Engage in Service.
Welcome to our Religious Exploration (RE) ministry for children, youth, and adults! The primary goal of our RE ministry is to inspire discovery, inquiry, interrelationships and reverence for life in its infinite diversity. We prepare congregants of all ages to engage with the world as loving, curious, courageous individuals of conscience ready to inspire positive change by living into our Unitarian Universalist values. This is also informed by the CUUC vision that our community will be a welcoming “sanctuary without walls” that promotes diversity, fellowship, spiritual growth, and inspiration, while committing to people and the planet through social action and service.
“I love bringing my children to the RE program at CUUC because I know everyone involved shares my highest level of personal values. The adult volunteers are dedicated to promoting a sense of belonging and fellowship that isn’t always available in a school or extracurricular environment.” – Jessica L.
In Religious Exploration (RE) classes and activities, young people have a safe place to make friends and build supportive community, to learn about different beliefs, respectfully question each other’s thinking, articulate their own religious ideas, and engage in social action that puts their values into practice. Each class uses age appropriate curricula to provide the tools for all ages to understand and articulate their Unitarian Universalist faith. We offer safe spaces to understand and explore beliefs in an intergenerational community.
In the early years, we focus on building a trusting community, and introducing children to the sources of our faith and UU Principles. Children learn about UU history and traditions, and the beliefs and practices of other religious traditions that serve as sources for Unitarian Universalism.
In middle school, youth deepen their understanding of global spiritual traditions and religions, learn to articulate their own beliefs, and learn about healthy relationships. At this age they explore some of the BIG questions in life with support from teachers and mentors and articulate their own belief statements.
Junior and senior high youth have opportunities to participate in congregational events, local service activities and regional events that build supportive community and develop leadership skills.
Classes and activities are led by our own CUUC members.
Please register your children and youth, ages 0-18.
To ensure the safety of both our children and our adults we have enacted a “Safe Congregations Policy.” All staff and leaders working with children and youth undergo background screening and sign an ethics agreement. We require that there be at least two unrelated adults in each space with children and youth.
Sunday Morning Overview
9:45 am – 11:45 am: Each Sunday morning, we offer childcare for young children in a safe, loving, and engaging environment.
10:00am – 11:15am: We begin every Sunday in the sanctuary. Some Sundays, children, youth, and leaders leave after the story for classes and activities such as Chapel, social justice programming, and PlaceKeeping. On other Sundays, we worship as a whole congregation and remain in the sanctuary for the full worship service. We offer a quiet activity area in the sanctuary (shown above) for young people to use during worship and ask parents to sit next to the area when their children are there.
- Click here to see current programming
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Ages & Stages
- Child Dedication. During a child dedication ceremony, the congregation and the parents share in the joy of welcoming children into the community. We declare our shared responsibility for the care and nurture of every child. Each child is recognized by name, and blessed with water and a flower. Ceremonies take place during the regular service, although private ceremonies may be arranged if desired.
- Childcare. Our youngest children are cared for in a loving, safe environment. Stories and activities reinforce belonging in community and cultivate their sense of awe and wonder.
- Classes. We offer age appropriate classes and activities during the academic year for children. We follow UUA curricula that offer guidance on life’s big questions, ethics and morality, the qualities of the UU faith, exploration of other faiths that includes visits to other house of worship– and more. And we learn from prophetic voices and direct experience of awe and wonder. We also offer Our Whole Lives (OWL) classes for children in alternating years. OWL is positive, comprehensive, and age-appropriate educational program that promotes healthy self image, relationships, safety, and communication with parents and caregivers.
- Coming of Age (COA). Coming of Age marks an important step in the religious development of our 8th and 9th graders. The group spends a year engaging in a journey of meaning-making and faith formation, developing personal statements of belief and faith identity that reflect our Unitarian Universalist history, heritage, and principles. The program culminates in a full Sunday morning worship service created and presented entirely by the youth who also share who they are and what they believe at this point in their lives. Each youth has an adult mentor to support them on this journey. This curriculum is offered every other year.
- Our Whole Lives (OWL) classes for middle school and high school youth are offered in alternating years. OWL is positive, comprehensive, and age-appropriate educational program that promotes healthy self image, relationships, sexual health, safety, and communication with parents and caregivers. All programs in the series are based on four primary goals: to provide accurate, developmentally appropriate information; to increase self-esteem and understand relationships with and responsibilities towards others; to develop interpersonal skills including communication, decision-making and problem-solving; and to teach responsibility for personal health and safety. Parents are required to attend orientation in order for their child or youth to participate in this program. This curriculum is offered every other year.
- Youth Group. Youth need space to connect with their peers in supportive community, participate in congregational events, learn about leadership, and engage in social justice projects. Youth Group is a place where youth can explore, connect, and grow.
- Bridging. Each spring we recognize youth who are Bridging into adulthood, and are preparing to transition to college or other post-secondary education, or begin their work lives. This is a public ceremony during a worship service.
- Activities. Youth lead worship each year in an always-memorable service in which the youth select readings and music and offer sermons; led activities for children such as the Halloween party; and participate in social justice activities like making bag lunches for a local community services center, or social activities.
Adult Classes & Groups
- Parents & Caregivers as Sexuality Educators: Parents and caregivers are their children’s primary educators, playing a central role in their emotional and spiritual development. We are delighted to offer a companion Our Whole Lives series for parents and caregivers where they can think more intentionally about their interactions with their youth around relationships, sex, sexuality and decision-making. The series also offers information and discussion around physiological aspects of sexual development, communicating about healthy relationships, understanding sexual orientation and gender identity, peer pressure, partner pressure and consent, and managing social media. By supporting youth through conversation and genuine interest in their thoughts, feelings and decision-making processes, parents and caregivers can have the most influence on their youth’s developing decision-making capacity. We welcome parents and caregivers into this series even if they do not have a youth participating. Membership in the congregation is not required to participate. Classes are open to all who share the values of self-worth, health, responsibility and justice. Commitment to the full schedule is required to promote safe and supportive community.
- Class Conscious: Class and Classism in UU Life is an opportunity to become more class sensitive and knowledgeable about economic inequality. Our Minister and Social Justice Team leaders offer this class periodically.
- Parents/Caregivers of Young People Who are Exploring Their Gender Identity is a support group for parents and caregivers of young people as they understand and affirm their gender identity.
- Parents/Caregivers of Tweens/Teens is a mutual support space for adults exploring the spiritual adventure of parenting MS & HS youth.
- Being a Unitarian Universalist Parent is a class for parents and caregivers with young people of all ages.
- Science & Spirituality. A monthly book club exploring intersections between science and spirituality.
- Adult Coming of (a little more) Age. Adults reflect on their spiritual journey, learn about core aspects of Unitarian Universalism, and explore their beliefs at this stage of their life, supported by the minister.
- Depending on interest and availability, we offer various classes for adults, such as in the history of Unitarian Universalism, or speakers on spiritual or social justice topics.
Role of Parents/Caregivers in RE
Parents and caregivers are their children’s primary guides throughout the week, playing a central role in their spiritual development. Encouraging children to attend worship, classes, and activities helps nurture their curiosity while building a sense of community with their peers and teachers. Showing interest in what they learn and volunteering in classes demonstrates that you value spiritual exploration. Sharing your beliefs and journey with your children reinforces that they will continue to learn and grow throughout their lives. Talking about how you act on your beliefs and values encourages them to do the same, and helps your children understand their important role in shaping this world.
Don’t Forget To Register for RE!
Please register your children and youth, ages 0-18.
See our upcoming schedule of classes and activities.
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