Welcome to Faith Formation at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society (SUUS)! Here at SUUS we are dedicated to love, faith, justice and reason. Children and youth are valued members of the SUUS community, and our program is rich in offerings for all, including Sunday morning classes, worship experiences, justice opportunities and social events.
At this time the SUUS building is currently closed, but we are offering both online and outdoor gatherings for Faith Formation. Please check the calendar or sign up for our weekly newsletter for more details about programming by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Click HERE to download a Welcome Letter from our Director of Faith Formation.
Faith Formation Forms
Download and print: Volunteer Application for Position & Background Verification Release Form
Faith Formation Programming – 2020-2021:
During the 2020-2021 Faith Formation year, programming will take a different form than previous years. However, the listings below are a good example of programming that is typically offered when classes are offered on SUUS grounds.
To see the current offerings, please visit the news and search “Faith Formation News.”
Sunday Morning Classes
(Sundays, 10:30am – 11:45am from September – June)
Kid’s Korner We offer childcare for children from birth to preschool-age in the Kids Korner from 10:15am to 11:45am on Sunday mornings. As they are able, children can participate in PlaySchool, a pre-K curriculum which includes a chalice lighting, check in/out, story and activity.
K – Grade 3 Join a caring community in which children begin to make meaning of the language of our Unitarian Universalist faith and life’s questions. This Montessori style classroom incorporates games, imaginative activities, art and UU rituals. During the fall, the class will focus on Unitarian Universalism’s seven principles using the UUA Faithful Journeys Curriculum.
Grades 4 – 6 use games, discussion and hands-on activities to explore Unitarian Universalism Principles, traditions, history and values. This fall we are excited to introduce the Harry Potter & UU curriculum. “Wands at the ready!”
Youth will follow our Coming of Age program, a year of exploration where our youth spend time together and with mentors to develop their own personal credo statements. The group will make a heritage trip to Boston along with a retreat in the spring.
Additional Class Offerings
OWL (Our Whole Lives) is a program of lifespan sexuality education with curricula for:
- Grades K-1
- Grades 4-6
- Grades 7- 9
- Grades 10-12
Our Whole Lives takes a holistic view of sexuality. It provides accurate, age appropriate information while helping people clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.
Our Whole Lives is based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education, and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).
Multigenerational Services are held periodically and children and youth are encouraged to attend along with the adults. These services are designed for all ages, and often take place near a holiday, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Check the calendar for detailed scheduling information.
Whole Congregation Worship – Each Sunday, children and youth join the first 20 minutes of the service for chalice lighting, music and a story for all ages.
Social Justice and Social Activities
Social Justice : Faith Formation offers service projects and social justice activities for children, youth, families and members. Activities may include making items for people who are homeless, fundraising to support a local or international cause, food scarcity awareness/action and outreach and animal advocacy.
Faith Formation offers a wide variety of intergenerational social connections. Highlights include:
- Holiday Caroling to our local senior center
- Halloween Party – People of all ages meet to connect and have fun
- Mystery Pen Pals – Children and adults are paired anonymously, exchange letters and then participate in a reveal dinner at the conclusion.
- Family Meet-ups
- Game Nights
Rites of Passage
This faith community marks significant milestones and transitions throughout our lives with ceremonies. For children and youth, we celebrate child dedications (where we honor the miracle of life and our commitment to caring for infants or older children), Coming-of-Age (completion of our coming-of-age program) and Bridging (high school graduation or an equivalent life transition). Speak with Amy Buckley, Director of Faith Formation, to learn more about these rites of passage.
Our Principles and Sources
The rainbow, and its acronym ROYGBIV, is used in our program to teach our children and affirm the 7 Unitarian Universalist Principles:
Respect the importance of all beings.
Offer fair and kind treatment to all.
Yearn to accept others and encourage spiritual growth.
Grow by exploring ideas and values together.
Believe in our ideas and act on them.
Insist on peace, freedom and justice for all.
Value our interdependence with nature.
The Living Tradition we share draws from many sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings, which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions, which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
- These principles and sources of faith are the backbone of our religious community.
Resources for Families
The Our Whole Lives website, with information about the curricula – http://www.uua.org/re/owl/
Website with advice from Mr. Rogers for talking with children about tragic events – http://www.fredrogers.org/parents/special-challenges/tragic-events.php
UU Parenting Blog by Michelle Richards (not current, but a great discussion of parenting and liberal religion) – http://blogs.uuworld.org/parenting/
UU@Home has suggestions and support for at-home faith development – http://uuathome.com/
“Tending the Flame – The Art of Unitarian Universalist Parenting” by Michelle Richards.
The UUA bookstore InSpirit has books for all ages related to children and parenting – http://www.uuabookstore.org/
Frequently Asked Questions
What do visitors do on a Sunday morning?
Visitors are always welcome to join us. Programming for children and youth through grade 9 takes place during the 10:30 AM service. If possible, let Amy Buckley, Director of Faith Formation, know ahead of time if you are bringing visiting children. And please arrive a few minutes before 10:30 so you have time to visit the classrooms, meet the teachers and register your children before the worship service begins.
When you arrive, check the whiteboard for information about the day’s events and where children and youth begin that morning. Classes end at 11:45. Please pick up children in grade 1 and below in their classroom. Older children and youth proceed to coffee hour at that time; supervision is the responsibility of the parent/guardian once classes have ended.
Are there classes every Sunday?
Classes are held most Sundays, September through May. On certain Sundays, children remain with their families in a multigenerational worship service. These services are designed for all ages and are a great way to enjoy a worship service as a family. And on a few Sundays, children of all ages meet during class time for Social Justice Sundays.
What do children learn in Sunday classes?
The goal of our youth faith formation program is to build community within and across generations and foster the religious, spiritual, and ethical development of our children and youth.
Our classes focus on exploring values and faith development. Topics include Unitarian Universalist Principles, values, history and practices, as well as world religions, justice issues, and learning about ourselves and our relationship to the world.
Classes are also an opportunity for children to be a part of a community of people who learn and work together, as we consider big questions, take action on justice issues, support each other, and have fun.
Is There a Fee?
There is no charge for participating SUUS’s faith formation program. Members and friends are asked to pledge financial support to SUUS each year, at a level that is appropriate for them. These donations support all the work of the congregation.
Who are the teachers?
All of the classes on Sunday morning are led by volunteer members and the Faith Formation Committee. Our volunteers include adults of all ages, with and without children in the program. Teachers for most classes are provided with session plans and supplies, but teachers can also work with the Director of Faith Formation to share their passions with the young people.
How Do I Volunteer?
In general, adults who are new to SUUS do not teach classes for the first year, to give you time to get to know this community. However, we welcome your involvement with special events and in other ways, such as serving on the Faith Formation Committee. Contact Amy Buckley, the Director of Faith Formation, or the FF Committee Chairs Benna Lehrer or Kathy Helmrich if you are interested.