Spiritual Development For Children and Adolescents
What is Religious Exploration?
Religious Exploration is a program for children and adolescents to learn and explore what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist. The students follow a covenant of kindness, compassion, physical, and emotional safety. They explore ritual, our UU identity, world religions, personal divinity, meditation, prayer, love, inclusivity, social justice, environmental stewardship, living in community, and so much more.
What Happens Sunday Mornings?
Religious Exploration (RE) classes take place during the 10 am Worship Services on Sundays. Before the service, your family will be greeted in the entryway by the Director of Religious Exploration, Mandy Ruest, who will ask you to fill out a Child Information Sheet, and answer any questions you may have about the program.
The children start with their families in the Sanctuary, where they experience worship as part of the larger community. They will participate in Chalice Lighting, singing with the congregation, storytelling, and then collect food and personal care items for our friends and neighbors using The Haven food shelf. At this time, the children will go with their teachers to the RE classrooms and continue their spiritual exploration in a way that is developmentally appropriate to them. Parents and guardians can replenish their spirits in the service, and then enjoy social time at coffee hour, while the children continue their lessons until 11:30am. Mandy will ring a bell in the sanctuary at 11:25 to alert parents and guardians that it is time to visit the classrooms and share reciprocal learning.
There are 3 Religious Exploration classrooms:
- The Blue Room is for children Birth-Kindergarten, taught by Jenny
- The Rainbow Room is for children in grades 1-6, taught by Anna
- The Youth Room is for adolescents in grades 7-12, taught by Mandy
Each class is taught by a professional Religious Exploration teacher, and is assisted by an adult volunteer from the congregation. Along with the Worship Services and small group ministries, the RE program is also following a UU curriculum called Soul Matters. Each month is a different theme, and each week has specific focus questions to explore. The lessons are geared for each developmentally appropriate class level. Each class follows a similar schedule structure, which is modeled after the Order of Service used for the Worship Services.
- Welcome Circle
- Chalice Lighting
- Reading the Covenant (social behavior agreements during class)
- Reviewing the 7 Principles and 6 Sources of Unitarian Universalism
- Sacred Sharing of joys and concerns
- Sing “Spirit of Life”
- Themed Activity- Meditation, story, craft, game, or discussion
- Snack (gluten free and vegan options available)
- Offering – what good qualities do you offer today?
- Gratitude and learning for the day
- Extinguish the Chalice
- Share learnings with parents and guardians at 11:30
Mandy would love to hear from you. Please reach out to further discuss our program.
Director of Religious Exploration