy projects. Most children wear T-shirts and jeans or shorts.
Do I need to register them? Yes, all children attending RE classes must be registered each year; this helps us to adequately plan our program.
Is there a fee for Religious Education? No, the program for children and youth is funded through the church budget. We strongly urge all families to pledge yearly in support of First UU and all its programs.
Do my children have to go to class? Children of any age are always welcome to stay with their parents or caregivers in the service. We support parents and caregivers in finding the way of being part of the First UU community that works best for your individual family. If your family’s needs are not being met, please speak up.
How often should my children attend RE classes? Children are welcome to attend our RE both regularly and sporadically. However, as our RE curricula builds off previous lessons, children will get the most out of our RE program by attending an average of three classes a month.
Can I help? You bet! This is a cooperative effort and we need your involvement! Teaching, assistant teaching, improving our space, joining the RE Committee . . . the list of volunteer opportunities go on and on. Learn more about volunteering with RE.
Note on Health and Safety
At First UU Church, the health and safety of children and youth is fundamental to our Religious Education program. While First Church has yet to adopt an official Safe Congregations Policy (although we are working on changing that), our DRE and RE Committee are committed to operating under the principles of Safe Congregations policy with all children and youth at First Church. This includes the following guidelines:
- Requirement that all children and youth who participate in RE must be annually registered with complete information shared regarding allergies, health care information, and other pertinent information about children and youth’s health and safety needs.
- Visible first aid kits are available in all RE classrooms for minor scrapes and bruises.
- Children under the age 14 will not be released from childcare or RE class until a previously approved adult arrives to pick them up.
- All individuals who work with children and youth undergo a background check.
- No adult will ever be alone with an individual child or youth including motor vehicles. If a class has one child/youth present, the adult is required to leave the door completely open. No adult should contact children or youth outside the congregation except for in the case of a DRE-approved RE function. A child/youth’s parent/guardian must be aware/included that this contact is occurring.
- Children and youth may not attend any off-site fieldtrips without a First Church permission slip.
- Parents/guardians are required to pick up their child(ren)/youth in a timely manner in the case an emergency occurs in their absence.
At First Church, there are many ways to participate in the RE program that draws on your personal skills and interests. Whether you want to be teaching preschoolers, crafting religious education policy, or going to a rally with the youth group, there is a place for you. If you want to get involved, but don’t know what type of volunteering is right for you, the next two pages outline the roles and responsibilities of the RE Committee and teaching RE.
If you are interested in shaping the program and vision of RE, you should consider joining the…
…Religious Education Committee!
The Religious Education Committee (REC) works with the Director of Religious Education on supporting First Church’s RE programming and promoting intergenerational work across the congregation through quarterly meetings and other projects as needed. This work includes:
- Liaison committee to wider congregation
- Attend Board meetings
- Advocate for religious education
- Advocate for building a strong intergenerational faith community
- Assist DRE with class registration
- Do fundraising as needed
- Develop policy as needed
- Assist in evaluation of program
- Assist in hiring of DRE
- Assist with publicity of RE events
- Evaluate classroom rebuilding needs.
- Teacher recruitment
- Teacher appreciation
- Attend worship meetings
- Assist in choosing curriculum
If you want to work directly with children and youth, you should consider…
RE Teacher Description
RE teachers should be adults who have a commitment to the spiritual growth of children and youth. Teachers in the RE program do not need previous experience in education or ministry to be involved in our program. The DRE provides curriculum, a RE volunteer orientation at the beginning of the year, and supplies. Teachers are expected to plan lessons by themselves or with their co-teacher based on age-appropriate curriculum. In addition, they are expected to keep records of attendance and lessons. RE Teachers may choose to work on special RE projects (an intergenerational service, helping to plan a youth event, etc.) from time to time. The DRE is available to support all RE Teachers as needed.
Youth Advisor Description
Youth Advisors should be adults who have a commitment to supporting youth’s spiritual, mental, and emotional growth. In addition to attending the RE volunteer orientation at the beginning of the year, youth Advisors are expected to complete a Basic Youth Advisor Training by the UUA within the first year of working with youth. Youth advisors are expected to coordinate weekly youth group meeting and additional youth activities in a spirit that promotes youth leadership development. In addition, they are expected to keep records of attendance and lessons. The DRE is available to support all Youth Advisors as needed.
RE Aide Description
RE Aides can be youth or adults who are excited about supporting RE Teachers in Sunday classes. RE Aides do not need previous experience in education or ministry work. They should attend the RE volunteer orientation at the beginning of the year, and support their teacher as needed. The DRE is available to support all RE Aides as needed.
Nursery Care Worker Description
Nursery care workers should have experience working with infants and toddlers. Nursery care workers are expected to attend a training with the DRE.
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