Welcome to our Religious Education Program. Here at the Fellowship, we are passionate about providing quality programming and educational experiences for all of our young people. We strive to support and enhance whole child development; to nurture the growth of our young people in areas that are not addressed in our public school systems. We seek to cultivate a sense of wonder and reverence for the gifts of life, to nurture a deeper understanding of those things that go beyond words and to foster a deep sense of sense of social responsibility. Our RE program encourages the use of critical thinking skills to help our young people create an understanding of their place in the world.
With over 200 children involved in programming each year, we work hard to create a culture of connectedness and belonging. We are a big church program with a small church “feel.” We continually endeavor to cultivate a sense of belonging and community; a community where people of all ages are recognized for their unique contributions and gifts to the larger whole.
We believe that the educational experiences we provide at the Fellowship will enrich the lives of our young people; that the tools and skills that they acquire here will set a pattern of lifelong learning and spiritual growth. It is our desire that the lessons learned in our classrooms will not only cultivate individual growth, but that the education provided here will ultimately contribute to the good of the larger world community.
It is a pleasure and privilege to work with the children of the Fellowship. We look forward to working with you and your family!
Director of Religious Education
The Fellowship’s Religious Education program…
- Offers liberal religious education for children and youth that promotes welcoming, anti-racist and anti-oppression values
- teaches our children and youth about their UU identity, and to question and find their own spiritual path
- increases awareness regarding issues of social responsibility
- provides an emotionally and physically safe, secure and nurturing environment
Religious Education Program Sunday offerings:
- nursery care for all services
- Religious Education classes for pre-Kindergarten to fifth grade during 9:00 Sunday service
- Religious Education classes for pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade during the Sunday 10:45 service
Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Mission Statement:
The mission our religious education program is to grow a community of compassionate young people by:
- Maintaining a safe, welcoming, and developmentally appropriate environment
- Fostering caring relationships
- Exposing them to diverse voices and religious traditions
- Engaging them in critical thinking about values in their world
- Offering opportunities for meaningful social justice work
Religious Education Philosophy and Goals
In our belief that Religious Education is a lifelong process we seek to provide programming for all age groups. We also strive to appeal to the interests and concerns of our diverse congregation. Our programming for youth is based on the assumption that young people receive their primary religious education in the home. Our efforts are in support of families who are raising their children with respect for liberal religious values.
We endeavor to provide an educational ministry to our program participants that will enable each person to:
- Feel loved and supported as part of a concerned religious community
- Develop a positive self-image
- Form a Unitarian Universalist identity by learning about our values, heritage, traditions, symbols, and celebrations
- Explore the spiritual wisdom of the world’s greatest religious traditions
- Cultivate life skills of creative and non-violent problem solving, the ability to question and think for oneself, an attitude of responsibility for one’s choices, and the self-confidence and desire necessary to interact socially to create a better world
- Celebrate diversity
- Affirm our interdependence with the universe and our responsibility to cherish and care for the earth
- Experience the lifelong joy of growth in religious understanding.
We look to the sources of the living tradition to inform our choices in curricula and other materials.
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
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love
- 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 love in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Wellspring Childcare and Special Event Policy
Children must be registered at least one week in advance for childcare for events such as Wellspring, all-congregation meetings, etc. A minimum of four children must be registered in order for childcare to be provided.
Program Year Information
Staffed child care is provided for young children in our dedicated nursery during every worship service. Parents are asked to bring their well infant or toddler to the nursery several minutes before the beginning of a scheduled worship. We endeavor to provide young children with a warm, accepting, and safe space in which to become acquainted with our faith community. Every effort is made to assure that children are content and engaged during the time their parents are in worship. Parents will be notified if their presence is needed for the welfare of their child by a pager system.
Pre-K/K: Chalice Children (Formerly Spirit Play)
Chalice Children provides experiences and opportunities for children to grow in their sense of the strength of community, the wonder and awe that transcend everyday understanding, and life issues we share.
Through age-appropriate practice of Fellowship rituals such as the Sharing of Joys and Concerns and holding meditative silence, young people engage in spiritual seeking, develop openness to sharing, experience the benefit of a supportive community and set a pattern for life.
Chalice Children clusters its goals for young children around the “three A’s” of affection, acceptance, and achievement:
- To nurture affection and affirmation for their individuality and their sense of belonging to a Unitarian Universalist community.
- To foster acceptance, trust, and appreciation of themselves and others in their world as well as a sense of connection to nature and the universe.
- To develop self-expression, cooperative skills, and creative achievements as they learn and grow.
Chalice Children draws its’ contents from both the Chalice Children and the Celebrating Me and My World curriculums.
Grades 1 and 2: Picture Book Unitarian Universalism
The Picture Book Unitarian Universalism curriculum makes use of popular picture books as launching points from which to illustrate UU concepts and introduce learners to individuals who lives serve as inspiration for living out our faith, such as Henry David Thoreau, Maria Mitchell and Fanny Farmer.
Each story relates back to a UU Source and Principle; students spend the program year examining basic concepts of Unitarian Universalism. As they explore stories that celebrate independent thinking, the value of the individual, and the concept that everything is connected, students begin to deepen their own UU identity.
Grades 3 and 4: Toolbox of Faith and Windows and Mirrors
These action-oriented curriculums continue to nurture and help develop student’s understanding of their faith.
Students begin the program year with Toolbox of Faith, a curriculum that invites participants to reflect on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own faith.
The spring curriculum, Windows and Mirrors, expands on the fall programming by guiding children in identifying and respecting their own values, views and needs as well as those of others. The lessons in this course provide children with practice in observation, interpretation and critical thinking, and help to develop children’s empathy, open-mindedness and respect for differences.
Grades five and six: Riddle and Mystery and Building Bridges
In Riddle and Mystery, (fall programming) students explore Unitarian Universalist answers to Big Theological Questions while encouraging participants to ask questions and find their own answers. Learners engage in reflection on such theological questions as, “What is religion?” “How does religion helps us make meaning of life?” “Is there a god?” “What happens when we die?” “How do I know what is Truth?”and “Do I have a soul?”
Spring programming is adapted from the Building Bridges curriculum, and seeks to offer a deeper understanding the major religions of the world. This course acts as introduction to the Neighboring Faiths class.
Grades seven and eight: Neighboring Faiths (10:45 on Sundays)
The Neighboring Faiths curriculum introduces youth in grades 7 and 8 to the faith traditions and practices of other religious groups in their community. The 2017-2018 curriculum will explore eastern philosophy and religions. Students will participate in three to four field trips to various houses of worship in the Appleton area including a mosque, and both the Hindu and Sikh temples. This course helps to strengthen community among the youth as well as their own Unitarian Universalist identity.
Grades nine through twelve: Breakfast Club (10:45 on Sundays)
The second year offering of this newly created opportunity for high school students will welcome them to meet in community during the 10:45 service. As this program continues to develop, 9th through 12th grade students are invited to join together for light breakfast foods, engage in lively UU based discussion, and continue to develop their growing UU identity. This year’s programming hopes to connect our youth with other members from the Fellowship community towards creating stronger connections between the generations.
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