Please note: Programming for children and youth is only provided during the second service on Sundays. Families who attend the 9:15 a.m. service are welcome to utilize the Children’s Table in the Friendship Hall. Families with small children are also welcome to utilize the nursery which is staffed by childcare professionals and located in the Religious Education Wing, if they so choose. The Chapel, in the back of the Friendship Hall and Sanctuary and where services are live streamed, is also available as an informal cry-room. However, children of any age are always welcome to remain in the Sanctuary with their parents.
To maintain best safety practices, we ask that all parents/guardians be sure to find the check-in station in the foyer to sign their child(ren) into Sunday morning programming.
On Sunday mornings, children and youth start out with their families in the Sanctuary, altogether. After a chalice lighting, singing together, and a Time for All Ages, we light a “Children’s Chalice,” so that the kids can carry the light of the congregation with them. Children are then sung back to their religious programs with the hymn, “Go Now in Peace.”
At UUCS, we firmly believe in the benefits of a multigenerational community. We model this on Sundays by inviting children and youth into religious exploration with children of other ages. Our Children and Youth Chapels are grouped in this way:
- Spirit Play, in the Channing Room and for preschoolers and kindergartners, develops spiritual and religious identity in young kiddos through storytelling. Each class starts out with a Gandhi Peace Greeting, and then the children hear a story which draws from one of our Six Sources. Before closing with a chalice lighting, “feast,” and a song, the children are allowed free-play an art time, where they can explore the themes of the story they heard in their own way.
- Children’s Chapel, in the Thoreau Room and for elementary kids in grades 1-5, uses the format of a Sunday service, to support kids in their religious and spiritual exploration. After being sung back to the Thoreau Room, children gather together in song, light their own candles of care, share a meditation, hear a story, and engage in an activity relevant to the topic of the morning.
- Youth Chapel, in the Sanger Room and for middle/high school youth in grades 6-12, explore spirituality in a largely discussion based format. Their time is also, however, modeled after the order of service used in the Sanctuary. Middle and high school youth usually begin their time together with a chalice lighting and song, as well as a short check-in. Then, they will be invited into a discussion and/or art project, relevant to the topic of the morning.
The Youth Space and Children’s Chapel both spend their time engaged in questions, activities, and stories, that are connected to these themes:
- Jan. – March: Global UU-ism & UU History
- April – June: Social Justice & Activism
- July – Sept.: Our Interdependent Web
- Oct. – Dec.: Talking About Death
At 12:15 p.m. children and youth in all classes are invited into the kitchenette, attached to the Thoreau Room, for Fellowship Time with one another. There is always hot cocoa and tea, and frequently a fun snack. Parents can pick up their children during this time.
Youth can leave the classroom by themselves. Parents of elementary kids must come to get them by 12:30 p.m.
One of the wonderful values taught in our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition is the practice of personal choice. We recognize that not all families are able to attend on Sunday mornings and we encourage you to check out the other spiritual development opportunities offered by the Children and Family Ministry Program. We would also like to note that while religious education is provided for children and youth each Sunday, all of our children are more than welcome to stay in the Sanctuary and attend the Sunday Service, if that is more comfortable for them.
Each classroom is an intentionally flexible space, which incorporates the philosophies behind Universal Design and Multicultural/Anti-Racist education. All of our classes are led by facilitators who have been trained in their particular program plan, as well as in the UUCS Safety Policy for Children and Vulnerable Adults and the UUCS Fire Policy. They have also had some education about child development and each classroom is provided with tools to make it a welcoming space for all children and youth. UUCS RE Facilitators are selected, trained, and supervised by Children and Family Ministry Staff.