2023-2024 All Ages Religious Exploration and Spiritual Discovery at FUUSN

It is important for us to engage in religious exploration and spiritual discovery together as a congregation and discerning what we can do to engage and re-engage children, youth, and their families as well as adults in the next year. Here’s a sneak peak with some multigenerational additions!

Continuing our use of a theme-based model with our worship service at the center of it all, our next program year will specifically focus on developing a better sense of UU Identity, History, and Theology as well as Biblical Literacy. We will be offering some unique opportunities and, among the many ways you can give financially, your time is precious, too. Here are some of what you can come to expect and some information to volunteer:

Spirit Play: This is a Unitarian Universalist program of religious education that evolved from a long line of Montessori-based religious education programming. It is based on story and ritual, play and creativity. Spirit Play gives children the tools to make meaning of their lives within the container of Unitarian Universalism. Many of the stories will come from Hebrew and Christian scripture and other stories that are resonant with our UU values. To volunteer for this opportunity as a leader, you will have to participate in a training that specifically prepares you for this and we will need to have five volunteers trained. Each session will require one trained leader.

OWL: We will continue to offer OWL and plan to provide it for the following cohorts: 1) Kindergarten and 1st grade, 2) 4th-6th grade, and 3) 7th-9th grade. It is possible we will offer the high school version due to high demand from the larger Newton community. To volunteer for this opportunity, you will have to participate in a training that specifically prepares you for this and we will need to have three more volunteers trained.

Middle School Programs: We will be offering many opportunities for our middle school youth to spend time together and enjoy social connections and participate in justice work, they will spend time learning about the biblical stories through the wisdom of the women who lived them, and spending time in worship at FUUSN, visiting other congregations, and taking special trips to a variety of historical sites in Boston and surrounding areas like King’s Chapel in Boston or Walden Pond. This will not require special training but we could use four volunteers to lead field trips and chaperone social connections and justice work.

High School Programs: Our high school youth will continue to have paid opportunities to support our programming on Sunday morning and beyond, they will provide leadership and guidance to our middle schoolers who participate in justice projects like the Valentine’s Day Meal for our unhoused neighbors in Waltham, and they will have their own opportunities for social connection and learning. This will not require special training but we could use three volunteers to chaperone social connections and justice work.

All8 Arts Workshop: Once a month between October through May for two hours, youth in 7th grade and older together and adults can gather to participate in an exploration of all eight principles through photography, creative writing, fine art, collage, digital art, and sculpting. This will not require special training but we could use two volunteers to facilitate the eight sessions, each of which have very clear session plans with instructions for space setup and materials as well as discussion questions.

Spirit Spark: We will offer four workshops for youth and adults after worship next year that explores the theme of the month through spoken word and poetry under the direction of a Unitarian Universalist named Regie O’Hare Gibson, who is a member of First Parish in Lexington and is a world renowned spoken word artist and poet. I worked with him when I served First Parish in Waltham and truly enjoyed his presence, and I look forward to introducing him to this congregation. You can see an introduction video of him to the Waltham congregation here. This offering does not require volunteers but knowing that there will be a buddy for the youth participants would be helpful.

Stay tuned because I will be sharing more information soon and we will begin recruiting volunteers, too. If any of these programs sound particularly interesting to you and you might like to volunteer for them, do let me know!