by Amanda Alice Uluhan, RE Programs Coordinator
Begins Sunday, September 22
Welcome to East Shore’s Religious Education (RE), Children and Youth (Ages 0-18) programming for September 2019-May 2020!
Visit the RE bulletin boards in the North Room or just outside the Preschool/Nursery room in the Education Building for up-to-date information, events, and registration. Also check out the RE page of East Shore’s website at www.esuc.org/learning, and for Our Whole Lives programs, visit www.esuc.org/learning/owl
Religious Education (RE) for Children and Youth is offered throughout Sunday mornings by paid and volunteer staff who receive training on working with children, teaching curriculum, and who have all had background checks prior to being approved to serve the congregation in this way.
Several Sundays throughout the year, in lieu of the 11:00 am RE program, all ages gather in the Sanctuary for worship.
Babies, children, and youth are always invited to stay in the Sanctuary for worship with guardians. Children’s Activity Bags are available from the membership desk in the Sanctuary foyer.
Care for children, infant through age 5, is available on the main floor of the Education Building.
- 9:00 am Children and Youth Fellowship always starts in Spring Hall. We gather collectively to share in worship, ritual, play, and active learning to encourage faith formation and community building. Youth especially are encouraged to act as role models and mentors in the classes. This gathering is an opportunity to participate in a multi-age community. Youth are welcome to receive volunteer hours for participation.
- 11:00 am Children and Youth classes always start in the Sanctuary. We gather together first to share in the congregation’s chalice lighting, hymn, and story. Children and youth then process to the Education Building for religious education classes.
This year we are utilizing a monthly theme-based ministry for Children and Youth who are not in OWL. Each month, we have stories, songs, service-projects, games, and hands-on activities centered around a theme. Themes such as compassion, perseverance, citizenship, etcetera, all informed by our Unitarian Universalist faith, are introduced and deepened throughout the month. Each session will be welcoming of the developmental and special needs of our children and takes into account the unique needs of the class.
Our basic religious education program is a ministry of the congregation and comes to you free of charge for members and pledging friends of East Shore. For visitors of East Shore, we ask for an annual $50 supplies fee to help offset costs of the RE programming. Sometimes participation in additional components of the programs, such as youth conferences and Coming of Age, does involve paying fees. No one is turned away for financial reasons. Please contact ESUC RE staff for financial support!
Parents/Guardians of children and youth enrolled in or visiting the Sunday morning Children/Youth Religious Education program are asked to be present on the premises while their children are attending religious education programming. Parents of nursery-aged children are responsible to sign their children in and out.
While we encourage children and youth to feel at home on our campus, we are also aware that the potential for harm does exist. To minimize risk for harm, we expect that all minors are under the direct supervision of volunteer or paid staff religious education teachers or their parents/guardians when they are not in class.
Our religious education program at East Shore, like most faith communities, is made up primarily of volunteers from within the congregation. RE, with its roots in Sunday school, is a way of participating in our community to stay involved and actively invest in faith enrichment. Whether it’s leading classes on Sunday morning, helping create all-ages worship services, organizing a Parents Night Out, implementing a family friendly activity, participating in our committee, leading summertime Chalice Camp, organizing snacks for classes, or gathering supplies, you can find a way to be involved! And if there’s an idea you would like to see happen, it can, with your help! RE volunteer opportunities provide specific, well-defined tasks that help to build a community of families, children and youth rooted in Unitarian Universalist values.
All of our programming with children and youth requires two, unrelated adults be present in a room. This creates a safer community with a network of accountability. We encourage you to support having two adults in the room by volunteering regularly in RE programs and events, and stepping in when needed to be the second adult when others are not available.
Adults who volunteer with regularity are required to have a background check, run through our insurance, Church Mutual, that contracts with Trusted Employees.
Minors, 0 through 18, must be under the direct supervision of parents/guardians or must be signed into and involved with religious education programming. Unsupervised minors in hallways, on the playground, in classrooms, or wandering around will be escorted to a classroom or to find their parent/guardian.
Electronic devices will not be used, unless directly relevant to the activity and learning. Guardians can hang on to their child’s device while they are in programming on Sundays. Devices can be put into class device baskets, or they can be tucked away in pockets or bags. If children and youth are using devices during class time, teachers will take them until the end of class. This includes gaming, texting, and music player devices.
Tips to Make Church Programs More Fun!
Attend regularly. Consistent attendance allows your child the opportunity to develop friendships, become better acquainted with the teachers, and develop continuity and increased understanding of the material. Parents who possess an attitude of cheerful expectancy about weekly church attendance have less difficulty keeping children involved. On Sundays without classes, share your worship experience with your children.
Dress for active participation. Our classes are creative, active places with movement, glue, paint, games, etc.
Familiarize yourself with the regular activities of the classes. Talk with your child and the teachers about the activities in the class. Keep informed through the newsletter, and participate in church events together.
Share your own religious beliefs with your children. We encourage you to learn along with your child as you take a spiritual journey together. Support and encourage your child, wherever they are on the religious journey. Recognize that your child’s religious needs may differ from your own. Many children have a need for ritual, structure, and definitive answers to difficult questions. Seek out the answers and support you need. Although you are your children’s primary religious educator, you are not alone!
Share some of your time and talents. Parental involvement is a key ingredient to your child’s positive experience at church and the success of our program. When you are connected and having fun, so will your child.
Always feel free to call the religious education staff, teacher, minister, or RE committee member with your questions, comments, or concerns.
Thank you for your support; your participation is greatly appreciated. We look forward to our upcoming year!