Religious Education for Children

Unitarian Universalists have many ways of articulating our seven UU Principles in simpler language. Here’s the way our Tapestry of Faith children’s programs describe them:

  1. We believe that each and every person is important.
  2. We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.
  3. We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.
  4. We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.
  5. We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.
  6. We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.
  7. We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.

In our RE classes, children learn about and experience many different ways to be spiritual and to put their values into action in their lives and their communities, preparing them to live in a diverse world. Some courses focus on religious literacy with lessons about the Bible  and the beliefs and traditions of other world religions. Others courses explore important ideas and value like the environment, justice, equity and other UU principles.

RE Programs at UUCH

 Where & When:

Our children’s  religious education (RE) classes are offered every Sunday morning, 10:45 a.m. year around.  The classrooms and the nursery are in the Martin House, the brick house next to our sanctuary.

In addition to childcare for infants and pre-school children, our church currently offers religious education for younger school age children (UU Explorers class).  Our children’s programs are free and open to all.

We do ask that you register your children so we have contact and health information. If your child hasn’t attended previously, please arrive early (10:30 a.m. if possible) to talk with the teacher and complete the registration form.

For more information,  contact Elise Weber, our Religious Education Chair   at  RE@uuhagerstownmd.org

 

Childcare for infants and pre-schoolers

  • is available every Sunday in the Martin House from 10:30 a.m. to noon (or the end of the adult service).

 

UU Explorers  (grades 1 – 6)

The UU Explorers meet in the Martin House every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

 Our 2023-24 curriculum is Holidays & Holy Days, an updated version of a UU favorite, in which our children explore celebrations in various religious traditions around the world.

May-June topics:

May  5* – UU Pilgrimage
12 – Mother’s Peace Day

         19 – Earth Day
26 – St. Francis Day

June.   2* – Festival of Masks

             9 – Nowru
16 – Flower Communion

           23 – Buddha’s Birthday

           30 – Japanese Children’s Day

* family Sunday. Children are in the sanctuary for special activities and then go to their class.  **Intergenerational Sunday where children are in the sanctuary with the adults for the entire service.  No religious education class or childcare

 

Previous Religious Education Curricula illustrate the depth and breadth of UU education for children.

June-August 2023 Interdependent Web, lessons about our earth and how to care for it.
April 2022-May 2023 Love will Guide Us

March 2020 – March 2022, during the pandemic, our religious education program was suspended.  UU religious education curricula with their hands on, interactive approach did not work well on Zoom. And our UU children were already spending too many hours learning online. But RE teachers and the nursery were ready on the first Sunday our church reopened for in person worship.

in 2019-20 The UU Explorers used three UU curricula: 1. Mirrors & Windows: The title is from a quote by Lucille Clifton, “Mirrors in which they can see themselves, windows in which they can see the world.”  Children learn to identify their own experiences and learn to care about and respect the experiences of others. 2. The World of Wonder  delves deep into our UU Seventh Principle-—respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part—and fosters appreciation of its beauty, excitement and mystery. 3. Amazing Grace helps students understand right and wrong and act on their understanding.  Its goal is to equip our RE children to move safely and productively through their school years, when they will be continually tugged toward both ends of the ethics continuum.   Note: the Covid-19 epidemic interrupted this course after only 2 lessons so it may be repeated when UUCH reopens.

in 2018-19, the Explorers used a video program called Character Counts, and two UU curricula: Spirit of Adventure which explores UU identity through broad areas of sports, food, science, building, and holidays and World of Wonder, built around our Seventh Principle, respect for the interdependent web of all existence.

in 2017-18, the Explorers used three UU curricula about Unitarian Universalism:     1. Toolbox of Faith reflects on a quality of our UU faith, including integrity, courage, and love, as a “tool” the participants can use for living and building their own faith. 2. Sing to the Power affirms our UU heritage of confronting “powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion and the transforming power of love.”  3. Love Connects Us celebrates ways UUs live our faith in community.   

In 2016-17, the Explorers were introduced to our Judeo-Christian heritage through the Timeless Themes curriculum which included lessons on Bible stories including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, the tower of Babel, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Moses, the plagues of Egypt, the ten commandments, Daniel in the lions’ den, and the teachings of Jesus.

As religious liberals, UUs do not consider the Bible literally true but still find universal human themes in many of its stories. Goals for the course were basic cultural literacy (such as Biblical references in literature, art, music, films and common expressions); an introduction to Judaism and Christianity and their sacred books, which influence most of the people our children interact with now and as adults; and exploration of our UU values

In 2015-16, the children were introduced to World Religions through the Holidays and Holy Days curriculum which included lessons on  Chinese New Year; Powamu, the Hopi Bean Planting Festival; ;Mardi Gras; Nu Ruz (Iranain); Buddha’s Birthday; Passover;  Japanese Children’s Day; African Religions;  Shavuot (Jewish); Summer Solstice (Pagan); Easter; Ramadan; Christmas; Divali (Hindu); St. Lucia’s Day.

UU Youth is currently on hiatus.

 Meetings will resume when there’s sufficient interest enough adult advisers.  Until then teens are invited to assist the Explorers group or attend the adult worship service.

In 2016-17, the UU teens explored positive character traits through the UUA curriculum, Virtue Ethics, which included activities and discussion of fairness, responsibility, compassion, humility, generosity, courage, loyalty, and forgiveness.

Our Whole Lives 

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a sexuality education program developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

OWL is a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curricula for use in both secular settings and faith communities. Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality. OWL helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior.

Courses with age-appropriate content are available for elementary students, middle school, high school and adults.  Owl facilitators must attend intensive training programs before teaching any course.  Our church currently has four trained Owl facilitators.

Because discussion is important in OWL courses, a class needs a minimum number of participants. In the past, UUCH has offered two OWL courses —for middle and high school-ages — and will provide additional OWL classes when there is sufficient interest.

For more information, visit the UUA website at http://www.uua.org/re/owl