Our community at First UU is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and progressive environment for individuals of all ages. Explore, learn, and grow with our Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Program.
Join us every Sunday at 10:00 for our Whole Worship experience. We understand the importance of age-inclusive spaces where people of all generations can come together and form meaningful connections. In our sanctuary, you’ll find cozy rugs and a variety of quiet, multi-sensory toys and fidget items. Participants of all ages are invited to engage in activities, including coloring sheets and Soul Work, relevant to the monthly Soul Matters theme. Our Sunday Services team strives to design engaging and stimulating services that cater to the diverse needs of all ages.
We incorporate hymns that allow young bodies a chance to stretch and we incorporate storybooks that support the message on large screens during the service. Children actively participate in Joys and Concerns by dropping stones, fostering a sense of belonging and involvement.
There are two additional spaces in the building with live video and audio of the service. The Wiggle Room just downstairs from the sanctuary offers an area to move and stretch without missing out on the service. Children not yet in Kindergarten also have the option of staying in the Wiggle Room supported by trained staff if the sanctuary space doesn’t fit their needs. All service participants also have access to the Channing Room where audio and video from the service is available just outside the sanctuary if you would like a less stimulating space and the service is available via Zoom and Facebook Livestreams if you choose.
Whole Worship meets the changing needs of families and the understanding that the previous models of Faith Formation no longer meet the needs or address the cultural stressors facing families today. It also centers on the words of Religious Educator Connie Goodbread who said “Everything we do is Faith Formation. Everything we teach is Unitarian Universalism. The Congregation is the Curriculum.” We understand that children learn best through modeling. It is by being together in a community and embodying our shared values together we give them the tools they need to be able to grow into adults who know how to engage with and participate in the world with a center in this faith community.
One of the benefits of Whole Worship is that the children and youth are inherently part of the community. There is less need to create makeshift service projects or find ways to let the children and adults of the congregation get to know each other in structured ways because the relationships are formed in the space organically. Youth hang out at the potluck and help set up tables and chairs. Children walk up and greet the older members of the congregation on Sunday morning. It is through these relationships that the church is made.
Sunday Morning Faith Formation:
After the service, join us for coffee and snacks in the kitchen adjacent to the Sanctuary. Our interactive Faith Formation opportunities continue with a one-room schoolhouse approach downstairs. Children are encouraged to bring their snacks from upstairs and engage in a lesson related to the service or the Soul Matters theme. This is the time where the classic “Sunday School” style crafts and activities come out! Weather permitting, outdoor activities and play take place in our spacious greenspace area. Please be sure we have a current information form on file for your child.
Adults have the option to stay with their children or check them into the downstairs program before joining the Adult Faith Formation offering. These include rotating discussions, talkbacks from the service, and Soup and Social Action talks in the sanctuary. On the 1st Sunday of each month, we host an intergenerational potluck, fostering community connections.
Beyond Sunday Morning
Our commitment to lifelong learning extends beyond Sunday mornings. Throughout the year, we provide a diverse range of faith formation opportunities for individuals of all ages, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
Soul Matters Small Groups:
One of our most popular Adult Faith Formation options is the Soul Matters small groups. These intimate covenanted groups, consisting of 4-8 individuals, form each fall and meet monthly to embark on personalized journeys using the Soul Matters materials. If you’re eager to deepen your spiritual exploration and build meaningful connections, registration for the Fall 2023 group formation is now open. Soul Matters does not meet in July or August.
Our youth group gathers on the 3rd Saturday of each month in the sanctuary. Our youth participants engage in various activities from board game nights and playlist-making parties to collaborative art projects and screenings of thought-provoking films, there’s always something exciting on the agenda. Plus, snacks are a constant feature! From September to June we follow the Soul Matters On The Road Together packets with summer months being just fun and games and socialization with youth from families of similar faith. If you’d like to learn more about how your youth can join this group, feel free to email AJ Fox, the Director of Religious Education, at email@example.com for additional details.
We understand the importance of supporting parents and caregivers on their spiritual journeys as they navigate the joys and challenges of raising children and adolescents. Soulful Home offers a warm and nurturing space for parents and caregivers to come together, following the Soul Matters Soulful Home packet. During our meetings, we delve into the enriching content of the “Front Porch” section of each packet. As a registered participant, you’ll receive a monthly Soulful Home packet filled with engaging discussion prompts, heartwarming stories, meaningful activities, and valuable support to foster an environment centered around our shared values in your home. We also understand, however, that lives get busy. Your presence at our monthly meeting is gratefully accepted regardless of how far your family got in the packet over the last month. Soulful Home meets year round with some meeting Sundays changed slightly for holidays. Registration for the Fall 2023 series is now open.
Holidays and Special Events:
Throughout the year, we offer an ongoing variety of activities and events that honor culturally celebrated holidays from various faith traditions. From the festive celebrations of Solstice and Christmas to the annual parking lot TrUUnk or Treat festivities, our community comes together to share in the joy of these occasions. Additionally, we embrace cherished Unitarian Universalist rituals, such as the Flower Communion, where we exchange flowers as symbols of our interconnectedness, and the Water Communion, where we blend water from various sources as a representation of unity in our shared values. These meaningful events offer opportunities for fellowship, learning, and spiritual growth. Please check the First UU Church Calendar for information on upcoming activities.
At First UU, we believe that spiritual growth is a continuous journey, and we warmly invite you to be a part of our age-inclusive and vibrant community. Come and explore your faith, engage in meaningful connections, and discover the richness of our Lifespan Faith Formation program.
If you have questions about Whole Worship, our Faith Formation program, or have ways that we can better meet your needs please reach out to Director of Religious Education AJ Fox at DRE@SpringfieldUU.org.