Unitarian Universalist Religious Education for Children and Youth
We help children find ways to make the values and principles of Unitarian Universalism part of the fabric of their beings. We work, play, worship, and learn with people of all ages in our congregations.Our children's questions invite our wonder, their trust encourages our hope. We return their questioning with affection and respect, and in doing so our congregations grow and deepen in faith and life-affirming inspiration.
For children, youth and adults alike, we strive to realize the beloved community described by Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams thus:
I call that church free which brings individuals into a caring, trusting fellowship that protects and nourishes their integrity and spiritual freedom. It is open to insight and conscience from every source.
We are family, all the generations in beloved community. Perhaps what makes the church community distinct from all other programming for children and families is that much of our work and play is done children, youth, and adults together.
Children's Curricula in Unitarian Universalist Congregations
We offer children and youth not a doctrine, but a foundation that will help them make wise decisions about their own beliefs and values. We want our children to journey through life with integrity, compassion, hope, wonder and friendships.
Curricula for children and youth are designed to help them (1) develop an attitude toward faith values; (2) explore the variety of faith traditions, learning what they have to teach us; and (3) develop ways to bring their values into work to make the world a better place.
"Free to Believe" helps first and second graders think through how to live our UU principles in their young lives.
"Stepping Stones" helps second and third graders explore the great myths that help us shape our beliefs about the world: creation stories, life and death, human relationships, personal identity.
"We Believe" guides fourth through sixth graders in applying the Unitarian Principles to making choices in their lives
"Weaving the Fabric of Diversity" guides senior high and young adults to develop attitudes of tolerance and inclusiveness
We want our children to value the beliefs and practices of the world's religions, including our Unitarian and Universalist heritage.
"Around the Church, around the year" for kindergarten through grade two, focuses on the celebrations that
characterize our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition.
"Holidays and Holy Days" helps that same group learn about and participate in the celebration traditions
of all the major faiths
"World Religions" is designed for fourth through sixth grade
"Neighboring Faiths" allows junior high young people to study and visit congregations of the major faith
"In Our Hands" is a series for fourth through sixth grade, junior high, senior high, and young adult, challenging youth to work for peace and justice.
Intergenerational work and play
"Good teachers and good adult friends for our kids - where else but in a church are you going to find that?" -Matthew Sohnstein, a parent
Our social justice work is done intergenerationally: Families participate in soup kitchens, congregation-wide initiatives such as "No More Turning Away," holiday gift projects, Heifer International, to name a few of many projects. In some congregations teens and adults participate in Habitat for Humanity both in their home communities and in distant projects.
Children and youth attend at least part of the Sunday morning worship service. Adults work with children and youth as mentors, teachers, and "secret buddies." Every congregation has programming for all ages, such as family worship services, Seder dinners, holiday events, camping trips, and reading groups. Children are heartily welcomed to church suppers, parties, and dances. Every congregation has groups for youth and young adults.
The Circle of Life
The congregation is family and recognizes the milestones in a family's life with infant/child dedications, coming of age programs for early teens, and bridging ceremonies for teens becoming young adults.
"Between Sundays: Answering Kids' questions"
from the Church of the Larger Fellowship
Cool Planet for Children
A program of Oxfam to end hunger
Kids can make a difference
A program of the World Hunger Year