What is often called “Religious Education”, we at First Unitarian prefer to call “Religious Explorers.” The program is headed by Allison Wyeth.
This year (2020-2021) will be an all-virtual program! We will take this opportunity to dive deeply into the fundamentals and foundations of Unitarian Universalism and Humanism so that our youth, whatever their age, have a solid background in our ideals and principles. We feel strongly that our youth becoming fully fluent in the language of our traditions and values is critical for preparing them to engage in the world as thoughtful, ethical, reflective people who take action aligned with their beliefs.
How will it work?
We will meet in one large group each week, on Sunday after our Assembly and coffee hour have finished (at 1 p.m.), to light our chalice together in fellowship. The focus of the day’s session will be introduced and then our youth and the adult RE volunteers will move into breakout rooms based on age groupings. There they will explore the central idea of the session in age-appropriate ways; through discussions, music, activities and fun.
We will also be offering a special Coming of Age group for youth in grades 8 & 9 (and any youth in grades 10 or 11 who missed COA previously and would like to join) focused on helping our youth develop their own, personal statement of belief that expresses their answers to the big questions of life: Where do we come from? Why are we here? What happens when this life is over? Coming of Age will have extensive involvement from Reverend Jim Foti and will focus on helping our youth to both gain a deeper understanding of their Humanist UU traditions, and of how they inform, interact and affect their own personal philosophy. The year-long program will culminate in a special Assembly where youth will present their personal credos, crafted in conversation with caring adults and each other.
|Parents and caregivers will have the chance to engage with our POP (Parents of Preschoolers) self-paced curriculum. No meeting time for children is planned, however the participating adults will have the opportunity for a monthly check-in and sharing meeting. Meeting time TBD, based on participant input.|
|Grade 1 – 3||Foundations of FUS||Groups will examine the seven UU principles, the proposed 8th principle, the 6 UU sources of wisdom, and the 10 Humanist Commitments.
Each group will have volunteer adult facilitators for guidance and age-appropriate materials and activities to engage with the ideas presented.
|Grade 4 -5||Foundations of FUS|
|Grade 6 – 7||Foundations of FUS|
|Grade 8 – 9
(open to grade 10 & 11)
|Foundations of FUS: Coming of Age|
|Grade 10+||Foundations of FUS|
Grade groupings may be combined should there be low attendance on a particular day.
What Else Do We Need to Know?
Materials – Participants will sometimes be engaging in activities requiring basic craft supplies. If you are unable to supply the following items: black & multi-color markers, multi-color construction paper, plain paper, glue – please email Allison to arrange for materials to be delivered (either in person or via US mail).
Technology – Virtual Religious Education will be hosted on Zoom. Each participant will need a device to attend, ideally a computer or tablet with headphones or earbuds (Smartphones are not preferred). If you are registering more than one child in grade 1 – grade 12, you will need to have a separate device to join each class (1st – 3rd, 4th – 5th, 6th – 7th, 8th-9th, 10th-12th). Kids in the same grade range may attend together on one device if you wish. Adult volunteers should attend on a device separate from their child. If you do not have the technology you need, please contact Allison to let us help you get set up.
Will There Be An Expectation to Volunteer in RE?
Yes! In order to make our breakout room plan work and create a safe and vibrant experience for all our families and children, we will need multiple adult RE volunteers each Sunday. Within our registration form, you’ll be able to designate which adult(s) in your household will be volunteering, choose which age group you’d most like to work with, and download the Background Check & Ethics Form. You’ll be able to sign up for specific dates that work best with your schedule by going to our Sign Up Genius form.
Volunteers serve approximately 8-10 Sundays through the program year. Session plan, Zoom meeting room and staff support is provided. As a side benefit of virtual RE, because our sessions will occur after Assembly and Coffee Hour have finished, no volunteers will need to miss out on Sunday morning engagement with the larger congregation!
How do we register?
To register your child(ren) for RE, you will need to complete these forms:
- FUS Religious Explorers Registration Form (includes Participation Release) – Click here to complete online.
- RE Volunteer Background Check Permission & Ethics Form (one per person volunteering) – Click here to download form. Form may be scanned or photographed and returned to
Following your registration, you’ll receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link you’ll need to join the meetings on Sundays. Please do not share this link.
I’m Not Sure My Kids Will Be There Every Week, Should I Still Register?
Absolutely! Our registration allows us to prepare the appropriate volunteer resources should you and your child decide that participation in online RE is a good fit. It also allows us to gather information about who and how many youth are engaged with our programs each year so that we can keep you connected to important information.
I Have Really Little Ones, Do I Need to Register?
If you’re thinking about joining us for the Parents of Preschoolers program (POP) which provides guidance and materials for parents and guardians to engage in ethical development with their kids, on their own schedule then…yes, please register! You’ll get the website and password to the monthly materials and access to the monthly Zoom meeting where we meet, share ideas and support one another.
Please email Director of Religious Education, Allison Wyeth, to receive Zoom links or for more information about Religious Explorers at FUS.