Religious Education for Children and Youth
About Our Children and Youth Ministry
At BRUU, we strive to help our children, youth, and their families grow spiritually with lives filled with compassion and wholeness. Through our Sunday morning Religious Education programs and a variety of family fellowship opportunities, we seek to cultivate in our children both a love of liberal religious life and a sense of belonging in a wider faith community.
Our Religious Education Program is one that:
- Introduces children to beliefs and celebrations of a variety of religious traditions and values
- Explores UU purposes and principles and how they relate to children’s lives
- Provides opportunities to explore and develop religious thoughts and beliefs in a loving and supportive environment
- Promotes the care and well-being of people of all ages through multi-generational services and special events
In order to ensure that our children are well grounded in the many different aspects of our religious tradition, we have chosen three basic areas of religious education content with which we want our children to be familiar. We call these areas Pillars: Unitarian Universalist Identity, World Religions, and Judeo-Christian Heritage. Using this approach, our children can build on what they have already learned without structured learning becoming obviously repetitive.
To get more information and register, contact Kristin Worthington, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Religious Education for ages 4-17, September 2023-May 2024
Explorers: Children ages 4-7, will discover a year full of holidays and rituals from around the world and right here at home. From Sukkot & Ramadan to Samhain & Easter, the Explorers will nourish their souls experiencing faith practices through story, song, art, and movement. Along the way, we’ll meet key Unitarian Universalist individuals that shaped our own faith. With guides Tracey, master of the sensory craft; Megan, who ensures each and every child has their needs met; and Richard, encourager of the open ended question, the Explorers will use the Spirit Play format to grow in community and knowledge. Spirit Play is a Montessori modeled program that includes interactive group activities and free play time to explore science, reading, building, or just hanging out in the quiet spot.
Snacks are frequently served, so please alert us to any dietary needs/restrictions your child may have. Children in this group must be signed out by a parent/caregiver to leave the room. You will find them in Room 108, off the Fellowship Hall, next to our Nursery.
Questers: Children ages 8-10, will use a well-loved Unitarian Universalist curriculum “Toolbox of Faith,” as their framework. Toolbox of Faith brings a physical representation of a Unitarian Universalist value into the classroom each week. A compass is the symbol of our inner discernment, while a hammer is used to demonstrate our power, for example. Mary, Lois, Martin and Maria supplement each week with music history, art, and UU persons of importance; and foster opportunities for autonomy and leadership within the class. The Questers will also participate in the 3rd annual Heifer International fundraising project, selling hand made wares and performing tasks for our congregation.
Seekers: Youth ages 11-13, with leaders Jennifer, Margo and Colin, the middle school group will be experiencing faith traditions in our neighborhood first hand. Traveling regularly on Sunday mornings, the Seekers will visit Dar Alnoor mosque, Durga Temple, Washington Ethical Society, Alexandria Friends Meeting House, to name just a few. Visits will be preceded with study of history, traditions, cultural influence and values, followed by an opportunity for youth reflection. In the Spring, the Seekers will have an overnight at Satchidananda Ashram (known as “Yogaville” near Charlottesville, to immerse themselves in a interfaith contemplative community.
Senior Youth: ages 14-18. Kelly, Dean, Miles and John nurture a safe and fun loving space for this group of emerging young adults. Recognizing that Inclusionary work is deep and continuous, the Senior Youth elected to utilize “Transgender Inclusion in Congregations,” a course developed by Rev. Mykal Slack and Zr. Alex Kapitan to take a deeper dive into their own knowledge and experience, as well as a lens with which to examine the intentional work in our congregation to include and affirm people with diverse gender identities and expressions.
Highlights of the upcoming church year are the annual Youth Worship Service, which is always thought provoking and one of the year’s favorites. Several weeks will be spent in service to our local community. “Senior Teas” join youth and adults in relationship, and the Holiday Cookie Sale fundraiser returns! For balance, the youth take field trips to local spots and leave some room for movie days and sharing talents. A member of the Senior Youth is also elected each year as a Board of Directors Representative.
In addition to BRUU activities, there are many opportunities for Youth to participate in the larger UUA world. Trainings and Service learning trips provide real world experience in social & climate justice; regional gatherings offer leadership & peer ministry positions.
Summer camps enjoy fellowship with others who share similar values and youth are encouraged to join the General Assembly Youth Caucus to help mold the future of our faith and polity. Contact Kristin, DLRE at email@example.com to find out more.
Additional Educational Offerings:
Coming of Age is offered to rising youth (9th and 10th graders this year). Janette and Star lead retreat style sessions that allow participants to examine the questions “What are my faith beliefs?” “What family/cultural history contributed to my current beliefs? What personal experiences have I had that contribute to my opinions and point of view?” Each youth is paired with a Mentor to help them along the way. Regular sessions are held at BRUU, and the group will retreat at Shenandoah River State Park to explore spiritual practices and make them their own. The year culminates with another deep and introspective worship during which Coming of Age members share their Credos, or Statements of Faith, knowing that it represents their faith beliefs right now and that they are sure to evolve through future life experiences.
OWL, Our Whole Lives, is a is sexuality education that fosters informed, responsible, and values-based decisions about sexual health and behavior. Written by Unitarian Universalist Association and United Church of Christ, OWL provides honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. The curriculum includes interactive activities that clarify decision making skills, affective emotional learning, and a safe and supportive peer group.
BRUU will be offering the Grades 4-6 level this January, also in retreat format.