The Religious Exploration Program at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lawrence is designed to spark inquiry, build community and help our children and youth understand themselves in relationship with the broader world in which we live.
We recognize that parents are the principal spiritual guides for their children and we are here to act as resources in this journey. It is an honor to play a role in nurturing the spirits, minds and emotions of all the children and youth who join us for study, play and worship.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lawrence is highly committed to providing a safe place for our children and youth. Our Safe Congregation Policy is available here.
Register for Children’s Religious Exploration here.
At 9:30 A.M. children meet in the Gilles Wing for Religious Exploration classes. Parents settle children in their classrooms before attending the Program in the sanctuary. Parents are always welcome to join their child or children for any of their class sessions.
2016-17 Children’s Religious Exploration
Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m.
Our Nursery opens at 9:20 for babies through 3 years. See our Nursery section for details.
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Grades 7 & 8
Mandatory Parents meeting Wednesday September 7th at 6:30 pm.
Classes will meet Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm
Pre-K through 5th Grade Spirit Play in the Wollstonecraft Room
Rooted in Montessori pedagogy, Spirit Play is a Unitarian Universalist children’s religious exploration curriculum that has been used successfully in multiage classrooms in over 200 Unitarian Universalist churches since its founding in 2000.
Within the structure of a calm, nurturing and supportive environment, children are brought together to hear a story specially told with manipulatives to capture their imagination. The story is followed by several wondering questions…that are not answered in the group. After the questions are presented, the children choose their own ‘work’. Depending on their interests, mood and level of curiosity that morning, they may choose an art form to further explore these questions in their heads, recreate the story they just heard with their own interpretation and language, meditate with yoga or finger labyrinth and more. A variety of ‘work stations’ are set up to demonstrate that for these mornings and for the rest of their lives, they are surrounded by the tools, friends and teachers that can help them make meaning of their lives and to explore the spirit of love, justice and the mystery that some people call God – all within the context of Unitarian Universalism.
Spirit Play strengths include:
- Encourages independent thinking through wondering questions
- Values learning differences and multiple learning styles
- Was designed specifically to address the challenges of multiage learners in the same class
- Give children real choices within a structure
- Creates supportive community in a mixed age classroom
- Develops a sense of the spiritual and the mystery of life
- RE teachers value the program as part of their own spiritual process and find it easier to teach than previous methods
The Spirit Play stories we will be using this year will focus on our Unitarian Universalism 7 principles. However, we have selected stories that not only reflect on one of our principles but also embodies the monthly Soul Matters theme. We hope that this encourages family discussions on the theme in the car or over dinner some night.
September: What does it mean to be a community of covenant?
October: What does it mean to be a community of healing?
November: What does it mean to be a community of story?
December: What does it mean to be a community of presence?
January: What does it mean to be a community of prophecy?
February: What does it mean to be a community of identity?
March: What does it mean to be a community of risk?
April: What does it mean to be a community of transformation?
May: What does it mean to be a community of embodiment?
June: What does it mean to be a community of zest?
Middle Youth: 6th-8th Grade
Middle Youth (Grades 6-8) will meet in the youth room each week with time for individual exploration, games and friendship building.
Youth Group (Grades 9-12)
Plans are underway to gather our youth and create a group experience that will empower them to make in a difference in their lives and those in communities around them.
Volunteer to assist in a class!
Volunteers are the soul of our program. The contributions of our volunteers’ time and talents guarantee quality programming for children and youth and the continuation of our Unitarian Universalist legacy. Adults that mentor children find that they learn a great deal about Unitarian Universalism through their classroom involvement with our youngsters and their peers. Those with a concern for the future of liberal religion should contact the team leader of the pertinent age-range (see below) to discover how they can participate in this meaningful and rewarding effort.
Director of Lifelong Learning: Bonnie Blosser – email@example.com
Children’s RE Team Leader: Ashley Strand – firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Team Leaders: Brita and Paul Calnon – email@example.com
Our Whole Lives Coordinator: Rebecca Gant – firstname.lastname@example.org
UFL Main Office: Jennifer Donnelly – email@example.com
What we hold dear
- We covenant with one another to be a multigenerational community where people of all ages are celebrated and welcomed as participants, recipients and leaders in lifelong learning. We honor, empower and uniquely serve each generation.
- We commit to providing a safe and welcoming place for people of all ages
- We endeavor to create an open learning community where newcomers, friends and members experience a sense of belonging.
- We strive to offer a nurturing and supportive environment where children, youth and adults feel accepted, values and respected.
- We encourage participation in celebrations and rituals that mark life’s milestones.
- We strive to create a fun and exciting atmosphere that attract and engages youth and families with children.
- We support and encourage intellectual and spiritual growth through religious exploration, questioning and reflection, moral and ethical development and connections to our UU community and heritage.
- We recognize that parents are the principal spiritual guides for their children and we provide support and resources for the process.
- We invite people of all ages to explore how others have searched for truth and meaning and examine universal ideas found in story, art, religion and science.
- We seek to facilitate the process of lifelong learning, self-discovery and formation of individual UU identity by providing a foundation based on the seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism.
- We affirm that Unitarian Universalism binds us together by celebrating diverse beliefs and philosophies and welcoming each person’s lifelong participation wherever they are in their journey.
- We celebrate our rich UU heritage of passion for social justice and activism
- We engage in social action as a way for people of all ages to live their values
- We recognize that our relationship within this community provide a foundation for our service in the wider world.
- We support each individual in developing a personal framework to make life decisions informed by UU Principles.