Faith Development for Children, Youth, and Families

childrens_storyFamily Ministry is an approach to faith development that recognizes that parents, grandparents and caregivers are the primary religious educators for their children, and our is an intentional community of all ages. 

Family Ministry includes families throughout congregational life.

Our congregation seeks to provide opportunities and resources for practicing our faith as families, in the congregation and at home.  Here, people of all ages worship together, learn together, serve together, and connect.  At-home resources and opportunities for action in the community bring our faith into our daily lives and foster connection with each other and the world.

Registration is required for all participating children and youth.  Forms are available here, or contact the Director of Family Ministry, Pratik Mamtora, at dfm@uubinghamton.org.

 

Sunday Morning Programming

 

Our  calendar includes three different formats for Sundays mornings:

  • One service and classes at 10:30am, and youth group at 11:15.  Young people are always welcome in the worship services.  Programming at 10am for preK-grade 5 consists of a worship experience (with the whole congregation in the sanctuary or in children’s chapel), followed by classroom time following specific age appropriate curricula.  Grades 6-8 meet in their groups for the full 75 minutes.  Childcare is available 9:45-11:45 for age 6mo – 5 years.  

    Our curricular themes address our Unitarian Universalist Identity and History, World Religions including our Jewish and Christian Heritage, and Ethics and Social Justice.  All of our classes are taught from a liberal religious perspective, reflecting our Unitarian Universalist values and principles, regardless of the theme or topic.   

     

  • Whole-Congregation worship service at 10:30am.  On certain Sundays, the worship services are intentionally designed with all ages in mind.  Childcare for the youngest is provided, but no classes are offered on these Sundays; children and youth are encouraged to attend a service with their families.

 

  • First Sundays (“1st hour / 2nd hour”).  One Sunday a month (generally the first Sunday), there is one worship service at 10am, followed by workshops for all ages at 11:15.  Many workshops have a social action focus; at other times workshops may follow the monthly theme.   

Watch the calendar and check the whiteboard when you arrive on Sunday for more information about the schedule that morning.

 

Other Opportunities for Children, Youth and Families

 

Social events for all ages (and with an intentional appeal for young people include the Halloween Party and Holiday Craft Workshop.  Watch for information about these and other events.

In addition, we’re offering some new opportunities for parents, guardians and caregivers, including:

Faith Development Connection –  This regular email provides stories, readings and ideas for at-home exploration of the monthly themes, for individuals and families.  Here are the ones that Ann Kadlecek provided for the 2017-18 church year.

Tending the Flame – Explore the joys and challenges of UU Parenting in the modern world with other parents in this monthly group gathering.  Short readings are taken from Tending the Flame, by Michelle Richards. 

Anti-racism Program for Families – On October 4, during “second hour,” there will be a workshop for parents and children to introduce materials for exploring white supremacy and systemic racism in our world.  We may explore these materials together in further workshops; or parents can work with their children on their own. 

Other special programs are scheduled as needed, or alternating years.

 

Tips to Make Programs More Fun!

  • Attend regularly. Consistent attendance allows your child the opportunity to develop friendships, become better acquainted with the teachers, and develop continuity and increased understanding of the material. Parents who possess an attitude of cheerful expectancy about weekly church attendance have less difficulty keeping children involved.  On Sundays without classes, share your worship and workshop experience with your children.
  • Dress for active participation. Our classes and workshops are creative, active places with glue, paint, games, etc.
  • Familiarize yourself with the regular activities of the classes. Talk with your child and the teachers about the activities in the class. Keep informed through the newsletter, and participate in church events together.
  • Share your own religious beliefs with your children. We encourage you to learn along with your child as you take a spiritual journey together. Support and encourage your child, wherever he/she is on the religious journey. Recognize that your child’s religious needs may differ from your own. Many children have a need for ritual, structure, and definitive answers to difficult questions. Seek out the answers and support you need. Although you are your children’s primary religious educator, you are not alone!
  • Share some of your time and talents. Parental involvement is a key ingredient to your child’s positive experience at church and the success of our program. When you are connected and having fun, so will your child.
  • Always feel free to call the teacher, DFM, minister, or committee member with your questions, comments, or concerns.

Committee

Our faith development program is a cooperative one, taught by volunteers from within our UUCB community. Programs are developed and directed by the Family Ministry Team in conjunction with the Director of Family Ministry.  Committee meetings are held quarterly.  Parents and other church members are invited to attend. 

For questions: contact the Director of Family Ministry, Pratik Mamtora, at dfm@uubinghamton.org.