Family Ministry and Religious Education Fees
Melody Moberg, Director of Family Ministry
Your religious education team is thrilled to announce two exciting things: we are eliminating religious education fees this year, and we are shifting to a model of family ministry. Information about our fall programs is below also.
No Religious Education Fees This Year
This year we are eliminating religious education fees for our programs, with the exception of Coming of Age and Chalice Camp. This change is one we’ve wanted to implement for some time. Eliminating religious education fees reinforces the message that children, youth and families are essential to our whole church community. Eliminating fees makes our programs more accessible to both newcomers and long-term members and eliminates unnecessary barriers to participation.
This year we will be testing how eliminating religious education fees impacts families, program support, and the church operating budget. As part of the budget planning process for next year, these impacts will be considered and either adopted for the foreseeable future, revised and implemented in another way, or the fees may be reinstated as they have been in prior years. Parents will be part of the evaluation process.
This year, the Coming of Age program will be offered with a sliding scale fee of $50–$150 for the church year per youth for special materials and experiences. If this is a barrier for your family’s participation, please contact Melody Moberg for a scholarship, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After over a year of discernment and work with other staff and the religious education visioning team, we are shifting to a Family Ministry model of religious education. The language of family ministry better reflects our goals for programs for children, youth and families, and it also better reflects some of the changes we have already been living into.
We believe religious education is a life-long project. We have not been a 1950s “Sunday school” or “church school” with a model of passive learning for many years. Instead, we seek to provide a learning community of mutual development for children, youth, families, care providers, teachers, and mentors. Together, we help children and youth develop a strong Unitarian Universalist identity, with deep relationships in their church community, and nurture their rich and unique spiritual lives.
As in the hymn “This Little Light of Mine,” we believe our work is to help people of all ages in our programs discover their inner light and let it shine.
Our work, as professional religious educators, is to offer ministry to the families of University Unitarian Church. This ministry comes in many forms, including Sunday morning programming, support and covenant groups for parents, multigenerational worship, and spiritual deepening. We believe that parents and guardians are always their child’s primary religious educator, and as such we seek to collaborate with parents and guardians to grow each family’s religious values and practices.
We aren’t eliminating the term religious education. Instead, we see religious education as one component of Family Ministry, which is our overall project and goal.
Melody Moberg’s title is changing from Director of Religious Education to Director of Family Ministry, and Aria Curtis’s title is changing from Elementary Program Coordinator to Family Ministry Coordinator. Beginning this year, Aria will be coordinating 8th/9th grade OWL programs in addition to programs for Sprouts and Elementary children. We are excited to do the work of family ministry with all of you!
Family Ministry Programs for Children and Youth This Fall
We are offering three different options for programs for children and youth this fall: online programs, Faith Crate for families, and in person programs. If you’d like your family to participate in any of these programs, please register online.
Our online programs for elementary children and youth are created in collaboration with other area Unitarian Universalist congregations. Participants can expect fun programs focused on community building and reflection, where they can meet UUs from all over the Pacific Northwest.
Faith Crate for families
Families who sign up for the Faith Crates will receive a box of materials for family faith formation and religious education at home four times throughout the year. The boxes will include things like special art materials, reflection questions, and spiritual practice suggestions. Families receiving the Faith Crates will also be invited to gather in-person a few times throughout the year, to share about and build on their experiences with the Faith Cates.
In-person programs, Sundays at 11:15 a.m.
We are offering in person programs for children and youth onsite at UUC, from 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
During the second service at 11:15 a.m., UUC is open to people who are fully vaccinated and children who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Proof of vaccination for those age 12 and over must be presented or on file at UUC before entering the building. Masks are required for all over the age of 2. Participants are asked to be mindful of social distancing.
Sprouts Care: Age 0–4½
Quality and loving childcare is available to our youngest community members. Please note: we are currently limiting Sprouts to 10 children. We ask that families who require childcare during worship reserve a spot ahead of time.
Elementary: Kindergarten–5th Grade
Religious Education for elementary-age children is embracing the elements this year! Our multi-age class will meet outside, on the East Patio, for creative play and exploration focused on our Unitarian Universalist Principles. Using the “Pocketful of Principles” curriculum, RE Volunteers will gently guide children in exploring ways to keep their UU faith close at hand, “putting it to good use in their lives, and keeping it at the ready whenever they need a dose of wisdom or hope, clarity or compassion.”
World Religions: 6th–7th Grade
In our middle school World Religions program, participants learn about other faith traditions and the religious origins of Unitarian Universalism. In this two-year program, participants learn about the ancient and contemporary expressions of many faiths, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Participants who are not yet eligible for vaccination are encouraged to attend the outdoor Elementary programs until reaching full vaccination.
Our Whole Lives: 8th and 9th Grade
Note: content begins in October
Our Whole Lives is a comprehensive sexuality education program designed to help participants gain the knowledge, values and skills to lead sexually healthy, responsible lives. We explore many topics, such as anatomy and physiology, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, dating, pregnancy, contraception, and sexual decision making.
Coming of Age: 9th and 10th Grade
Note: content begins in October
COA is a rite of passage experience where participants explore their personal and spiritual beliefs within a UU context. COA participants are each assigned an adult mentor from UUC. The program culminates in a solo vigil in the wilderness. By the end of the program, participants deliver a faith statement outlining their personal and spiritual beliefs during a special worship service in May.
Youth Group: 10th-12th Grade
Participants meet weekly on Sunday mornings for community, fun and conversation. Sessions may include art and games, leadership development, antiracism education, and discussions on spiritual and religious topics.
Seeking volunteer teachers:
We are seeking volunteer teachers and facilitators for the church year, with a requirement of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, passing a background check, and being a dependable, caring presence in the classroom. The requirement will most likely be to teach twice per month at 11:15 a.m. on Sundays. We can only offer programs if we have enough volunteer teachers! Please contact Melody Moberg to let me know if you’re interested, at email@example.com.