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.”
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 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/.
Our Middle and High School students will begin the year using the Connect, a two year Bible Overview tailored just for the teen years which combines quirky humor with solid theology. We are beginning the year discussing Jesus’s Ministry. In the winter and spring, youth will use The Thoughtful Christian curriculum. Through activities and discussions, youth will be engaged in conversations about social justice, hunger, and issues surrounding teen doubts and fears. Both curriculums are tailored just for youth and encourages them to ask questions and make sense of the Bible. More information can be found at http://wearesparkhouse.org/kids/connect/ and www.thethoughtfulchristian.com.
Confirmation/Exploring our Faith
Our next confirmation class will begin in the fall of 2016.
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 weekday 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 team works closely with the church’s Mission team 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. Faith and service opportunities this fall include:
- Apple picking for the Newton Food Pantry
- Common Cathedral meal preparation and Worship on October 18th
- Heifer International Excursion and Overnight on Nov. 7-8th for our middle and high schoolers
Please see Children and Youth Ministries Director, Karen Salides for more information on these and other opportunities at Karen@ucw.org.
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 a.m. 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 several times during the year.
Youth Group for kids in grades 6 and higher, provides an accepting, comfortable and fun environment where kids have opportunities to experience God in conversations, games, sports, service, food, music and worship. Where they can form connections and journey together.
BTween Friendship Group
BTween provides an accepting, comfortable and fun environment where 4th-5th graders have the opportunity for worship, spiritual bonding, food and fun. We meet periodically throughout the year.