Coming of Age Heritage Trip

The 8th-9th grade Coming of Age (“COA”) class went on their heritage trip to Boston with Scott Umlauf and Scott Drew at the end of April.

Coming of Age is a Unitarian Universalist rite of passage that celebrates the transition from childhood into the teen and adult years within the Unitarian Universalist tradition. During the year, members of the class explore their personal beliefs and values, learn about Unitarian Universalism and how our faith applies to everyday life, participate in service projects to UUCWC and the community at large, and work with a mentor to write a personal statement of current religious belief. The year culminates with a Sunday Service (this year on May 19th at 10am) where the class reads their credos, or statements of belief.  This is often one of the most moving services of the year.

Here is a brief summary of their trip.

The class started their first day in Boston by visiting the offices of the UU Service Committee.  A member of the staff described the work of UUSC and led the class in a thought provoking discussion starting with Theodore Parker’s famous quote: “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” For the following statements, each participant could move along a continuum between Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree and explain why they chose the spot. We shared our time at UUSC with a COA class from a UU church in New Haven, CT.

After UUSC, the class visited the Unitarian Universalist Association near the Boston waterfront. The tour was led by an enthusiastic staff member with her young daughter, and they were greeted by UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray. The class then went to the Arlington Street Church, a Unitarian Universalist church that looks like a cathedral (established in 1729, current church built in 1861). It has 14 Tiffany stained glass windows, a huge organ, bell tower and a pulpit that is one story high.  The class had a great photo up in the pulpit. The historic tour of the building included a chance to play the organ, climb the rickety bell tower and ring the church bells over Boston. A big hit! They made a quick visit to King’s Chapel, one of the oldest churches in the U.S. That evening, they found a great little Italian seafood place in Somerville that had delicious cannoli.

The next day, the class left their “lodging” (the floor of UU Medford’s RE classrooms) and headed north, stopping at the waterfront in Marblehead and then on to Salem, MA. In Salem, they visited the  Salem Witch Museum, which has a good diorama tour of the witch trials, a favorable explanation of modern day Wicca practices, and even a discussion of  modern-day “witch trials”. Then it was on to Walden Pond where the class saw a replica of Unitarian Henry David Thoreau’s cabin and discussed simple living. Some people took a scenic walk around the pond too. That evening the class tried candle pin bowling, a New England tradition. On Sunday, it was back to the Arlington Street Church to attend services, and then back home.

This year’s trip was very successful. The class got to see many Unitarian historic sights and both the headquarters of our faith’s governing body and its social action organization. The chaperones reported that the teens were great traveling companions, supporting each other and the Scotts, and engaging in fun and varied conversations throughout their time together.

Thank you to everyone who purchased chili during the COA fundraiser earlier this year.  Your contributions made this trip to Boston possible.