Youth Religious Education Program
Little UU’s (1-5 years): Nursery Room
Adult volunteers are eager to help care for your little ones! Make sure you check in at the YRE Table on Sundays so that our Nursery Helper will know if they are needed.
Families of course are also welcome to enjoy the service with your little ones if your child would prefer to stay with you!
All-Ages (5-12 years): RE Room
With support from the YRE committee, Liz Nugent will guide an exploration of our faith and UUSR’s monthly themes through sharing stories, songs, games, and activities and featured guests. Each week, our goal is for children to connect with our caring community, and learn about ways to enrich their daily lives and stay centered in their values. We currently have older children as paid assistants but older children are ALSO welcome to join us as participants or to sit with their family in the sanctuary for the service.
Youth Religious Education Program
Here at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport, we offer religious education (RE) to children of all ages. We try to remember the words of 19th century Unitarian minister, William Ellery Channing, who wrote:
“The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young,
But to stir up their own;
Not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly
And steadily with their own;
Not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire
A fervent love of truth;
Not to impose religion upon them in the form of arbitrary rules,
But to awaken the conscience, the moral discernment.
In a word, the great end is to awaken the soul,
To excite and cherish spiritual life.” (UU Hymnal reading 652)
To “excite and cherish spiritual life” and “awaken the conscience” is a lifetime journey, which starts at the earliest ages.
“We are Unitarian Universalists: people of the open mind, the loving heart, and the helping hands.” With words like these, we light our chalice at the beginning of YRE classes on Sunday mornings.
For toddlers comfortable with being away from their parents or guardians, there is a supervised nursery with lots of safe toys to play with, chalk, crayons and puzzles.
For children aged 5-10, here is what happens on a typical Sunday:
Children come into the sanctuary for the first 20 minutes of the Worship service and listen to the opening words for the morning (the Call to worship), participate in reciting the Chalice Lighting words, and sing an opening hymn. On many Sundays, an anthem is sung by the choir or a guest musician plays the trombone or the guitar or the flute: the kids are usually spellbound. Finally, the Minister, Worship leader, or Religious Ed Director invites “children of all ages” to come to the front of the sanctuary. This is a time to share child centered conversation, stories or song.
The children are then “sung up to class” by members of the congregation singing “Go Now in Peace,” a short song from our hymnal.
Religious Education classes are taught in the RE Classroom on the second floor. There is a large circular table, bookshelves and craft supplies.
Children sit at the table with their teacher. We believe in the importance of rituals, so we open our class every week with the following:
Attendance & introductions
Chalice lighting (with an LED battery candle!)
“We are Unitarian Universalists
With minds that think
Hands that help and
Hearts that love”
When it is nearing 11:30, we clean up, then have a closing ritual. Parents are expected to pick up their children after the service, but you don’t have to rush right upstairs as soon as Worship is over. If you would like to enjoy coffee hour without your children, grab a cup and pick them up by 11:45. During coffee hour, the children usually enjoy eating the goodies on the table in the vestry and there is a fair amount of intergenerational conversation.
For children in Middle School, trained members meet with the tweens and teens for discussions on Sunday afternoons. The program is called Coming of Age and culminates in a worship service created and delivered by the youth and their adult leaders. The children learn our UU principles and sources in a deeper way, and various topics are often spontaneously chosen. Food is often a big draw as is the chance to hang out with friends you may not know from school.
Please call the UUSR office at 978-546-2989 for more information and contacts.