Lifespan Faith Development Programs
CHILDREN & YOUTH CLASSES
Children and youth in Preschool (3 years) through high join the community for the first part of worship at 11 a.m. and then go to their prospective classes until 12:30.
NURSERY (birth-4 years)
Location: Church’s lower level, Nursery
We provide a safe, clean environment in which to support each child in initiating play activities at the developmental level they manifest. Each week our paid staff provide a loving presence as they engage children in games, stories and crafts with seasonal and holiday themes throughout the year.
This curriculum is based on the philosophy that young children learn about religion through relationships. What is a person? Who am I? How am I related to others? What are my responsibilities? What kind of world do I live in? These are religious questions that children begin to answer as they become acquainted with themselves, other people, and their environment; all responses are mediated by the significant adults in their lives. Each week the children look and listen to an engaging picture book that reflects the week’s central theme with accompanying activities. Themes from September –June include: Individuality, Earth Day, Cycles of Life, Harvest, Thanksgving, Christmas, Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Family, Golden Rule, etc.
Spirituality for Children (From September-December 2014)
By spirituality we mean a looking inward to fulfill our potential to achieve happiness, love and joy, and a looking outward to foster positive connections with other individuals and with the greater community. The program helps children recognize their potential, focus on goals and understand the impact of their choices. The curriculum’s goals are to:
• Deepen children’s sense of purpose in life
• Encourage them to reflect on their actions
• See challenges as opportunities
• Develop self-worth
• Awaken their desire to make a difference in the world around them
Faithful Journeys (from January -May 2015)
All sessions include hands-on activities as well as guided discussion, reflection, and self-expression to engage participants with various learning styles. Sessions that rely heavily on verbal learning and expression also offer alternate activities that may better reach learners who are more active. Many core activities suggest adaptations to address different abilities as well as learning styles. Each session of this program includes rituals: sharing opening words, a chalice-lighting, centering in silence before hearing a story, and singing. The goals of the curriculum are to:
• Highlight ways the small and large choices we make represent our personal faith
• Promote understanding of, and sense of responsibility for, the world’s
interconnectedness, and reinforce cooperation, nonviolence, and balance as
necessary for our collective moral, ethical, and spiritual health
• Engage participants physically as well as mentally and spiritually through Move
• Foster the creation of a learning community in which everyone is respected,
welcomed and honored — a community in which diversity is embraced, justice is
practiced, and children learn, grow and have fun together.
Building Bridges is a world religions program to deepen youth’s understanding of the dynamic, fascinating, and varied world in which they live. It seeks to broaden their knowledge of humanity and embolden their spiritual search. Participants will visit other religions as well as engage in class activities. The goals of this program include:
• Increase knowledge of religions practiced around the world and in local
• Understand how religion addresses basic human needs
• Fosters acceptance of the diverse forms that religious expression takes
• Build awareness of the diversity of followers within every faith; understand
that to know someone’s religious identity is not the same as knowing what that
person thinks, believes, or practices
• Support the faith development of participants
• Empower youth to better appreciate human diversity and connect with others and
be able to respectfully discuss important matters with people with whom they
• Nurture open-mindedness and critical inquiry.
9th-12th Grades Senior High Youth Group (Youth Group Room)
The senior high youth group meets on Sundays from 11:30-12:30. 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. They plan social and service projects throughout the year. And they participate in youth conferences in area Unitarian Universalist churches under the auspices of the Pacific Central District of Unitarian Universalist Congregations and Y.R.U.U. (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists) PCD YRUU . The youth group’s empowering philosophy educates youth to be leaders within the group, church community and denomination.
COMING OF AGE PROGRAM FOR 8TH-10TH GRADERS
The First Unitarian Church of San Jose will be offering a Coming of Age Program, beginning in September 2014 through May 2015, for youth entering 8th-10th grades.
Coming of Age is an opportunity for youth to: challenge themselves both physically and spiritually; develop meaningful relationships with other youth and adults; gain a greater understanding of Unitarian Universalism and what it means to them and; to have lots of fun enjoying the many gifts life presents to us.
Each youth participating in the program will have a mentor (an adult member from the congregation) who will serve as an important companion throughout the year.
The Coming of Age Task Force will help each participant choose a mentor that is right for him or her.
In addition to each participant’s local congregational involvement there will be a series of three retreats during the year in which we will join with other Unitarian Universalist Coming of Age youth from around the bay area The retreats will give youth the opportunity to do some fun and challenging activities like a Ropes Course, Nature Vigil and a street retreat with the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in the Tenderloin section of San Francisco.
It is a program that requires a commitment from youth and their families and a level of maturity to be able to face the challenges of developing relationships with a diverse group of youth and an adult mentor. Youth must be willing to face the reality of homelessness and poverty that they will see in the Tenderloin and be willing to share their evolving sense of what it is they believe with the congregation in their credo statement on Coming of Age Sunday May 31, 2015.
If you would like to register for the 2014–15 Coming of Age Program or find out more information please contact Rev. Geoff Rimositis GRimositis@sanjoseuu.org