Our Children, Our Faith
“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
The Christian Education program at the Union Church in Waban tries to provide children with the words and means to name that spiritual experience, to recognize it, and to learn how that experience can shape, direct, and enrich their lives. Through Bible stories, art projects, drama and music, formal and informal gatherings, holiday events, and community service, the children of Union Church learn not only what it means to be good but to do good.As an interdenominational church affiliated with the United Church of Christ, our congregation includes members raised in a variety of religious traditions; a significant number of our members are committed to interfaith marriages and partnerships. What this spiritual diversity means for our children is that while they experience a primarily Christian liberal theology, they learn to appreciate and respect other ways of “naming” the sacred. The children grow in relation to God using the rich resources of our familiar traditions while remaining open to the wisdom of other faiths. Science can tell us the “how” of creation; we seek to help our children explore the “why.”
C.E. Registration 2013/2014
It’s time to register for the 2013/2014 school year. Please go here to download and print the registration form.
The Christian Education program at the Union Church in Waban strives to:
• Nourish the spiritual life of children and youth;
• Teach them about Scripture and the Christian tradition;
• Provide them with opportunities for caring fellowship;
• Expose them to outreach and mission projects so that they may grow
in care and commitment to neighbor and to all creation.
Sunday Morning Church School
On Sunday mornings, school-aged children join the whole congregation in worship through the Time for Children, then leave for Sunday School classes. We have classes for kids pre-school aged through high school grouped together as follows:
PreK – 1st grades
2nd – 3rd grades
4th -5th grades
6th grade and up
Our PreK through 3rd grade Church School classes use Spark, an ecumenical, inclusive, and lectionary-based curriculum which provides common ground between what happens in worship and what happens in the Church School classrooms, thereby furthering the intergenerational nature of our church. Each week kids and their teachers gather together to explore their Bibles, enjoy fun activities, and pray. Classes meet our kids where they’re at and encourage their questions and ideas. More information on this curriculum can be found at http://wearesparkhouse.org/kids/spark/lectionary/.
Our 4th-5th graders use Connect, a two year Bible survey tailored just for the tween years which combines quirky humor with solid theology. We are beginning our first year by looking at the Hebrew Bible. During class, kids watch a witty video, explore Biblical text, and create projects that range from games to art to more. Classes encourage kids to ask questions, make connections and reflect. More information can be found at http://wearesparkhouse.org/kids/connect/.
Middle and High School students began this year with a survey of world religions (Islam, Hinduism, Budhism and Judaism, as well as an exploration of the differences between different Christian denominations. Sessions included guest speakers from other faith institutions. During Advent the class will studied the Christmas story, thinking about how to read the Bible from an historical-metaphorical vantage, and asking what this story might say about social justice. Input from the class will be incorporated into this year’s Christmas pageant. This winter, the class is focusing on justice and food issues as preparation for hosting a ‘hunger feast’ for the congregation during Lent. The class will also spend time learning about our church’s bi-annual mission trip to Nicaragua, a trip in which many of the youth participate. Finally, the youth will end the year by choosing class topics on issues they face, such as communication with parents, the problem of evil, bullying, etc.
On most Sundays, children begin in worship with their families, then move to church school classes at the conclusion of the children’s message. On the first Sunday of each month, children return to worship to join in Communion. On those Sundays, in between the children’s message and Communion, all children gather together for a time of singing, movement and story.
Faith and Service
Throughout the year, a variety of fellowship, worship and service activities allow our children and youth to participate in the life of faith-filled community and to enrich their spiritual development. Sunday school classes and special week day events regularly incorporate service activities. In the past, such activities have included: making apple crisp for reception, surprise windshield washing, sorting donations for Cradles to Crayons, decorating Christmas cookies for the Newton Food Pantry, spearheading donation drives for various causes, raising money for our sister community in Nicaragua, worshipping alongside un-housed people and making sandwiches to distribute to them, and making and delivering holiday gifts for the residents and staff of the Waban Health Center. The Christian Education Committee works closely with the church’s Mission Committee to include children and youth in our church’s outreach, whether that be in Newton, Boston or in our sister communities in Nicaragua and Zambia.
Infants and toddlers up to age four may attend the morning worship service with their parents, or go to our Nursery where they are supervised by professional staff. The nursery is located downstairs in the Rainbow Room and is open Sundays from 9:45 am until the conclusion of worship.
One Room Church School
On various special Sundays throughout the year all children attend a One Room Church School rather than their regular classes. Children will help lead and participate in specially-designed children’s worship, then play games meant to foster intergenerational community, while learning about our faith traditions.
Music Director Bill Merrill rehearses with our Children’s Choir every Sunday after Church School in the Sanctuary. We enjoy our Children’s Choir in worship five – six times during the year.
Youth Group, for kids in grades 6 and higher and their friends, provides an accepting, comfortable and fun environment where kids have opportunities to experience God in conversations, games, sports, service, food, music and worship. This past fall, we spent a weekend at the Heifer International Farm in Rutland, MA living in the ‘global village’, and experiencing the challenges of subsistence living. Our 7th -9th graders are beginning to prepare for a year of Confirmation starting in Fall 2014. Accordingly, they are invited to two dinners with Rev. Stacy Swain and Kathy Malone (Director, Youth and Children’s Ministries) at Stacy’s house:
Sunday, March 9, 6:00 pm
Sunday, May 18, 6:00 pm
bTween Friendship Group for 4th-5th Graders
bTween is our faith and fellowship time for our 4th-5th graders and their friends. We have three meetings planned for the Winter/Spring:
Friday, February 28, 5 – 7 pm
Theme: Group Identity Building:
pizza, games, design your own t-shirt
Friday, April 11, 5 – 7 pm
Theme: Service to others
Pizza, games, letter writing for troops
Friday, May 16 – tentative
The group will decide on a field trip – SkyZone? Laser Tag? Bowling?