Youth - Sunday Morning

Director of Religious Education sharing a story during the service

The Youth Religious Education Committee and Steve Cooper, Director of Religious Education has determined a plan for the religious education program. We realize that most of our youth are already spending a lot of time online with their teachers and are Zoomed out.

Our goal is to create something fun, yet still maintain our purpose of religious education. Our plan is to mix up prerecorded lessons with live Zoom sessions. The Zoom sessions will incorporate socialization so that our youth can maintain their church friendships and grow their spiritual circle. Zoom sessions will take place at 11:30 after the service.

Previous and current recorded lessons can be viewed on our YouTube page.

Sunday Services:
Every first Sunday of the month will be a multi-generational service. This service, which kicks off the new theme for each month, is meant to be meaningful and accessible to all ages. We will occasionally have special music and from time to time invite children and youth to join via Zoom for live interactions. There will be no lessons provided or scheduled on first Sundays of the month.
Non first Sundays we are maintaining the Time to Gather portion of the service which is a learning moment for all ages. We hope children and youth will watch at least up to this point of the service but encourage watching the whole service. The Time to Gather segment ties the service message to the religious education lesson for the week. Occasionally, the youth will be invited to join live via Zoom.

Register your family for Youth Religious Education here and we'll add you to the distribution list for classroom links and weekly updates.

September through May

Pre-School and Kindergarten Spirit Play 
Spirit Play is a Montessori-based program that teaches children about Unitarian Universalist principles, history, and liturgy through storytelling and play. Spirit Play stories will be pre-recorded for viewing on YouTube. 
On the fourth Sunday of the month the children will be able to join each other with their teacher on Zoom. They will have time to do show and tell about something or someone around their home. Families will also be invited to tell or perform a spirit play story for a pre-recorded or live lesson. 

1st - 3rd grade & 4th - 6th grade Young Group Ministry
We use the monthly themes to explore our world and how our UU faith guides us to pursue truth, fairness, justice, compassion, and love. Each class will have age-appropriate activities to engage young people in questioning their place in the world and in answering life’s “big questions.”

The lesson plans for 1st - 3rd and 4th - 6th grade are the same but the classes meet separate from each other.
1st - 3rd Grade
This class will meet via Zoom on the second Sunday of the month and their teachers will pre-record the lesson for other Sundays. 
4th - 6th Grade
This class will meet via Zoom on the third Sunday of the month and their teachers will pre-record the lesson for other Sundays. 
If youth miss the Zoom meeting for either of these groups they will be able to watch the pre-recorded lesson of the other age group since they are the same lesson. 

7th & 8th grade Crossing Paths offered 2020/2021
(formally known as Neighboring Faiths)
Crossing Paths is a twist on the popular UU Jr high youth curriculum, Neighboring Faiths. While rooted in interfaith engagement, our curriculum is focused on helping youth develop and clarify their own UU identity. The sessions are also theme-based to ensure that youth are also connected to the wider theme-conversation that is happening in our church.

During this time of Covid-19 and online church, we're doing a significant revision of the program so that youth can learn about the various religions through videos and online zoom conversations with religious leaders, rather than in-person visits. We're striving to maintain the experiential learning components by offering games and activities that can be done together online.

This class will meet via Zoom on third, fourth (and fifth) Sundays with an introduction to the next religion will be pre-recorded for the second Sunday.

7th & 8th grade Coming of Age offered 2021/2022
Coming of Age ceremonies, marking the transition from childhood to young adult, are as old as history. They have included ritual abductions, vision quests, and bar and bat mitzvahs, all to help youth learn about themselves and prepare for adulthood. 
This Coming of Age program is designed to acknowledge the transition between childhood and adolescence. It is a vibrant program focusing on the youths themselves and each unique journey.  Coming of age is a transformative experience. 
Our goals are to:
•    Provide youth with the tools to begin intentionally shaping their own spiritual lives
•    Encourage youth to create their own “empowering stories”
•    Create a space and time for deep authentic relationships among youth, facilitators, mentors, and the congregation

During the Coming of Age year youth experience learning, testing, ritual, and celebration. 
The program includes:
•    An Opening & Ending Ceremony
•    Sessions tackling life’s “big questions”
•    A Chalice Circle retreat
•    Weekly games
•    Exploring religious beliefs through art & music

Coming of Age Service

Beyond Sunday Morning***
One Sunday afternoon a month, youth can participate in the full Coming of Age program.  This extra portion also includes:
•    Mentor orientation & ritual
•    Developing a relationship with a mentor
•    Service project
•    Creating & presenting a faith statement
•    A Wilderness Journey Retreat

***NOTE: Youth can choose to not participate in the Beyond Sunday Morning Coming of Age components of this program and only attend the Sunday morning classes

Youth Group9th - 12th grade High School Youth Group

The Youth Group will meet all Sundays except the first Sunday via Zoom. The theme based sessions will be filled with creative, high quality worship, games, meditations, reflections, stories, art engagement, discussion starters, etc. Each session is built around our monthly themes to ensure that your youth are part of the wider theme conversation happening all around the congregation. All of our session will be designed to support youth meeting online rather than in person.

Our core youth program for high school students provides experiences in community building and fellowship, worship and congregational engagement, social action, UU values, and youth-led sessions exploring the monthly themes and other topics of importance to our youth and their world. Youth and advisors work jointly to plan and participate in social action projects, leadership development, and opportunities for worship.     

Youth Group is a wonderful experience for teens – it broadens their perspectives and gives them a comfortable atmosphere in which to discuss the issues they are dealing with, as they become adults.

 

Youth Group at General Assembly
Youth Group at General Assembly in New Orleans

High school-age UUs put our faith into action every day by daring to be real, showing acceptance and support, leading with courage, and acting for justice.

After all, what is religion for if it isn’t about changing your life—and changing the world—for the better?

You may contact our Director of Religious Education, Steve Cooper, to learn more about any of our youth programs or how to register your child.