Our Children, Our Faith
“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
Isaiah LIV, 13
It begins with “wondering” What does God look like? Why do we die? Was Jesus a real person? Where is heaven? Children ask a lot of questions, many of them spiritual questions. They seem to know intuitively that there is a sacred dimension to their lives. 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.”
Responding to the wonder and mysteries of creation and the presence of God begins in childhood and, one hopes, continues for a lifetime. At Union Church, we strive to provide a comfortable environment which lends itself to asking questions and seeking answers openly and honestly. We nurture a sense of being at home so that our children might feel at home in church as adults. One of the ways we do this is by asking members of the congregation to volunteer as Sunday school teachers. It is an enriching experience for both children and adults.
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.
Our PreK through 5th grade Church School classes use The Whole People of God, 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. More information on this curriculum can be found at www.wholepeopleofgod.com.
Our Junior High class, called Faith Seekers, uses “Connect: Life and Faith for Young Teens.” This is a topical, activity based program with short units of 3 to 5 weeks. Topics are a mix of current events, junior high life issues and faith questions. We take the kids’ lives and concerns as a starting point and help them make connections to faith.
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, and making and delivering Valentine 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. In addition to lots of play time, a short story, song and craft time is also offered.
Our church school classes are:
Noah’s Ark K – 1st Grade Muse Room
Faithful Friends 2nd & 3rd Grades Littlehale Room
Disciples 4th – 5th Grades Meeting Room
Faith Seekers Middle Schoolers CE Office
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.
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 Littlehale Room. We enjoy our Children’s Choir in worship five – six times during the year.
Middle School and Senior High youth are invited to our youth group which meets twice a month, once on a Friday night from 6:00 – 8:00pm and once on a Sunday afternoon from 4:00-5:30pm. See the website calendar for the schedule of meetings. UCW kids and their friends are welcome! Youth Group provides an accepting, comfortable and fun environment where kids have opportunities to experience God in conversations, games, sports, service, food, music and worship.
First Fridays is our new faith and fellowship group for our 4th-5th graders and their friends. Starting in October, we meet at church one Friday a month from 6:00p to 8:00pm After beginning with pizza, we take time for community building, leadership development and faith sharing. Action and games are a big part of our time together.
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