Welcome to Religious Education at First Universalist!
Please review these important tips and information to ensure your family has an easy, meaningful and fun experience of Religious Education at First Universalist Church.
Religious Education classes run from the Sunday after Memorial Day through the last Sunday before Labor Day weekend.
What is happening in my child’s classroom this year?
- Find out about the Religious Education curriculum here.
Where and when do I drop off my child on Sunday mornings?
- Please accompany children to their classrooms 5-10 minutes before classes begin, sign them in, and help them get a name tag. Please be sure there are two Religious Education (RE) teachers present in the room before leaving your child.
- Please remember that for safety and liability reasons, parents must remain on church property while their children are in RE classes.
- Parents of babies and preschoolers must leave a cell phone number (set on vibrate mode during the service) or note where they will be seated in the Sanctuary so they can be asked to return if needed.
- Please note that children and youth are registered for either 9:30am or 11:15am classes. Our classes work best when children and youth consistently attend at the class time they are enrolled. Please plan to attend that service each Sunday.
Where and when can I pick up my child from his/her RE class?
- Please pick up babies, toddlers and preschoolers between 10:30-10:40am (first service) or 12:15-12:25pm (second service).
- Please pick up preK through 3rd grade kids between 10:40-10:45am (first service) or 12:25-12:30pm (second service). Please ensure that the class has sung “Go Now in Peace” before you pick up your child, so they can be part of the closing ritual.
- Children up to 3rd grade must be released to an adult (not a sibling). Please support our staff and volunteers by picking up your child on time.
- 4th-12th grade children and youth do not need to be picked up and are released at 10:45am/12:30pm. Please arrive five minutes early if you prefer to be waiting as your child is dismissed from class.
How can I support my child’s experience in Religious Education?
- Ensure your child attends church regularly. Much of the benefit of our RE classes comes through the relationships children develop with one another and with the adults in their classrooms. Through these connections, our children have an experience of being valued and included. Together they learn about friendship, acceptance, compassion, conflict resolution, appreciating differences, and honoring the wisdom and light of each human heart.
- Encourage children to share their joys and concerns. On your way to church, talk with them about their week. Remind them that their church friends are here to support them and celebrate with them, whether they are feeling sad, lonely, worried or joyful.
- Encourage your child to bring an offering. We teach our children about sharing and taking care of one another by collecting an offering in their class or Children’s Chapel each week. The children’s offering goes to the same recipient as the offering given in the Sanctuary by the adults. Encourage your child to bring a coin or bill to put in the offering basket, and talk with them about how our church works to build a more just, fair and peaceful world.
- Talk with your child’s Class Coordinator or with RE staff about how we can help your child have a positive experience on Sunday mornings. Your child’s Class Coordinator is one of the volunteer teaching team who acts as a bridge between the classroom, the families and the teaching team. The information you share about your child’s unique needs and interests helps us create classrooms that live up to our UU values. Our faith calls us to give all children the experience of being welcomed, affirmed, and accommodated in ways that enable them to benefit from the richness of a diverse religious community.
How do children and youth at First Universalist experience worship?
- We work hard to provide all our children an opportunity to participate in worship that is interactive, relevant, and rich with music and story. Children who are familiar with worship are much more likely to seek religious community and find comfort and joy in spiritual practice throughout life.
- All RE classes at First Universalist include time for worship. Just as adults look forward to being in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings, our children and youth benefit from being part of a caring, welcoming and affirming circle of friends sharing sacred space.
- Even our youngest children “light” chalices by placing “flames” on the felt board chalice. Kids of all ages gather in a circle to recite chalice lighting words, share joys and concerns, give an offering, hear a story and sing songs of our faith. In the older grades, worship that happens in RE classes is led by the youth themselves.
- Our 2nd-5th grade kids participate in Children’s Chapel for the first 15 minutes of RE. After signing children in at their classrooms, walk them directly to the Chalice Room. Chapel doors open at 9:20am/11:05am. Children must have picked up their name tags in their classrooms before entering Children’s Chapel. Their teachers will lead them back to their classrooms after they are dismissed from Chapel.
- Several times a year, youth in 6th-12th grades attend the worship service with their RE class. On these “youth-friendly Sundays,” the service is designed to include elements that appeal to our teenagers and youth are involved in the service as worship leaders.
When will children attend worship with their families?
- On the first Sunday of each month, children ages 4 years through 5th grade join adults in the Sanctuary for Sharing Sundays. For 15-20 minutes, we share in a multigenerational worship experience. Following a story for all ages, children are dismissed and sung out to their Religious Education classes. RE teachers meet them outside the Sanctuary doors and lead them to their classrooms.
- On six occasions throughout the year, including Water Communion, Easter/Passover and Christmas, children and youth join their families in the Sanctuary for a full hour of Multigenerational Worship. These Sunday services are designed to be engaging for our entire congregation. There are no RE classes on these Sundays; childcare is available for children up to 3 years.
How can I connect with other parents and families?
- Community Circles are probably the best way to nurture meaningful connections with other parents, while deepening your spiritual journey. Find out more here.
- We host a couple of social gatherings for families with children of a particular age range each year, coordinated by parent volunteers. Keep an eye on the website and our weekly family e-news for dates and details.
How can I learn more about First Universalist’s Children, Youth & Family Ministries?
- All registered families receive our weekly Children, Youth & Family Ministries e- news. We’ll keep you updated about upcoming events and share resources for UU parents.
Who are the staff in Children, Youth & Family Ministries?
- Lauren Wyeth, Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries, is responsible for ensuring our department aligns with the mission and vision of the larger church, creating and selecting Religious Education curricula, leadership development, pastoral care, supporting multigenerational worship, and coordinating social justice, special events and programming for children, youth and families.
- We have a dedicated staff team, but with over 500 children and youth are enrolled, it’s volunteers – ministering to our children and youth as caregivers, teachers and advisors – who bring our program to life with their energy, compassion, dedication and creativity.
Questions or concerns?
- Your child’s Class Coordinator can share information about what’s happening in the classroom and can help you connect with other families.
- Whether you want to talk about the guiding principles of our Religious Education program, make suggestions for improvement, or find support for yourself, your child or your family, we are here to help.
- Contact Lauren Wyeth, Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-825-1701 x111. We are always happy to hear from you. You are why we are here.
As an intentional, covenanted community, we have so many gifts to give and receive from one another as we walk together in love. We hope that your church community will offer each member of your family spiritual sustenance and companionship; comfort in times of sorrow and celebration in times of joy; and encouragement to spiritual growth that manifests in beautiful ways in your soul, in your family, in our beloved community, in our neighborhoods and in the larger world. We are honored to serve and to share in this journey with you.