Exploring Our Faith

Exploring Our Faith

Exploring Our Faith (9th & 10th Graders): Every other year, high schoolers are invited to participate in our Exploring Our Faith program, where they connect with one another and mentors, discuss the stories and questions of our faith, and explore how faith may be relevant and lived out in their lives today. At the end of the year, some may choose confirmation or baptism.

Through our Exploring Our Faith Program, we hope to create a welcoming and supportive space, accompanied by caring adults and peers, where 9th and 10th graders may: 

  • Grow in their relationships with and curiosity about God and faith; and explore God’s presence and relevance in their lives as they begin to develop a sense of their own faith and spirituality as young adults. 
  • Begin to discern and articulate where God may be calling them, and what role God and their faith might play in the day-to-day rhythms of their lives; in decision-making; in joy, struggle or sadness; and as they engage with the world. 
  • Share Spiritual Practices and build our capacity to find God’s peace, centeredness, strength, and love in our days and lives.  
  • Explore Christian scripture and tradition; wrestle with issues, topics and questions related to the history and practice of Christianity; and begin to claim their own place and voice within (or perhaps outside of) the Christian landscape.  
  • Explore their role, voice, and leadership in and through the church community, and consider how they may feel called to serve, share their gifts, and connect with the Union Church, and the world-wide church, in the future including, but not necessarily, through baptism, confirmation and church membership. 

Each Exploring Our Faith Year Includes:

  1. Fall and Spring Day or Overnight Retreats
  1. Monthly Gatherings – Where We Wrestle with Big Questions, and Explore Spiritual Practices
    During these gatherings, we delve into topics of our faith, guided by a list of questions the teens create.      
  1. Mentors
    Students are paired with mentors – caring adults in the community who walk with the youth and are available to explore questions, and share their own faith as co-explorers on the journey. 
  1. Exploring Our Gifts Opportunities 
    Students work with our pastors to share their gifts, and explore their voice and leadership within and through our church community. 
  1. Serving, Learning, and Building Relationships Across Differences  
    • Each month the teens either visit a different faith community or or engage in meaningful service-learning.
    • JUNE SERVICE-LEARNING TRIP:  This annual trip takes place at the end of the school year, and is a week-long trip is an opportunity to build relationships across differences, explore issues of injustice or other challenges in our country, and serve others. Recent trips have included serving with the Appalachia Service Project, and Deep Roots at Clairvaux Farms (a sanctuary for families experiencing homelessness in rural Maryland) .
  1. Faith Story/Rule of Life & Capstone Pentecost Worship 
    • Explorers prepare a written reflection based on their journey and goals that will be shared in worship on Pentecost. During this service, students who chose to do so may also be confirmed, baptized, welcomed as church members and/or affirmed in their continued faith journey.