CHILDREN & YOUTH RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

 

CHILDREN & YOUTH RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Welcome to Religious Education (RE) at First Unitarian! From the roots of ‘religious’ (re-ligio – to bind back), and education’ (educare – to set free), our RE programs seek to offer children and youth the liberation of a spiritual life in which one connects to oneself and others through deep listening, opening to wonder and transformation, and serving together with love and humility.

Our Religious Education mission is to help young people listen, open, and serve by providing learning experiences that include practical skills and service (promoting UU Principles), playful adventure, and multicultural wisdom (drawing on UU Sources). It’s about creating children and youth who…live mindfully and love faithfully!

We foster their delight in the mysteries, diversity, and miracles of the world, and inspire actions that promote wholeness in programs which include worship, mindfulness practice, sexuality and race/ethnicity education, social justice, and exploration of many sources of truth.

We are serious about our commitment to journey beside you! We welcome you!

RE PROGRAMS

All children and youth programming will be offered whenever possible, outdoors on the church grounds. Online and indoor options will be utilized when appropriate for safety.

Chalice Children (3 and 4yr. olds)

Sundays at 9:30-10:30 AM

Chalice Children strives not just to teach about our faith, but also to provide experiences around the strength of community, the wonder and awe that transcend everyday understanding, and life issues we all share. In a group setting, with loving adult guides, young children can engage in spiritual seeking, develop their openness to sharing, and experience the benefit of a supportive community.

 

Children’s Worship

Sundays at 10:40-11:05 AM 

Families gather with their young children to participate in song, ritual, and story. This worship includes interactive questions, mindfulness practice, and encouragement for families to build their UU faith together all week. 

 

Love and Justice Bedtime Stories

Virtually Thursdays at 7:00 PM

Snuggle up with your child for a simple chalice lighting, mindful minute, and a story geared to foster connection and nurture important early conversations about love and fairness. Started during the pandemic, will continue to run if there is lay leadership and interest!

 

Childcare 

Sundays 9:30- 12:15 AM (6 months- 4yrs.)

Loving and age-appropriate care is available for children during morning worship services.

Children’s Workshops 

Sundays at 9:30-10:30 AM 

Workshops of 4-6 weeks are designed to teach the UU Sources of the Living Tradition and to sync up with our Monthly Worship Themes. These include: My Sacred Stage (learning from direct experiences of life), The Good Neighborhood (Jewish and Christian teachings on love), Thinking Cap Lab (humanistic teachings), Superhero City (words and deeds to confront evil), Nature Center (earth-based teachings about life’s sacred cycle), and Guru Gym (wisdom from world religions).  

 

Children’s Worship

Sundays at 10:40-11:05 AM

Families gather with their young children to participate in song, ritual, and story. This worship includes interactive questions, mindfulness practice, and encouragement for families to build their UU faith together all week. 

 

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Human Sexuality Education (K – 1st & 5th grade) 

Late Winter/ Spring 2022 at 9:30-10:30 AM

These programs are in-person only and support the “three R’s” of childhood sexuality education: Respect, Relationships, and Responsibility. OWL’s goals are to help families communicate openly about life questions, and to help children learn to make responsible decisions that show respect for self and others with accurate information grounded in UU values.

 

UU Green Group (K – 8th grade)

Online/ in-person hybrid at various times  

This advocacy group for environmental justice meets to learn, deepen relationships with the natural world through ritual, and engage in action for animals and the earth. Families often participate together! 

 

Sacred Arts Team (3rd – 12th grade) 

Online/ in-person hybrid at various times   

This group offers children and youth the opportunity to use their theatrical, musical, tech, storytelling or other skills in supporting worship creations for all ages.

 

Jubilee Kids! (5th grade) 

Meets in Spring as Online/ in-person hybrid

Children learn many facets of healthy racial and ethnic identity. Emphasis is on building skills in promoting the Beloved Community through words, action, and understanding of historical and contemporary inequities and racism.

Soulful Sunsets (6th – 12th grades) 

Fridays at sunset, once per Worship Theme 

A casual, lightly programmed youth gathering with bonfire and time for friendship, conversation, and music. 

 

Spiritual Survivor (6th – 8th grade) 

Sundays at 9:30-11 AM 

Many modern forces aim to separate youth of faith from their deepest selves, others, and the wider web of life. Spiritual Survivor helps give them the skills and experiences necessary to meet these challenges with confidence, support, and fun! Our program is designed to provide four survivor challenges this year, as follows:  

The Roller Coaster Challenge: Participants will take the challenge of moving through life’s ups and downs with direction from inner listening and UU values. One’s ability to assess the severity of situations, level of control, communication of needs, and personal strength are supported. Excursions include off site places of worship, and social justice apprenticeships such as voter registration, and a LGBTQ+ project. 

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education: Participants will gain information that broadens their understanding of sexuality to include more than “sex”: values clarification, personal ethics, and application of our UU Principles to enforce responsible, respectful behavior. OWL is taught by specially trained facilitators. Parent permission required.  

Junior Youth Jubilee: Junior youth learn many facets of healthy racial and ethnic identity. Emphasis is on building skills in promoting the Beloved Community through words, action, and understanding of historical and contemporary inequities and racism. 

