Children & Youth Spiritual Growth & Learning Programs
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Sunday, January 25
Nursery: Birth - four years
Location: Nursery, Church’s Lower Level
Childcare Staff: Kimberly Fernandez
Our paid staff provide a loving presence and engage children in games, stories and crafts with seasonal and holiday themes.
Three- to five-year-olds: The Spiritually Growing Child
This book imagines the childhood of Unitarian Maria Mitchell, America's first woman astronomer. Maria (pronounced ma-RYE-ah) possesses determination, a questioning spirit and a gentle heart. Though Maria helps her mother care for her eight siblings and keeps tidy their home on Nantucket Island in the early 1800s, she never loses her infectious love for the stars, a passion she inherited from her father. When her brother Andrew asks her to run away with him to a life on the sea, Maria determines, "I will be an explorer, but I want to sail the sea of stars." The author plants the seeds for Maria's later accomplishments (the first professor of astronomy at Vassar and discoverer of a comet.)
Goal: To understand the value of curiosity and science in our faith.
Grades 1-4:Welcoming Superman
A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. — Christopher Reeve (1952-2004), actor, director and advocate for people with disabilities
This session uses the story of Unitarian Universalist Christopher Reeve to examine our first Unitarian Universalist Principle, the inherent worth and dignity of every person. After a fall from a horse, Reeve went from being an active, athletic man who portrayed Superman on-screen to losing the ability to move his body below the neck. Reeve went on to live a different kind of heroism as an advocate for research and support to help people with spinal cord injuries. He spoke to Congress and many other audiences. He founded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which funds research on spinal cord injuries and offers grants to improve the lives of people who have become disabled.
Christopher Reeve's story serves as a springboard to issues of inclusion as children are guided to reflect on the ways we affirm the worth and dignity of every person. They learn how our congregations affirm our first Principle when we provide accessibility to people of differing abilities, and they consider what it means when we fail to provide such a welcome. Participants explore what they can accomplish without using physical abilities they ordinarily rely on. As they broaden their thinking about what constitutes "ability" or "disability," children also learn that each of us has the capacity to use our personal agency to do good in the world — no matter how we are "abled."
Grades 5-8: World's Religions
Atheism and Agnosticism—Not in Temples Made with Hands
This workshop introduces atheism and agnosticism. The combined category of "nonbelievers" is the third largest religious group on earth, comprising 1.1 billion, or one in every six, people. Mostly, though, it is a silent crowd. The exception is the tiny but expressive subset of vocal atheist political activists. This group campaigns tirelessly for separation of church and state—work that benefits everyone—and for freedom from religion, that is, for freedom from governments or other organizations forcing religious views or practices on religious minorities or non-religious people. This workshop explores the religious philosophies of atheism and agnosticism, the impact of atheism on Western society, and some important issues associated with atheism. It raises awareness among participants of the high percentage of atheists in Unitarian Universalism and the resultant importance of related issues to our denomination
Grades 9-12: Senior High Youth Group – Sundays, 11:30-12:30
The senior high youth group meets from 11:30-12:30 after attending the first part of the 11 a.m. service. The group offers its members a safe place to share their lives and find support and friendship among open minded and loving peers. The group engages in discussions about issues relevant to youth’s lives and communities.
Check out Rev. Geoff’s blog on The Spiritual Journey of a Child through Our Faith Community and to see descriptions of our children and youth programs for 2014-15.
Please contact Rev. Geoff, GRimositis@gmail.com if you would like to learn more.