Children’s Religious Exploration – UU and You

Unitarian Universalists believe spiritual growth and self-discovery are lifelong processes. Our Religious Exploration (RE) community is supportive and nurturing, where one can explore the wisdom of many religious traditions and come to understand new truths.

 

Our Philosophy: 

Here at Eastrose we have created a supportive, nurturing community where all of us can explore the wisdom of many religious traditions and come to understand new truths.  We express this in our curricula, our special activities, and inter-generational celebrations.

We know that the success of a religious exploration program for children and youth depends greatly upon parents and other caring adults.  Our teachers bring warmth, enthusiasm and commitment to their classes, to your children.  We encourage parents and care-givers to bring their children to RE classes as consistently as possible to help them in building their sense of community and grow their friendships.

Our Goals are to help our children and youth:

  • Develop their self-esteem and respect the worth of others,
  • Accept the responsibilities that freedom requires,
  • Understand that they can make positive choices,
  • Clarify moral, ethical and interpersonal values,
  • Create a sense of community with feelings of belonging and identity,
  • Understand and appreciate our religious heritage through the study of Unitarian Universalism and world religions.
  • Respect the interdependence of all life on Earth.
  • Work for peace and justice for all in an ever-changing world.

 

Religious Exploration Care Team: 

This committee meets monthly to support, plan and develop the RE program.  We are always open to input from our religious community.  Visitors and new members are welcome.

The Curriculum:

The Religious Exploration program provides opportunities for children and youth to experience worship, participate in social action, build community and deepen religious understanding and spirituality.  We use curricula tailored to the developmental stages represented in each class and incorporate a variety of activities to address the wide range of learning styles within our classes. We are presenting a new curriculum this year designed by the RE Care Team.  Each RE class will spend three weeks on each of our Unitarian Universalist Sources.   Source one is Wonder, two is Activism, three/four is Religious Wisdom,  five is Reasoning, and six is Stewardship.  There are two teachers assigned to each classroom and they teach every lesson on our UU Sources together.  In order to give our extremely dedicated teachers a break, we have scheduled Tribal Community Days where we ask parent volunteers to teach RE for those selected Sundays.

 

Classes and Age Groups:

The age groupings for Religious Education at Eastrose change from time to time to work best for the children who are attending.  Please talk to the DRE (Director of Religious Exploration) to discuss options available.

 

RE Registration:

Registration forms for infants through school aged children should be filled out as soon as possible. Youth attending RE during the summer should also have these forms on file.
For Youth participating in the (school year-evening) Youth Group, an additional set of documents will need to be filled out. See below for more YRUU information and contact the Youth Group Leader, Sue Steward, for Youth registration materials, a link to the Youth Group Calendar, and for all other Youth Group participation details.

 

Rosebuds Nursery and Pre-K:

This room is for children 6 weeks to 4 years and is the gateway into our Religious Education Program. Child will find here a peaceful atmosphere, loving caregivers, new friends, UU songs, group snack, story time, and the beginnings of a Unitarian Universalist identity.

The nursery is open from 10:15am to 12:15pm – Allowing for socializing before and after the service.

 
Kindergarten through 5th grade:
Our school aged children begin their Sunday mornings in the sanctuary with their families. After the Story for all ages, our children are sung out to begin their Religious Exploration time together.

RE ends at Noon.

Warren James (1919-2015) leads a calligraphy lesson in RE

YRUU – Youth Group for Middle and High School Youth:

Middle School and High School are the critical years for parental units and community friends to make a difference in the life of a young person. By being in a supportive community that is not family and not school, our young people can have a safe place to test new ideas and learn more about relationships, Unitarian Universalism, being of service, ways of worship and, most important, to make friends and have fun.

Details:

  • The Youth Group meets every Sunday evening during the school year, from 6:30 to 8:30pm, at the Warren James House.
  • The Youth Group Age Range is 12 to 18 years old (middle to high school aged)
  • All participants must register
  • Youth will develop their own covenant and code of behavior.
  • The Youth will be empowered to determine which activities will take place.
  • Parents will need to provide a permission slip, and assistance, for activities in locations other than at Eastrose
  • There will be an activities calendar online for use by all participants.
  • There will be two adults with the Youth at all times. Those volunteers will have had background checks and be approved by our Minister and our Director of Religious Exploration (DRE). They will also have an orientation session before they participate in meetings and events.
  • Communication will primarily be through email. If other means of communication are desired, the youth and parents will make that decision.

The Youth Group calendar link and registration materials may be obtained by emailing Sue Steward at stewardsue2016@gmail.com.

Sue Steward is our Youth Group Advisor and has been advising youth since 1999. She has the contacts for regional youth activities that will open doors for our Eastrose teens. She raised two young women who are still grateful for their UU and Youth experiences, at ages 32 and 35. She has chaperoned many youth outings and served as a summer camp counselor for 9 summers in her own not-so-distant youth. Ms. Steward has completed multiple training opportunities for leading Youth in UU churches, including UU Spiritual Development, UU Youth Leadership, and Beginning and Advanced Youth Advisor Training. She served as the Youth leader at Eliot Institute (family summer camp) at Naramata in Canada, as Youth Advisor at the Vancouver UU Church high school group for 5+ years, and participated in middle-school retreats as advisor, parent, and cook’s assistant. Youth have conferences in spring and fall, and Ms. Steward initiated the “Sponsor Con” where supportive adults who “sponsor” youth at conferences can better understand the liberal and religious values at work in the conferences which can seem chaotic to newcomers. She also participated in the Youth Empowerment Service (“YES”) with Pacific Northwest and Canadian teen youth to improve the community building at youth conferences.