The Techno Challenge: Participants will take the challenge of balancing their use of technology and their connection to the natural world. One’s ability to make informed choices, use technology wisely, unplug and have fun are supported.  Excursions include a trip to The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and social justice apprenticeships include UU Environmental Justice and Petition Sunday. 

 

Sacred Arts Team (3rd – 12th grade) 

Online/ in-person hybrid at various times   

This group offers children and youth the opportunity to use their theatrical, musical, tech, storytelling or other skills in supporting worship creations for all ages.

 

UU Green Group (K – 8th grade)

Online/ in-person hybrid at various times  

This advocacy group for environmental justice meets to learn, deepen relationships with the natural world through ritual, and engage in action for animals and the earth. Families often participate together! 

Sundays at 11:15 AM- 12:25 PM with special program elements

Get ready for the journey of a lifetime! Experience a UU church hop, ropes course, retreats, worship, sexuality education, social action, and more! In this small group, teens examine what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist in everyday life in order to help them embrace our mission and history more fully. We will explore connections with and the importance of community, self, others, and life giving sources/spiritual practices. Youth will be encouraged to articulate what they believe as well as how they perceive themselves to be living their values within our culture. They will address stumbling blocks as they move toward listening, opening to wonder, and serving together with love and humility. Culminating activities include a pilgrimage to historical UU sites in Boston and Walden Pond and a worship service celebrating their year of growth. As this is a journey group, COA enrollment only remains open until mid October. *Youth may participate in both Youth Group and Coming of Age in the same year.

 

Sacred Arts Team (3rd – 12th grade) 

Online/ in-person hybrid at various times   

This group offers children and youth the opportunity to use their theatrical, musical, tech, storytelling or other skills in supporting worship creations for all ages.

 

Soulful Sunsets (6th – 12th grades) 

Fridays at sunset, once per Worship Theme 

A casual, lightly programmed youth gathering with bonfire and time for friendship, conversation, and music.

Youth Group (9th – 12th grade) 

Sundays at 12:30 – 1:45 PM 

Check it out! Open to all high school teens, Youth Group is a youth-driven meet-up with room for everyone to get involved in community building, social action, and spiritual development! Come when you can or be part of a strong core of regulars. Typical group activities include a weekly check-in and a learning/action activity – everything from art meditation to packing condoms, from planning a fundraiser for scholarships in Honduras to making videos or CDs! Social action projects and learning are in partnership with a First Unitarian ministry and one national UU initiative! *Youth may participate in both Youth Group and Coming of Age in the same year.

 

Sacred Arts Team (3rd – 12th grade) 

Online/ in-person hybrid at various times   

This group offers children and youth the opportunity to use their theatrical, musical, tech, storytelling or other skills in supporting worship creations for all ages.

 

Soulful Sunsets (6th – 12th grades) 

Fridays at sunset, once per Worship Theme 

A casual, lightly programmed youth gathering with bonfire and time for friendship, conversation, and music. 

All Community Worship

Intergenerational worship services mark special liturgical points in the church year, in addition to weekly Children’s Worship and Youth Soulful Sunsets. These services invite all members of First Unitarian into special rituals such as Memory Tree, Solstice, and Flower Communion.

 

Soul Adventures! 

Once per Worship Theme; Variable times

These community outings are a chance for families to learn, do, or just be together in the wider Rochester area. Lightly programmed, these will invite shared experiences and reflection, fun and exploration for families of any make-up!  

 

UU Families of Color 

A casual hangout for families of RE participants who identify as non-white, including Hispanic and Latinx children and youth. Potlucks, outings, and casual meet ups provide space for connecting.  

 

UU Families in Action

Watch for opportunities on social media and your RE newsletter for chances to participate in social justice work in line with our First U mission and Principles.

 

Parenting as Spiritual Practice 

A monthly offering for any parent/guardian who wishes to learn non-violent communication skills, mindfulness techniques, and how to nourish gratitude. This year the focus is on GROUNDING from a Buddhist perspective and JUST Communication.

 

Single or Post-Divorce Parenting  

A quarterly offering for parents who are single, co-parenting or parallel parenting with a caregiver in another household.  

 

UU Family Circle Training 

An annual offering for families wanting to integrate UU values more deeply into home life. Basics of equity-based communication, family circle process, mindfulness practice, and gratitude practice will be shared.  

 

Dialogues On Race & Ethnicity 

A parent or family group focusing on building Beloved Community through dialogues and enrichment through movies, books, exhibits, or guests. A new possibility this year, based on parent/family interest.  

For questions about out Parent Orientation to our program contact Sheila.   

 

Starting Point 

An Introduction to the UU Journey. Usually a 4-class series, this series offers a look at Unitarian Universalism in general and First Unitarian in specific. Contact Shannan Foos

 

Special needs

If your child has a special need, our Friends in Faith program may be able to help. Contact Sheila to discuss. 

 

Pastoral Care 

If you or your child is in need of pastoral care, you may contact any RE staff member, or Rev. A J van Tine, Assistant Minister of Pastoral Care and Adult Spiritual Development, 585-270-0851. 

*Note: Some RE programs have parent meetings scheduled as part of your child’s learning. You will be notified individually of these. Looking for a group that doesn’t (yet) exist? Contact Sheila (585-271-9070 x109).