Children and Youth
Children and youth are an important part of our religious community. Many times they are the wellspring from which come our newest and best ideas; often they challenge us to make our world a better place. We encourage them in our Unitarian Universalist (UU) traditions by offering classes and activities so they can question, explore and become more engaged with our UU commitments.
Our curriculum for children and youth comes from the themes of World Religions, our Jewish and Christian heritage, our UU identity and how these have informed our liberal religious faith.
In the newsletter and each Sunday in the Order of Service, a short description of the children/youth’s Religious Exploration classes are shared.
At any time you have questions or are interested in more information about the Religious Exploration program, please feel free to contact the Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration.
What Happens on Sundays?
Every Sunday, all children and youth begin in the Sanctuary together for both services. As a community, all are welcomed, the chalice is lit, a hymn is sung and we have a Time for All Ages, which is a question or a short story. Children/youth leave the sanctuary through the Love Arch created down the middle isle as a hymn is sung.
For First Service, ALL AGES, including parents/guardians, proceed from the love arch to the RE Commons or Fellowship Hall. * See more information below about our first service offering.
Visitors are encouraged to walk back to RE with their children if it is their first time attending religious exploration classes.
During the first service for Religious Exploration, we have a unique opportunity for families and all ages to worship together in our UUCS adapted version of spirit jam (spiritjam.info). It will follow the same schedule each week, but will have unique activities to fill our time together! For children to attend during first service, parent/guardian must accompany them to the offering.
For Second Service, Youth (8th – 12Th grades) go from the love arch to their individual classroom. Children gather in the commons area to sing hymns together and then go to their individual classes.
During the second service, we offer nursery care (infant-3 years old and 4 as requested/needed), Wisdom of Wondering (prek-3rd grade) class, UU Explorers (4th – 7th grade) and our YRUUs (8th – 12th grade). Our classes focus on the Soul Matters themes that help to build our UU Identity. This structure connects us to the larger UUCS community as our congregation also explores these monthly themes. Here’s the list of themes for this year. The Wisdom of Wondering classes also focus on learning the UU Principles through story.
After each service, parents or guardians pick up those in 3rd grade and below to join them for the fellowship time in Hanneman Hall. Children in grades 4th and up release themselves after their classes. Parents of 4th – 7th grade, if you wish for your children to stay in the Religious Exploration commons until you arrive, please let the staff/volunteer know.
Every second Sunday of each month, ALL AGES of children/youth attend the service with their families for the celebration of the Soul Matters theme. We will have tables set-up in the front and back of the sanctuary for any age to color or create a very simple project that reflects the theme of the month. These tables will be assisted by our Religious Exploration staff. Feel free to let your children quietly walk back and forth from these areas as needed. We feel that it is very important for your children to be a part of worshiping together with all ages taking in what they can at their developmental level.
While in the sanctuary when we do not have the tables with activities, activity bags for the children are available at the greeter table in the foyer. Alternatively, parents can move to the Cozy Corner with their children where all can see and hear the service via TV. The service can also be heard in the nursery, if extra wiggle time is needed for any age!
Multi-generational Services: All ages worship together in the sanctuary.
Principles in Action Program: Volunteering in our community on a Sunday or work on social justice projects.
Coming of Age: Program for youth. Offered every other program year. http://www.uua.org/worship/holidays/coming-age
OWL (Our Whole Lives): Human sexuality curriculum for kindergarten through high school. We offer this every other year.
YRUU Faith Exploration: Youth attend a different faith service every 3rd Sunday.
Special Sundays: All children/youth explore a specific topic or theme and worship together. For example, every second Sunday is the Soul Matters Theme Service.
Yearly Offering Project: Children/youth bring money each Sunday for their chosen recipient.
Child Dedication: A special ritual for young Unitarian Universalist children to be celebrated. Dedications are during the December Holiday Service and the June Flower Communion Service, as requested. More information about child dedication
Bridging Ceremony: Graduating Seniors bridge from being in the youth program to being recognized as a young adult in the congregation. The ceremony is held during the June Flower Communion Service. More information about the bridging ceremony
Youth Conferences: Senior Youth (high school) can attend a youth-led and -planned themed conference in the fall and spring. See advisors for current dates.
Youth Winter Retreat: Senior Youth from the Willamette Cluster gather for a time of fellowship, activity and worship. See advisors for dates.
Opal Creek Trip: Annual spring field trip for our Middle School Youth. More information about Opal Creed workshops