Our cooperative religious exploration program provides a variety of religious experiences to guide faith development in children and youth. Through classes, worship, youth groups, choir, social action opportunities, and multigenerational events, children and youth have many opportunities to experience values basic to Unitarian Universalism. The values of freedom, reason, justice, courage, respect, hope and love are interwoven throughout the curricula. Classes and activities provide a safe place where young people can question and wonder, learn and grow, all the while being supported by a nurturing community.
As we guide them on their own spiritual paths, we hope children and youth gain an appreciation of and respect for the diversity of religious thought. They learn about religious ideas from many sources - our Jewish and Christian heritage, other world religions, UU history - and are guided in developing their own religious perspective so that they can lead honest and ethical lives. We explore with them a faith that can anchor them in times of trouble and lift them in times of joy. Everything we do in this program is grounded in our Unitarian Universalist principles.
GOALS FOR RELIGIOUS EXPLORATION AT FIRST PARISH
The religious exploration program at First Parish seeks to provide an environment which is conducive to nurturing spiritual development, ethical development, faith development, and Unitarian Universalist identity in its children and youth. Throughout the program, we value diversity, justice, respect and compassion. The program aims to:
Provide a grounding in Unitarian Universalist identity:
Learning our UU
principles so that participants can use the
principles as a guide to living their lives
our UU heritage (stories from our history and
who has come before us)
supported by and a part of a UU community of all
ages – this can be accomplished by providing
multi-generational worship and fellowship
Contribute to spiritual development:
Providing experiences that engender awe and wonder
Exploring the “big questions” of life – how did the world start, why am I here, what happens after we die, who is God?
Exploring areas such as grief, pain, and how to handle such emotions
Encouraging one’s own questioning in supportive environment.
Help children and youth in their ethical development:
Developing a moral compass – a sense of what is right and wrong.
Recognizing that they are moral agents, capable of making a difference in the lives of others, standing up for what they think is “right.”
• Contribute to faith development:
Helping children and youth to carry their faith out into the world (faith has personal dimensions, but is best supported by a community of shared symbols, stories, values and meanings)
Provide age-appropriate social action opportunities to put our UU faith into action