Lifespan Spiritual Exploration (LSE)–Children and Youth Programs
Children and Youth Online Registration for 2018-2019. Please register your child(ren) so we can plan to best meet your needs.
Thank you for wanting to know more about the children and youth activities that are part of Lifespan Spiritual Exploration (LSE) at UCM. The people of our congregation enthusiastically support a vibrant program for young people, with about 60 people volunteering in some way with the kids and youth during the course of the year.
Check out our LSE blog to see pictures and summaries of many of our activities.
Click on this link to read UCM’s Vision for Lifespan Spiritual Exploration created by the congregation during our RE Envisioning Process during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 church years. Our LSE Committee strives to bring quality programing to all members of our spiritual community.
Beginning the second Sunday in September through early June, we offer Sunday morning activities during the services for preschool-8th graders. A nursery is available for infants and toddlers at that time, along with the Fireplace Room where all ages are welcome to quietly take in the audio of the service free from the confines of the pews. The nursery is staffed starting 15 mins. before each service to allow parents and caregivers time to transition their child while still getting to the service by the 9 or 11 a.m. start time. We ask you to pick your child up by 10 mins. after the end of the service.
Beyond our regular Sunday morning programs, we offer many other opportunities for spiritual exploration and learning. We regularly offer various levels of the Our Whole Lives Sexuality (OWL) Education program, with developmentally appropriate levels for K-1st, 4th-6th, 7th-9th, 10th-12th grades. We have even offered the Adult OWL program before! This 2018-19 church year will plan on offering 4th-5th OWL and 7th-8th OWL. We have a small but lively high school youth group that meets monthly and the Bridging program to honor graduating high school seniors in their transition from youth to adulthood. (See the Adult Learning page to find out more about Adult LSE offerings.
We also offer Coming of Age–a year-long small group program that marks the transition from childhood to youth. It deepens participants understanding of Unitarian Universalism and fosters the ability to explore and articulate one’s own set of spiritual beliefs. In order to shift from 7th-8th graders to 8th-9th graders doing the program, Coming of Age will next be offered in 2020-21.
Special programming occurs on a regular basis–including some beloved traditions like the March Mystery Madness, where adults kids are paired as mystery buddies for several Sundays, exchanging notes, clues and small gifts–culminating with a Big Reveal celebration. We value other multigenerational activities too–including 5 or 6 multigenerational Sunday worship services during the year, where the children and youth stay with us in the sanctuary the entire service and the program have all ages in mind. Last church year we had an all ages Multigen Choir starting mid-October 2017 through the late fall and possibly into the winter! There have been two well received UCM Camping Weekends in the past two summers, with about 40 people of all ages building community and taking our spiritual journey to the peaceful waters of Kettle Pond State Park.
To stay in the loop regarding all these happenings, sign up for the UCM weekly e-news. You can also email me to be added to the monthly Friends and Families of LSE newsletter specifically for families and LSE volunteers. We also have a Unitarian Church of Montpelier public Facebook page. If you come to the church and like what you have been experiencing, you can join our private Friends of UCM Facebook page. You will also find more details below.
The good folks who share in this ministry of Lifespan Spiritual Exploration with me and I are very excited to have you take an interest in our program. Definitely, reach out if you have any questions or would like to schedule a time to meet or to tour the LSE spaces at the church.
Liza Earle-Centers, Director of Lifespan Spiritual Exploration
ucm.dre (at) gmail.com
223.7861 ext. 2
Kids Snack Table
A simple gluten-free and nut-free snack is offered to nursery and preschool children during their RE time. Additional tasty, healthy snack options during coffee hour are also offered and can be a highlight of Sunday mornings for many of our kids. It shows the young ones that we value their needs, gives them a bit of extra stamina to for coffee hour visiting before heading home. We depend on families to share in this tradition to keep it going. THANK YOU for being part of this important part successful Sunday mornings.
It is quick and easy to sign-up for a Sunday or two here on Signup.com. (Signup.com doesn’t require you to create an account, and it will send you an email reminder.) Click here to check out our guide to Hosting the Kids Snack Table for details with ideas of what to bring, tips for set-up, and the how-to’s to clean-up.
It Takes a Village
Listen to volunteer Sunday morning preschool teacher Nancy Schulz as she describes the funny and enriching moments of her first year leading preschoolers at UCM. Then, please take a moment to email our Dir. of Lifespan Spiritual Exploration (LSE), Liza Earle-Centers, and let her know of your interests and skill set so we can find the right match for you helping out with LSE. It takes a village to offer rich programming for kids, youth and adult religious education! (Nancy shared this story as part of the local Extempo storytelling competition in April 2017. She tied for second place!) Enjoy!
Most Unitarian Universalist congregations have child dedication ceremonies for infants and children. This special ritual is a blessing for the new life within our community, an expression of the hopes of the parents, and a promise by the congregation to support and nurture the child in its spiritual life. Please contact Rev. Joan or Liza Earle-Centers if you’d like more information and/or you’d like your child to be a part of such a dedication ceremony. Keep your eye out for announcements in the e-newsletter as well.
Other LSE information & resources:
- Most Sundays are “regular LSE Sundays” meaning after a little time in the sanctuary, the congregation sings the LSE children and teachers out (pre-K – 6th graders to the Children’s Chapel (aka “The Green Rug Room”).
- We have five Sundays that are ‘multigen.’ Multi-generational worship includes an order of service geared toward engaging all ages in the sanctuary together. These are fun and special services (see FAQ below)!
- Help from willing parents is always welcome–whether you just need to help get your new child to feel comfortable in the group, or you just want to!
High School Youth Group
Our high school youth group meets on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month (unless there is a holiday/school vacation when we sometimes switch it up) 6-8pm in the Bell Tower Room. Some of this year’s activities include:
- a walk through Hubbard Park’s Enchanted Forest
- making homemade salsa with a visitor from Nicaragua
- discussing and giving input for the Whole Congregation Covenant that is being co-created this year
- feasting on pizza and discussing favorite books
- making cards for the Thanksgiving Community Meal hosted at Bethany Church, and meals that were sent home to people not able to get to the church.
New members of high school youth group are always welcome to join in the fun!