Religious Education Programs
- Please register your children and youth, ages 0-18, for our Sunday morning religious education programs.
- Each year, we ask families to register their children for RE. Registering is essential to the functioning of our programs, giving parents and care providers access to important information about classes, weekly emails, and timely updates.
- Online registration is preferred. This helps provide up-to-date and readily accessible information to our staff and RE volunteers.
- Paper forms are available at East Shore as well.
- After three visits, children and youth must be enrolled to participate in RE programs.
- We are using a new membership software, Realm. This can be used as a guest or via an account, through the website browser or via a free app you can download on devices.
Sunday Mornings at East Shore
- East Shore offers two worship services, and two complimentary RE programs on Sunday mornings throughout the church year, September 22, 2019 – May 17, 2020 at 9am and 11am. During summer months, May 24 – September 13, 2020, we offer one worship service and one RE program at 10 am.
- On special Sundays throughout the year, in lieu of 11am RE programming and childcare, we gather together in a worship for all ages. Held in the Sanctuary, these services are celebrations, ceremonies, and festivities. Worships for all ages are created with babies, children, and youth in mind and often involve their participation. The 2019-2020 worship for all ages schedule is September 15, October 27, November 24, December 22, December 29, January 19, March 22, May 24, May 31, and June 7.
- Babies, children, and youth are always invited to stay in the Sanctuary during any of our worship services. Activity bags that include sensory toys and coloring pages are available at the membership desk located in the Sanctuary foyer.
- RE for Children and Youth on Sunday mornings is offered by paid and volunteer staff. Learn more about volunteering in RE here.
Our Whole Lives classes, a central part of our RE offerings, are held throughout this 2019-2020 church year. These require pre-registration and parent orientations. Classes have various start times, and overlap with our RE programs. Please find more specifics about OWL here.
9am Children and Youth Fellowship–always start in E-202. We gather collective 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.
11am 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. Our 11am programs are grouped into different ages:
- 0-5 years old/Nursery and Pre-k: Education building main floor E-106
- 5-14 years old/K-8th grade: Education building upstairs in room E-202, with breakout groups in various classes depending on class size and volunteer availability
- 14-18 years old/9th-12th grade: Education building upstairs in room E-207, with breakout groups in various classes depending on class size and volunteer availability
2019-2020 we are utilizing a monthly theme-based ministry for children and youth not currently in OWL. We encourage all eligible children and youth to sign up for their age-appropriate OWL class. Each month, we have stories, songs, service-projects, games, and hands on activities centralized around a theme. Themes such as compassion, perseverance, citizenship, etc, all informed by our Unitarian Universalist faith, principles, and religious sources, 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.
We have a concentrated focus on anti-bias education, which involves coming together to learn about, value, and support all dimensions of human differences including but not limited to race, culture, language, gender, ability, and sexual orientation.
The Four Goals of Anti-Bias Education
- Identity: Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social/group identities.
- Diversity: Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity, accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connections.
- Justice: Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness (injustice), have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
- Activism: Each child will demonstrate a sense of empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.
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 and physically 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.
Parents are expected to support the RE program by volunteering in Sunday classes or special events.
Support for families is offered throughout the year. Our Lifelong Learning staff and Lifespan Integration Committee are always here to support you and your family.
Religious education can help us grow in faith, at any age. Yet faith development happens outside of our faith communities, …especially at home! Parents and caregivers are our children’s primary religious educators, and not only because we give explanations and advice. Every day, we model attitudes toward faith, meaning, and purpose that children will notice and mimic.
We support one another to discover and rediscover a seeking, active faith in the context of our family lives. We regularly draw from sources provided by the UUA. Including:
- Tapestry of Faith By creating the first, ever online lifespan curricula for our congregations, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) invites seekers as well as members to engage in faith study at home. Each religious education (RE) program includes stories, activities, worship, and social action ideas to nurture people of all ages in ethics, spirit, and faith. Parents can go online and read the Tapestry of Faith stories and activities their children experience in RE programs. Every session features Taking It Home and Find Out More sections to help you extend the session topics.
- Family Pages in UU World The four-page, themed centerfold in UU World draws from stories, activities, and faith development guidance in Tapestry of Faith programs. These pages offer inspiration and ideas to use at home—for parents to share with children, elders to share with grandchildren, and UUs and seekers of all ages to explore. We print new editions of Family Pages that can be found in the foyer of our Education building. Members of East Shore receive a free copy of UU World at their homes. Please write to our membership staff for more information about membership and receiving your copy today.
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 provides specific, well-defined tasks that help to build a community of families, children & youth rooted in Unitarian Universalist values. Please visit our volunteering in RE site for more information.
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.
All staff and volunteers who work with children and youth receive training to support their work; have had background checks prior to being approved; and are stationed in classes with at least one other adult.
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 your 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 on the religious education staff, teacher, minister, or Lifelong Learning committee member with your questions, comments, or concerns.
Thank you for your support, your participation is greatly appreciated!