Welcome to our Religious Education program at the Unitarian Universalist Area Church in Sherborn! Our cooperative church school is designed to encourage our children to be religious seekers grounded within the Unitarian Universalist tradition, and contained within the framework of a loving and supportive church community. Our hope is to guide children and youth toward a deep faith that will give them meaning and perspective, and will encourage them to embark on a life of service.
Parents are the true religious educators of their children, and as such, we encourage parents to actively use the resources here at church in the home. Talk about what you each learned in church on Sunday morning. Read sacred story together. Say grace before meals. Pray and meditate with your children. Come to church as often as you can. Teach religious education whenever you feel it is your “turn” to do so!
All church members are encouraged to teach in the program, especially if you are not the parent of a young child. All of us contribute to the process of religious education through the relationships we establish with our young people. When we walk through the door, we become part of the curricula at UUAC.
Thank you for teaching through example what it means to be faithful church participants, and for your continued ministry to our youngest congregants!
LIFESPAN FAITH DEVELOPMENT AT THE UU AREA CHURCH IN SHERBORN
OUR BOLD RELIGIOUS MESSAGE:
At the Unitarian Universalist Area Church in Sherborn…
- We have respect for minds, bodies and souls.
- We believe that grace is real, and that we must be grateful for unearned gifts.
- We believe that revelation is continuous. We are seekers, questioners and stewards of hope.
- Love is our religious ethic.
- We believe that the universe is benevolent. Love wins.
- We know that we are connected to one another in our humanity: in our celebrations, our capacity to love, our sorrows, and our brokenness.
- We believe that suffering is a part of life, not a punishment for living
- We believe that God offers us presence, not protection.
- We believe that God is bigger than any name we give God, and any religion or doctrine that tries to contain God.
- We believe that religion is horizontal, not only vertical. God is present in relationship.
- We offer a ministry of radical hospitality. We are hosts who provide a grand welcoming table for all.
- We believe that we must not think alike to love alike.
- We believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, and thus we use the gifts we have been given wisely – We believe that
- Our task is to grow souls so that we may send forth visible saints into the world.
- We seek to build what Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as the Beloved Community. We come to church not to be a beloved community, but to practice the ethics of the Beloved Community for use outside our church walls. Practicing being beloved community means treating all people who we encounter as though they are beloved, unique, children of the divine.
- As such, we see church not as a sanctuary from the world, but as a training ground that helps us to live in the world in a way that transforms the world.
THE PILLARS OF LIFESPAN FAITH DEVELOPMENT
We hope that the children, youth and adults who participate in our comprehensive lifespan faith development offerings will glean the following:
- an understanding of the Judeo-Christian sacred scripture/narratives that shaped our ancestors’ faith
- an appreciation of the sacred scriptures/texts of other world religions
- Unitarian Universalist responses to the “big questions” of the human experience.
- a reverence for the human body as sacred temples of the holy
- an age-appropriate understanding of the theologies that inform our faith
- an appreciation for, and practice of, holidays and holy days recognized and celebrated within and beyond our faith tradition
- an appreciation of the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism and their application in our daily lives
- knowledge of the prophetic words and deeds of Unitarians, Universalists and Unitarian Universalists throughout history
- regular experience of meaningful worship and ritual that enhances the spiritual lives of our participants
- experiential opportunities to put our faith into action
- parenting support for religious education and faith development at home.
OUR METHOD OF DELIVERY
An important part of the religious development of our young people and adults is the experience of being together with others in the church community at a special time and place for worship. Once each month, there will be a children’s worship service in Unity Hall for grades one through eight. On the remaining Sundays, children in these grades will join their families in the Sanctuary for the first fifteen minutes of the service. We have multiple opportunities for all-church multigenerational worship in our sanctuary throughout the year, as well.
The teachers at UUAC are volunteers from our church community. We believe that the teacher is as important as the material being used, and that their work is a ministry to our faith community. We try to assign prospective teachers to the age level and subject matter with which they feel most comfortable and with a teaching partner who can complement their skills.
Our curricula has been selected from materials created by the Unitarian Universalist Association or by Unitarian Universalists who have published independently.
Our popular January winterim period provides an opportunity for children to choose workshops each week taught by talented volunteers ranging in topics from cooking to yoga to art to drama.
CHILDREN’S RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
NURSERY (Babies-Age 3)
A loving church community cares well for its youngest parishioners. The Nursery is available for children who are younger than three. There is a nursery coordinator and a second youth or adult to lovingly care for this group.
PRESCHOOL/KINDERGARTEN (3-5 year olds)
This Montessori-based curriculum teaches children the stories of our faith tradition and stories from other faith traditions. We provide a thoughtful space and a choice of activities to encourage children’s emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth.
GRADES ONE AND TWO
Every day our children go forth into a complex world where they are often faced with difficult decisions and situations. Moral Tales attempts to provide children with the spiritual and ethical tools they will need to make choices and take actions reflective of their Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values. http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/tales/index.shtml
GRADES THREE AND FOUR
TOOL BOX OF FAITH
What tools does Unitarian Universalism offer for the challenges of life? Children discover what aspects of UU faith are helpful to them, developing a toolbox of faith.
GRADES FIVE AND SIX
LOVE CONNECTS US
Love Connects Us celebrates important ways Unitarian Universalists live our faith in covenanted community. Moved by love and gathered in spirit, we embrace our responsibility toward one another and the world at large. We encourage one another’s search for truth and meaning. We strive to be active in peace-making and other efforts to improve our world.
In this world religions curriculum, students visit neighboring houses of worship to learn about being good interfaith neighbors. 32 flexible sessions explore history and development of different faith traditions. Participants plan their own program by choosing which religious groups to learn about, visit and relate to their own growing faith. Includes historical resources and tips for hosting guests, visiting other faiths, creating worship experiences and more.
GRADE EIGHT AND NINE
COMING OF AGE
This is a special “confirmation” program for Unitarian Universalist youth to mark the end of childhood in which participants explore UU identity, the big religious questions, theology and more. At the end, participants create a credo that they deliver in front of the congregation. Participants will explore theology, spirituality and history through discussion, drama, music, writing and art. The curriculum will help both congregations, mentors and youth to define their beliefs and put their faith into action. Each participant has an adult mentor. The group meets weekly outside of the Sunday morning worship hour.
Senior high youth group for youth in grades 9-12 meets every week from 6-8 pm using the pillars of balanced youth programming—worship/spirituality, learning, community-building, leadership, and social action. Excellent youth-adult mentorships are fostered with our four youth advisors, all of whom are members of the church who have special expertise and/or interest and commitment to adolescence and youth ministry.
Our junior high (grades 6-8) youth group meets periodically for social events and trips with the goal of community-building outside of religious education classes.