Children and Youth Religious Education

Join us on a lifelong journey to deepen our connections to the sacred.

While our building is closed, our church is open! Our weekly newsletter, the RelEd Times, will continue to come out on Wednesdays, weekly lessons you can do at home will appear on this page, and we’ll share videos of Children’s Chapel and other activities. Check back regularly.

Weekly Lesson Plans

The worship theme for April is “Liberation.”

Freedom to accept help, liberty bells, and more

All By Myself

Monthly Theme: “Liberation.” As young children develop, they often want to do things for themselves. In this story, a baby elephant won’t let the other animals help her reach the high leaves she wants on the tree. She learns that sometimes we have to accept help to accomplish our goals.

Chalice Lighting: Gather in a circle and give each participant a battery-operated candle or light a chalice/candle. (Or make a Flannel Chalice Board & Flames. See instructions under “Other resources” on this webpage) Say the following words:

We light this chalice to celebrate Unitarian Universalism (make “U” shapes with thumb and pointer finger),This is the church of the open minds (fingers to head), Loving hearts (hands over heart), And helping hands (hands out palms up)

Introduction: Today we’re going to hear a story about a little elephant who wants to do things by herself, without anyone’s help. Are there things you like to do for yourself (eat, get dressed, carry things …)? Talk about things that you like to do for yourself too (like cooking, organizing, driving …).

Story: Read or watch “All By Myself.”

Follow Up Activities:

  1. Make an elephant face by gluing ears and trunk on to the back of half of a paper plate (or use cardboard cut in that shape). Color the plate/cardboard and pieces first. Attach a tongue depressor (pencil, plasticware, layered cardboard from a cereal or other box) for holding up to face. Cut eye holes. Or glue/tape on eyes on the plate. Sample and mask pieces here.
  2. Act out the animals in the story (elephants, lions, birds, snakes).
  3. Go outside and act out the story using a tree if one is available.
  4. Coloring pages of elephants.

Exploring April’s monthly theme, “Liberation”

This is a “Story for All Ages” Sunday. You can begin by watching the story in the recorded Sunday Worship, or read it in the worship service transcript.

If you choose, begin by lighting a chalice or candle. Use the following words or others you like (you’ll find other chalice lighting words and video on this webpage).

Call: “We light this chalice for our Unitarian Universalist spirit growing, justice seeking community.”

Response: “I am a living member of the great family of All Souls.”

Optional Beginning Ritual: (Videos on this webpage)

  • Calling Out Names
  • Spirit of Life

Introduction/Discussion: The All Souls theme for March is, “Liberation.”

  1. How would you describe liberation? (getting free from being treated unfairly, to raise to equal rights and status, to free from restraint, freedom from limits)
  2. In the story of “The Bell of Atri”, who was liberated and how?
  3. Is there ever a situation where liberation wouldn’t be a good idea? (freeing a zoo animal, not buckling up in a car…)
  4. If we were in church, today would be a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Day. What does liberation have to do with “Choose Your Own Adventure”? (The children are really good about making connections between the monthly themes and Adventure Day. We ask this question every month.)

If you lit a chalice, extinguish chalice when the time is right for you. Use the “Blessing” (see video), or a reading to extinguish chalice. One can be found with the “Chalice Lighting Words” on webpage

Follow-Up Activities:

  1. Making a “Bell of Justice.” You will need: bottom half of a plastic bottle, plastic or paper cup, or empty soup can; foil; yarn/string/ribbon/shoelace; a way to punch a hole in the bottom of bottle/cup/can; tape or glue. Instructions: 1) cut the bottom half of the bottle or get the can or cup. 2) make two foil balls. 3) attach a string to each ball with tape. 4) put a hole in the center of the bottom of the bottle/can/cup. 5) cover sharp edge of bottle/can–for the bottle you could hold it quickly against the bottom of a warm iron, or cover with tape. 6) decorate the bottle/can with stickers, permanent marker, or glue paper/fabric. 7) insert end of strings through the center hole, so the balls are dangling down towards open end of the bottle/can/cup. 8) attach the string to the bottom of the bottle/can with tape or tie a knot. 9) Ring bell by holding bottom. 10) Decide how your family will use it. Options: Try using a larger bottle/can/cup and larger foil balls. Use more foil balls. Sample photo here.
  2. Coloring Pages
  3. Activity Pages
  4. Create 3 “Adventures.” 1) Building/Dramatic Play: Use any building materials and dress up clothes. 2) Games: Bring out board games you haven’t seen for awhile (if there are any left!) Or make up your own. 3) Gym: Turn an area of your house into a Gym or go outside. Make up a golf course using cans, pots or buckets. Make up a ball game. Make an obstacle course. Ride a scooter, bike, or skateboard through it.

Take pictures or videos of skits, games, creations. We’d love to see you on our webpage!

Please contact James Ploeser (jploeser@allsouls.ws) for information.

