Welcome to Religious Explorations!
Jennifer Troy Papp, Director of Religious Education
For the 2016-2017 church year, Religious Explorations will offer various programs and activities to teach our children and youth about their church world, Unitarian Universalist identity, and to explore some of the “big questions” in life.
|10:15 –||Nursery is open for infants through pre-school.|
|10:30 –||All ages attend the worship service through the Story for All Ages. The nursery is available for the youngest who may not want to attend the first part of the service.|
|10:45 –||Children and Youth leave the service to attend their groups.|
|11:30 –||Worship service ends. Refreshments and fellowship are available downstairs.|
|11:45 –||The RE groups end their activities and will be finished with their classes. Please do not interrupt the room when they are still in their groups. Children must be picked up from the nursery by this time. Please note this ending time is new this year.|
Download the schedule in PDF format – You will need Adobe Reader or a similar app.
Nursery – infant through pre-school
Friendship Finders – Pre-K in the nursery
This is a is a Unitarian Universalist theme curriculum celebrating self, sharing, family, friends, feelings, nature and seasons and is very low key. They’ll be introduced to circle time, chalice lighting, and sharing time. There is also time for free play. This is designed to nurture young children’s spiritual growth, creativity, and connection to their Unitarian Universalist community through rhymes, games, songs, stories, and activities.
This year we will try to separate our older and younger elementary age children some of the time. Treasure Hunting will be offered every other week for the K-2nd group. On the opposite weeks they will join with the other SWUU kids in Spirit of Adventure. We will be actively taking opportunities for age group breakouts if attendance allows.
Treasure Hunting: Take 2 – Kindergarten to 2nd every other week
The theme of treasure hunting was chosen to involve children in the excitement of the search for meaning in life at the concrete level of their understanding. Each week through games, crafts, songs and stories, the children explore the meaning behind a Unitarian Universalist principle or value. Central to the “Treasure Hunting” group is the class treasure chest, and each child’s treasure chest which they make to take home. Every session the children make or receive an object to put in their chests symbolic of that session’s principle. Similarly, every week an object goes into the class treasure chest.
Spirit of Adventure — 3rd to 6th every other week; K-6th on the opposite weeks
We will be actively learning about spiritual adventure. Teaching UU identity using activities like dissecting a computer, building cantilevered architecture using graham crackers, interviewing a sports coach, eating smoked oysters, and singing Jingle Bells in “dog” language! There are also circus arts, an Animal Blessing, and a Popcorn Sale. We will use sports, medicine, science, building, exploring, food, and more to translate our Purposes and Principles for our children.
Popcorn Theology — 7th through 12th:
Popcorn Theology takes the concept and popularity of movie night to explore issues of theology and ethics for Unitarian Universalists. Each session has a selected movie excerpt which lasts approximately 15 to 20 minutes then there will be activities and discussion. Movies include Forrest Gump, Bowling for Columbine, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Oh God!, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Willow, and more!
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: offered alternate years
Coming of Age – 8th through 12th grade
Coming of Age is a program will be offered on Sunday evenings once or twice per month. It uses ritual, learning, retreat, and celebration as a means to learning more about Unitarian Universalism. Each youth is paired with an adult mentor to guide them through the program. It also provides youth with tools to direct their own spiritual lives. In more specific terms here are the stated goals for the youths’ experience.
- Youth will gain an understanding of Unitarian Universalism and how that intersects with their own beliefs and values.
- Each youth will be able to articulate a credo statement for themselves and have a spiritual practice.. Credo meaning: what do I set my heart to….bind my life to…value….greater purpose I set my life to.
- Youth relationships with adults in their family and church begin an intentional transformation.
- Fun, fellowship, and growth together!
Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education — grades 7th to 9th grade
Parents are children’s primary teachers, but what is society teaching our children
about sexuality? Our Whole Lives is an antidote to sexualized media messages, peer pressure, misinformation and prejudice. It provides accurate, age-appropriate information, puts sexuality in the context of values and personal responsibility, supports healthy decision making, and strengthens social skills. These skills and values help prepare youth to make healthy choices for life.
Our Whole Lives is a lifespan sexuality education curricula for six age groups: Grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, young adults (ages 18-35), and adults.
Widely regarded as the Gold Standard for comprehensive sexuality education, Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, age-appropriate factual information while also helping participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.