Parents and guardians seek a spiritual home that cherishes their children while providing a safe place for them to explore and grow their beliefs and values. Unitarian Universalism encourages questioning and thinking broadly about faith and spirituality. Here at Heritage, our goal is for our children and youth to deeply feel that Heritage is their church — here they are loved and respected.
On Sunday mornings, our children typically join their caregivers in the sanctuary for the opening elements of worship, and later may adjourn with their teachers for their religious exploration gatherings. Children are always welcome to stay with their caregivers through the adult worship service.
During the church year (September through mid-June) religious exploration will have several modes depending upon the Sunday. Children experience whole church worship at least one Sunday each month. On another Sunday, we have Chalice Chapel, a special worship service just for children and youth. Additional Sundays are devoted to hands-on social action projects and experiential learning sessions about various spiritual practices. For more information, contact our Assistant Minister for Religious Exploration, the Reverend Leslie Woodward.
Babies and toddlers (age two and under) are welcomed in our Nursery, under the care of two paid childcare providers. This bright and cheerful space offers a fun, safe, and social environment for imaginative play. A changing table is provided as well as toileting facilities sized for toddlers. Nursing mothers are also welcome.
Religious Exploration for Youth
Older children benefit from having a group of peers that understands that spirituality is a process and that faith is a journey, not a destination. Youth at Heritage will find a safe place to develop their own sense of identity, explore their emerging values, and learn what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist in a diverse, ever-changing world.
Our junior high youth (grades six through eight) meet every Sunday morning. They begin in the Sanctuary with their caregivers then adjourn to the Youth Room for discussions, activities, and fun. Typically their adult leaders will use one of the Tapestry of Faith curricula or other UU lesson plans designed specifically for junior high youth. Junior high students may also participate in service learning, take special field trips, and attend youth conferences (CONS) at other UU congregations.
Senior high youth (grades nine through twelve) typically meet twice each month from noon to 2 p.m. Meetings usually start with food and conversation in the Heritage kitchen before moving to the Youth Room for activities and discussion. Community building is nurtured through social outings such as movie nights or laser tag as well as community service opportunities. Many youth also participate in youth conferences (CONS) and leadership training typically held at regional UU congregations.
Special Programs for Children and Youth
During the summer (mid-June through August) our Sunday religious exploration program is more casual, combining age groups and offering theme-based activities that might include cooking, outdoor explorations, crafts and more. Recent summers have included stories from Dr. Seuss and Hogwarts School of UU Wisdom and Wizardry.
RE Community Days
Several times during the church year, our religious exploration programming schedules RE Community Days to provide opportunities for children of all ages to socialize, play, and learn together. Often (though not always) Community Days are scheduled when we anticipate low attendance at church, such as during school breaks. Past Community Days include Pajama Day, Take-Apart Day, Standing on the Side of Love activities, and celebrations marking the end of the church year.
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a series of sexuality education curricula. Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.
For more information on how the Our Whole Lives program is implemented at Heritage Church, contact Rev. Leslie Woodward.
Rainbow Discovery — Celebrating the Age of Reason
The Rainbow Discovery program provides a formal religious rite of passage for children in the primary grades to honor and celebrate their growing up and passage into the “age of reason” where they are now ready to begin searching for their own religious path. You can learn more about Rainbow Discovery.
Religious Exploration for Adults
Exploring religious truth, meaning and experience is central to Unitarian Universalist faith. In communities and as individuals we seek lives of meaning anchored by values. We want to deepen in spirit and nurture our souls; we strive to contribute to and shape the wider world for the greater good. We recognize that we are part of an interdependent web of life. We also recognize that living our values in the world takes an understanding of ways to bring about social justice. To these ends, various groups and individuals at Heritage provide a wide variety of classes, workshops, discussions and activities. You can find these among the Events and Meetings of Heritage,