SUUS Religious Education Activities and Events
Religious Education Programming begins at 10:30am
The curricula we offer have been created with our seven Unitarian Universalist Principles in mind:
- Respect All People.
- Offer fair and kind treatment to all.
- Yearn to accept and learn about ourselves, others and the Mystery, which some people call God.
- Grow by exploring what is true and right in life.
- Believe in our ideas and act upon them.
- Insist on a peaceful, fair, and free world.
- Value our home Earth that we share with all living things.
Our principles come from these six sources:
- The sense of wonder and awe that we all share.
- The women and men of long ago and today whose lives remind us to be kind and fair.
- The ethical and spiritual wisdom from the world’s religions.
- The Jewish and Christian teachings that tell us to love all others as we love ourselves.
- The use of reason and the discoveries of science.
- The harmony of nature and the sacred circle of life.
2017-18 Children’s Religious Education Classes:
Parents: For your children to participate please complete both the RE Registration Form and the Photo/Video Release Form. – Thank you
Nursery Care: We provide child care for infants and toddlers. Very young children are invited to spend their morning either with their parents in the worship service or in the nursery with our professional attendant, Lori O’Sullivan.
Pre-K through K (ages 3-5): To be announced very soon!
First through 4th grade:
Fall – The Wonderful World of Dr. Seuss by Cathy Cartwright-Chow
Unitarian Theodore Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss, has captivated children and adults alike for years with his charming tales, whimsical characters and imaginative worlds. Dr. Seuss’ tales are more than just catchy poems; they often wrestle with serious philosophical and moral dilemmas. We will explore thirteen Dr. Seuss stories during the fall months, reflecting on the dilemmas facing the characters, and participating in engaging discussions, games, crafts, and a few scavenger hunts.
Spring – Living the Promise by Cheryl Gibbs Binkley and Jane M. McKeel
An age-appropriate survey of stories (videos) from the Hebrew Scriptures to help children become more familiar with significant aspects of the Bible in a way that holds meaning for them and is also fun! Living the Promise was created not only to increase biblical literacy for young children but also to tap into some of the Bible’s great wisdom—important ideas about trust, personal responsibility and justice. May the steadfastness of Moses, the loyalty of Ruth, and impassioned voices of David and Elijah come alive for our children and teachers alike, making full for them the “promise of life.”
Grades 5-8: To be announced very soon!
Fall – D’Oh, God! By Karen Hager
Matt Groening, rumored to be a Unitarian, is the creator of the Simpsons, the longest-running American sitcom in history. In 2012, Karen Hager, a religious educator in Blackburg, VA, created a curriculum designed for Middle School students based on the religious teachings of the Simpsons. We will spend the first half of the year with the Simpson family, exploring their experiences with praying, Christianity, the Ten Commandments, Judgment Day, Faith, the existence of a soul, science and religion, cults, faith healing and miracles, missionaries, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, and Wicca.
Spring – Timeless Themes by Nannene Gowdy, Mary Ann Moore, and Marjorie Skwire
Introduces young people to Biblical literature central to our culture and to our heritage as Unitarian Universalists. Our culture is derived from a predominantly Jewish and Christian ethic. By becoming familiar with the stories (Bible readings and video) which helped to shape those faiths, our children will better understand UU heritage. The human issues which inspired these scriptures are ageless. Their settings, social customs, and scientific knowledge may seem outdated, but their vital core of beliefs and values continues to be important.
High School (Youth Group):
Monthly meetings over breakfast or lunch allow our youth an opportunity to reconnect with each other and to discuss a variety of topics including racism, civil rights, bullying, homophobia, gender stereotyping, income inequality, and War. In addition to our many community service projects and social justice events, we plan to include TED talks and guest speakers this year.
Stories for All Ages: Competing for a child’s attention can be difficult these days. Widespread television viewing, video gaming, and internet surfing is the new technological reality for our young people. Schools have already adapted. Church is the logical next step.
To this end, we have equipped our sanctuary with a state of the art smart board to integrate digital media into our worship services as tools for theological learning. Most Sundays, a Story for All Ages is presented, or rather projected, with an age-appropriate message, thematic to the minister’s sermon topic, and designed specifically for the children and youth in mind.
Children and Youth Chapel Services: Periodically throughout the year, our young people participate in their own worship services based on specific themes spanning from the parables of Jesus to the pineapple as an world-wide symbol of welcome.
Youth Choir: Several times a year we teach a new song to the children and youth to perform for the adults during multigenerational worship services (Thanksgiving, Easter and Mother’s Day).
SUUS Orchestra: At least twice per year, the children, youth and adult musicians of the congregation form the SUUS Orchestra to play during the adult worship service. The pieces of music are arrangements of well-known favorites such as our recent “Colonel Bogey’s March”, The Beatles “Love is All You Need” and “When the Saints Go Marching,” and “Sing” by the Carpenters.
Theater: The children and youth participate in an annual play that is performed during an adult worship service. The theme changes every year but is usually connected to the many warm messages of hope, and light, and love.
Secret Pen Pals: The annual Shoreline Unitarian Universalist secret pen pal letter exchange will take place again starting in January 2018. Children and adults are paired anonymously and exchange letters over six weeks. A special identity-revealing dinner follows at the conclusion of the exchange (March 18), and the new friends share a meal and dessert together.
Youth Group Service Projects: As a prerequisite to participating in the youth group, participants must do some service work in the community, whether it is volunteering at a soup kitchen or cleaning up trash on the local beach, there are many community service project opportunities throughout the year.