Religious Education Programs 2016-17
We are a vibrant Religious Education program in a small and mighty congregation. Each year, our volunteer teachers and Religious Education Committee work together with our Director of Religious Education, in consultation with our minister, to ensure that we provide engaging, structured experiences for all the children and youth who participate. All children (except the littlest) and youth begin Sunday mornings in the sanctuary with their family, then are sung out by the congregation as they go to their Religious Education classes. This year, our RE program is divided as follows:
Childcare is provided for children, infants through age two. This is play-based care that begins just before Sunday services start.
With one of the most prominent symbols of Unitarian Universalism in its title, the Chalice Children curriculum delves deep into Unitarian Universalism. It strives to teach not just about faith and identity in developmentally appropriate ways, but also to provide experiences around the strength of community, the wonder and awe that transcend everyday understanding, and life issues we all share. Early childhood years (ages 3 through 6) are filled with curiosity and wonder. In a group setting, with nurturing adult guides, young children can engage in spiritual exploration. They also develop an openness to sharing and experience the benefit of a supportive community. Their time in Chalice Children can set a pattern for the rest of their lives and bring lasting benefits.
Bibleodeon introduces biblical scriptures by presenting the best-known Hebrew and Christian stories with fun and interactive games, such as investigating the Cain and Abel crime scene and solving the “Mystery of the Day.” Participants also act in playlets, illustrate a timeline, give awards to outstanding biblical women, and more. They explore connections between biblical events and Unitarian Universalist principles, between biblical ideas and their own lives, always grounded in the UU understanding that these stories were written by human hands and offer wisdom through the ages.
Compass Points is a curriculum which guides adolescents on a yearlong spiritual journey with opportunities to explore their identities, their beliefs and values, their Unitarian Universalist faith and identity, their relationships with others and their connections to the world. Adult mentors are matched with each youth in the winter and spring, allowing for further exploration. Affirmation youth and their teachers also spend a weekend retreat in March (this year at Murray Grove Retreat Center), designed to help them develop their credo (belief) statements, which they will present as part of our Sunday service in early May.
Affirmation class is offered every other year (including this year, 2016-17), alternating years with Our Whole Lives, a nationally recognized sexuality education curriculum designed specifically for 7th – 9th graders.