Our church services begin at 10:30am, and every person starts in our sanctuary. The first fifteen minutes of the service includes our weekly announcements, a musical prelude, our opening rituals and chalice lighting, and a time for all ages. Some weeks this is a story by one of our ministers or our director of religious education; other weeks it is a musical offering or the recognition of a rite of passage, and still other weeks we hear about a charitable organization that the church is supporting. Our children and youth remain in the sanctuary for the weekly offertory. Then one of the children takes a lantern lit with flame from our chalice and leads the church school members and teachers down to their classes. Parents are welcome to bring children down to help them get settled.
Downstairs, we have church school classes which comprise cohort groups that move together through the lifespan curriculum. Each class votes on a name each year and establishes its own unique identity. This year, our classes are:
The Blue Bears, our nursery for ages birth to 3. Our current nursery group are mostly toddlers, so on Sundays a Youth teacher and an adult teacher help our members light a felt chalice and say our chalice-lighting words; tell a story, sing a song, and do a theme-based art or movement project; and have lots of free play with play dough, bubbles, legos, and other staples of a fun church Sunday.
The Rainbow Chameleons, school grades pre-K-1st grade (ages 4-6). This class generally follows an age-appropriate curriculum from the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith in the fall, and a Spirit Play curriculum in the spring.
The 2nd-4th grade class (soon to be named), (ages 7-9).This class generally follows an age-appropriate curriculum from the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith in the fall, and a Spirit Play curriculum in the spring.
The 5th-7th grade class (soon to be named), (ages 10-12). As they rise through the middle grades, we choose Tapestry of Faith and other creative Unitarian Universalist curricula to help them make decisions and learn about their place in the world.
A Confusion of Weasels, school grades 8th-12th grade. As they move through middle school into high school, our youth begin finding deeper meaning in pop culture and through integrating more thoroughly into our church services and functions. We explore World Religions by building connections. These students also participate in our church’s Youth Group.
at 10:55 our classes are generally gathered. Each class has an opening ritual they follow each week, usually including opening words and a chalice lighting (younger groups use electric tea lights!) reflective of our church services. All our classes share their joys and sorrows through a ritual; some do this at the beginning and others at the end of class.
Classes generally center around a story and include questions to help children and youth explore their own ideas and the ideas of their family, culture, and faith more thoroughly. Most classes do an art project, music, or drama activity that connects to the story and discussion. Sometimes there is a choice of different activities, and we have a variety of independent activities that a child can always pick if they do not wish to participate in a group activity or the project does not appeal to them.
Classes end at 11:55 with clean-up and a closing ritual. Our Blue Bears and Rainbow Chameleons are picked up by parents from their classrooms. Older children are released into the social hall where we have coffee (not for the kids!), conversation, and a snack.