Our congregation has always been a congregation that is welcoming to all ages – all generations are valued here!

As a small congregation we are continuing to learn how to best support the faith formation of everyone from our youngest to our oldest members. The children’s Sunday School model of the last century is no longer considered relevant to many of today’s families. Parents and children are both often overbooked and time on Sundays is precious time to spend together as a family.

There may be many demands on families in our modern society – increased involvement in school and homework, single parents who fulfill multiple roles in the family, caring for aging parents as well as children, combining more than one faith in a family, two working parents with full-time jobs, and others. Parents often do want a religious or spiritual experience for their children, but struggle with how to provide this as part of their busy lives.

What does UUCRV provide to support the spiritual development of children and their families?

We acknowledge that parents are their children’s primary spiritual teachers, but understand that you might want support in fulfilling that role with your children. Some of the supports we have put in place are:

Multi-generational Worship Services – Children and youth participate in the Worship Service in the Sanctuary with their parents. Multi-generational worship services have been found to support youth involvement as they feel more connected to the congregation as a whole. Our services typically include lots of music and children and youth are encouraged to sing along. Children and youth may be asked to be active participants in the service such as lighting the chalice or sharing a brief reading. A Story for All Ages might also be included in the form of an oral story or a picture book. Children and youth can participate in drawing and writing activities related to our UU Principles and Sources to help them stay focused during the message. Very young children are invited to interact with quiet learning materials located at the back of the Sanctuary.

Space and materials for use by children and youth – During our Fellowship time following the Worship Service, children and youth can make use of the rooms and materials that have been organized specifically for them. One room is set up for the youngest, ages birth to 3, with materials that are safe and appropriate for their developmental stage. A second room can be enjoyed by preschoolers and early elementary children with materials that reflect our Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources. A third room is provided for youth to explore their spirituality through the arts, science or writing with additional projects led by adults provided at times. These rooms are all within sight of the space used for Fellowship so parents can be with or near their children at all times.

Resources for children and parents in our church library – There are books in our church library to support both children and parents. Books are from the UUA Bookstore as well as other sources. If we don’t have a copy of a certain book in our library, let us know of your interest and we will order it if possible and make it available for borrowing.

UU Parents and Caregivers Facebook Group – Ideas are posted on this Facebook Group page regularly including resources specific to UU holidays, suggestions on how to talk to children about difficult topics, books that you might like to read with your children related to our UU values, links to free on-line children’s magazines, parenting tips and advice from trusted sources, ideas for celebrating holidays from different world religions, and words of inspiration. Links to songs that we might sing in the service are provided so that families can sing the hymns together before and after the service.

Copies of the book Welcome from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) with our Principles and Sources along with readings and quotations you can share as a family.

Service projects that families can work on together, such as our Food Pantry Garden and Butterfly Garden or the Great American Clean Up.

Social events appropriate for families, including picnics, campfire sing-alongs, and game nights.