Children and Youth
Thank you for visiting our page for children and youth Religious Education (RE). The people of our congregation enthusiastically support a vibrant RE program, with about 60 people volunteering with the kids and youth during the course of a the year.
Beginning the second Sunday in September through early June, we offer Sunday morning UU faith development activities during the service 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.
Beyond our regular “Sunday school” type programs, we offer many other Religious Education opportunities. Every two years, including this one, we 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.
Other years, we 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! 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 RE offerings.)
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 has all ages in mind. We are also very excited to try a all ages choir (3rd grade and older) starting mid-October 2017 through the late fall and possibly into the winter! There was a very well received UCM Camping Weekend in July 2017, 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 RE newsletter specifically for families and RE 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 Religious Education 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 RE spaces at the church.
Liza Earle-Centers, Acting Director of Religious Education
ucm.dre (at) gmail.com
223.7861 ext. 2 (I am generally in my office Mon., Wed., Fri., 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and again on Sundays, hours variable)
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 Religious Education teacher Nancy Schulz as she describes the funny and enriching moments of her first year teaching in our UCM Religious Education program. Then, please take a moment to email our Acting Dir. of Religious Education, 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 RE. 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. Our next Child Dedication will be this fall. Please contact Rev. Joan at ucm.revjoan @gmail.com or Liza Earle-Centers, Acting DRE ucm.dre @gmail.com 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 RE resources:
- Calendar of UCM Religious Education 2017-2018 (coming soon)
- Most Sundays are “RE Sundays” meaning after a little time in the sanctuary, the congregation sings the RE students and teachers out (pre-K – 5th graders to the Children’s Chapel (aka “The Green Rug” while 6th-8th graders exit the back of the sanctuary to the Bell Tower 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)!
- During school vacation weeks, many families are out of town and we don’t have enough kids for separate RE classes. So we have ‘RE one room schoolhouse’ in which we try to dynamic activities for pre-school – 8th graders all together in the Children’s Chapel. This is usually led by the DRE or another guest facilitator and the RE teachers can have a day off. Help from willing parents is very welcomed on these “one room” days!
Kids Annual Meeting a Success!
Our 5th principle teaches us that the Unitarian Universalist faith is a democratic one and that all people need a voice. So, on Sunday May 21, 2017 while the adults met in the sanctuary for their Annual meeting, 12 kids participated in the first ever UCM Kids / Youth Annual Meeting!
After starting with snack and team building, we lit the chalice and voted on a “kids choice” community pouch recipient for one month of next church year. (Therapy Dogs of VT won.) We took nominations from the floor of items they’d love to see for special treats occasionally at the snack table (popcorn, juice boxes, and watermelon were the winners). They also voted for the song to go with the photo slideshow on RE Sunday on June 4th. (The winner was “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.) Thanks to all the kids for putting our 5th principle into practice and to members of the Religious Education committee for your support. We will hope to make this an annual tradition!