Children’s Religious Education
Our Religious Education program promotes children’s individual religious exploration in a loving environment in cooperation with adults and youth. Faith is a lifelong learning experience, and at First Parish of Watertown, we help children find out who they are.
Virtual Church School
The 2020-21 church year will be online! Our services start at 10:30am on Zoom, followed by a social hour, and then Religious Education at noon.
Please contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included on the church mailing list so that you can receive links to our live Zoom services.
This year’s church services are thoughtfully multigenerational, including elements based on our monthly theme that we hope inspire and impact all our members, no matter their age. We encourage children to attend the service with their families. Our Religious Education meetings begin at 12:00pm in a separate Zoom room.
Each week’s RE offering will be inspired by the Time For All Ages or another element of the worship service. We will all gather, light our chalice, have joys & sorrows, and then we will welcome a special guest who will lead an activity that can be done at home with materials easily obtained by families. Sometimes we will break into breakout rooms for grades Pre-K-1 and grades 2-7 for these activities, and other times we will stay together, depending on the activity. Our activities and practices will be inspired by the Soul Matters program from which we get our monthly themes.
There will also be weekday RE meetings for children (times may vary depending on interest, but currently are at 4pm Tuesday and 11am Thursday), as well as weekly Youth Group meetings and biweekly Parent Hangouts. Times will be announced here when they are set.
Curriculum for RE Classes for 2020-21
This year’s virtual offerings will be inspired by Soul Matters Sharing Circle, with materials gathered from a variety of sources. We also have a subscription to POP, a curriculum created expressly for families with children in first grade and below, and we will be exploring the chUUrchcraft and cartUUns curricula from Imagine-RE when themes overlap with our RE explorations.
UU Principles and Sources
The Seven Principles
Unitarian Universalism is a faith without a creed. This means that Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to question and explore their own truths. Unitarian Universalists hold different beliefs about religious subjects such as God, creation, Jesus, the Bible, death, and prayer and are free to do so. However, Unitarian Universalists are united in their beliefs that all people are inherently worthy and should be treated fairly, that we should work for a peaceful and free world, and that we should respect the Earth and all living beings. These beliefs are consistent with the seven principles that Unitarian Universalist congregations have covenanted to affirm and promote.
Our UU principles are a guide for the stories and activities we plan to share in our RE program. We don’t want our children to memorize and recite these words. We want our children to experience the loving spirit of their messages.
The carefully-wrought language of the UU Principles is sometimes difficult for children (and adults!) to remember or even to fully understand. Congregations often provide revised language to help children access these important concepts at an entry level. Here are a couple that we use with different age groups in our program:
The Six Sources of Unitarian Universalism
The UUA lists six sources that have inspired our history and heritage.
Source 1: Source of Wonder and Mystery
UUA version: Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.
Children’s version: The sense of wonder we all share.
Source 2: Source of Inspiring People
UUA version: Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.
Children’s version: Women and men whose lives remind us to be courageously loving.
Source 3: Source of World Regions
UUA version: Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.
Children’s version: Ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world’s religions.
Source 4: Source of Judeo-Christian Traditions
UUA version: Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Children’s version: Jewish and Christian teachings which tell us to love all others as we love ourselves.
Source 5: Source of Reason and Science
UUA version: Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
Children’s version: The use of reason and the discoveries of science.
Source 6: Source of Our Sacred Earth
UUA version: Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Children’s version: The harmony of nature and the sacred circle of life.
~ Image Credit for Arch Rainbow Principles: Jay Bibel and Laura Evonne Steinman
Religious Education Committee
The Religious Education Committee is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of all aspects of the First Parish Watertown RE program. We meet monthly to review such issues as curriculum and class planning, RE policy, special programs, youth group, and the direction of our Director of Religious Education.
The committee typically meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm. Meetings are public unless otherwise stated.
Roma Jerome, Point of Contact
Louise Harrison Lepera
Sarah McSweeney Chamberlain
Lauren Strauss, DRE
Religious Education Committee Mission
- To support each child in the development of his or her faith.
- To create openings for deep spiritual experience.
- To encourage the exploration of moral decision-making.
- To raise awareness of social justice and environmental issues.
- To promote religious literacy by acquainting children with multiple faith traditions.
- To teach the heritage, principles and values of Unitarian Universalism.
- To foster a love of learning.
- To support parents and families in their role as primary religious educators of their children.
- To carry out this mission in ways that are safe, nurturing, engaging, and enjoyable.
Religious Education Committee Covenant
United by a shared mission, we covenant together to:
- Be present
- Create opportunities for everyone to speak and be heard
- Participate with a commitment to all the children and families of the congregation
- Consider and value different points of view
- Be willing to share the workload
- Serve as advocates for our children, families and congregation
- Foster a safe place to share
- Maintain confidentiality about the discussions in this committee
- Support each other and the program
In this spirit, we honor ourselves, our task, and each other as we strive to make real the vision of Unitarian Universalism.