Children and Youth Family Ministry
Our Children and Youth Family Ministry offers many faith engagement opportunities from nursery though high school, including developmentally appropriate curriculum, all ages social action opportunities, worship, and more to come.
What Happens on Sunday?
Generally on Sunday mornings, families start together in the Sanctuary for the beginning of worship. After the Time for All Ages, usually a story told by our Director of Family Ministry Julie Rigano, children and youth leave for their morning programming based on their age. Children and youth are also always welcome to stay in worship with their families if they choose.
If you have an infant or toddler, they are welcome to stay in the Sanctuary with you or you can join them in the nursery across the hall from the Sanctuary in the lobby. The audio of the service can be heard in the nursery and there are large glass windows so that parents can listen to and see the worship service from the nursery.
After worship, parents of elementary school children and younger are expected to pick up their children from their programming. Middle school and high school youth can be dismissed on their own. Then families are encouraged to come to coffee hour or play outside together in community.
During the summer, children are invited to join drop in morning programming each Sunday morning. Each Sunday we will explore different ways to engage with our Unitarian Universalist faith, whether that is discussing social justice, meditating, or engaging in community building activities. Youth are welcome to stay in the worship service.
Super Sundays: Once a month, K-12th grades will meet together for a social action project as well as fun and games, often around a holiday theme. This is an opportunity for children and youth to socialize with one another across the age ranges.
Nursery: Our Nursery (off the main lobby) is open for infants through age two. There is no formal supervision; parents must stay in the room with their child(ren). The audio of the service can be heard in the nursery so that parents can listen to the worship service.
Kindergarten-2nd Grade: This group will be using the Wonderful Welcome curriculum. Wonderful Welcome engages and challenges the children to explore how and why we are willing to welcome others into our lives. We welcome not only strangers, but family, our peers, our neighbors, and even entities that are not people such as our animal friends and nature itself. Parents/guardians pick up their children directly from class after the worship service.
3rd-5th Grade: Our upper elementary group will be using the Love Will Guide Us curriculum. 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?” Sessions apply wisdom from our Sources to help participants answer these questions. Participants will learn that asking questions is valued in Unitarian Universalism, even as they begin to shape their own answers. Parents/guardians pick up their children directly from class after the worship service.
6th-8th grade: Our middle school youth will be exploring world religions in a Neighboring Faiths program including trips to different places of worship nearby. We will be using the Soul Matters Crossing Paths curriculum. Crossing Paths is rooted in religious pluralism. Put simply, this view treats every religion as a unique system. Some models of interfaith engagement emphasize the unity or commonality of all religions. Instead, Crossing Paths celebrates each faith’s unique aims and ends. Every world faith tradition was born in response to a distinct human struggle. We believe we honor religions best when we work to understand the particular challenge and aspiration to which each religion has devoted itself. Youth are dismissed from their morning programming on their own.
9th-12th Grade: This year, our youth group will be meeting one Sunday a month and one Friday night a month. Youth are also invited to join us on Super Sundays and in the worship service. As youth, participants have more autonomy in what their programming looks like. At the beginning of the year, the youth will engage in a visioning process to imagine what they want their year to look like using the Six Pillars of Youth Ministry as a guide. The Six Pillars are Building Community, Social Action, Worship, Learning, Leadership, and Congregational Involvement. You can learn more about the Six Pillars here. Youth are dismissed from their morning program on their own and must be picked up by a guardian from evening programming.