Curiosity about parents, curiosity about prayer, and more

Tell Me, Grandma. Tell Me, Grandpa.

Monthly Theme: “Curiosity”. As young children develop, they become curious about their parents. Making these deeper connections with those closest to us is a way to experience spirituality. In this story a young child asks her grandparents to tell her what her parents did when they were little. As she hears the tales of their antics, she can only imagine them as doing those things as though they were adults.

Chalice Lighting: Gather in a circle and give each participant a battery-operated candle or light a chalice/candle. (Or make a Flannel Chalice Board & Flames. See instructions under “Other resources” on this webpage) Say the following words:

We light this chalice to celebrate Unitarian Universalism (make “U” shapes with thumb and pointer finger),This is the church of the open minds (fingers to head), Loving hearts (hands over heart), And helping hands (hands out palms up)

Introduction: Today we’re going to hear a story about a little girl who wonders what her parents were like when they were little. She loves the funny stories that she hears from her grandparents.

Story: Read or watch “Tell Me, Grandma. Tell Me, Grandpa

Follow Up Discussions & Activities:

  1. Do you think mommy and daddy really looked like they do now, when they were little?
  2. Look at your family’s pictures of parents when they were young.
  3. Talk about some of the antics you did when you were little.
  4. If possible, call grandparents to ask questions about parents.
  5. On the activity sheet, circle all the pictures of things or activities that were mentioned in the story. Cut out the pictures and mount them on a piece of paper or cardboard to make a collage. If you don’t have cardboard, cut up a cereal, pasta or other box.
  6. Color the pictures of the grandparents and children.
Curious About Prayer and Blessing

Begin by lighting a chalice or candle. Use the following words or others you like (you’ll find other chalice lighting words and video on this webpage).

Call: “We light this chalice for our Unitarian Universalist spirit growing, justice seeking community.”

Response: “I am a living member of the great family of All Souls.”

Beginning Ritual: (Videos on this webpage)

  • Calling Out Names
  • Spirit of Life

Introduction: The All Souls theme for March is, “Curiosity.” Many of us are curious about prayer and blessing. Let’s explore some questions and thoughts.

Discussion:

  1. What is prayer? Google describes prayer as an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. It often refers to an act of request directed towards a deity or a deified ancestor. Another way to describe prayer could be a sharing of deep emotions and desires with our innermost selves and a universal power. Prayer can also be paying attention to others, focusing love and attention on others who are experiencing difficulty or pain, like in our “Calling of Names” ritual.
  2. Is praying the same as wishing really hard? For some people it is. We all have our own ideas about prayer. Others would not pray for special favors but would hope to feel in touch with the power of goodness in the universe, to gain insight into problems they face or decisions that need to be made.
  3. Do Unitarian Universalists pray? UUs use are not required to learn or recite particular prayers. Many UUs take quiet moments of prayer or meditation to sense their oneness with the whole of the universe or feel their connection with the source and spirit of life.
  4. How do people experience prayer? There are many ways and forms to focus on prayer. It could be through meditating, giving, walking, caring, art (like coloring or drawing), rituals such as our Child Dedications, music (see drumming video on this webpage), or journaling. (Today’s follow up activity will be creating a Journaling “Prayer” Book.)
  5. What is a blessing? A blessing is a beneficial thing for which one is grateful. Recognizing and feeling gratitude. Such as a blessing before a meal. We are not blessing the food: the food is a blessing that we’re grateful for. Or in our Child Dedications. We are not blessing the child; we are blessed to be welcoming that child into our Beloved Community. In the blessing we do at the end of Chapel, we are showing gratitude for being together.

Extinguish Chalice when the time is right for you. It could be before reading the conversation, or before doing the follow up activities. Use the “Blessing” (see video), or a reading to extinguish chalice. One can be found with the “Chalice Lighting Words” on this webpage.

Follow Up Activities:

  • Meditative Coloring Pages
  • Making a journal (VIDEO). In Rob’s March 22 sermon, he encouraged us to make a journal to write (or draw) about our losses and blessings. Keeping such a journal and looking back on it can be a form of prayer. If you have thoughts or prayers that are special to you or speak to you, write or draw them in there too. See Readings, Reflections, Prayers, and Blessings listed on this webpage, including the meal and bedtime prayers.

Please contact James Ploeser (jploeser@allsouls.ws) for information.

Wolf’s Chicken Stew, the Flaming Chalice, and more

Wolf’s Chicken Stew

A family of chicks is curious about where the treats that show up at their door are coming from. Intending to fatten up the chicks to make chicken stew, the wolf inadvertently forms new and curious friendships.

Chalice Lighting

Gather in a circle and give each participant a battery-operated candle or light a chalice/candle. Or make a Flannel or Felt Chalice Board & Flames (see directions on this webpage). Say the following words:

We light this chalice to celebrate Unitarian Universalism (make “U” shapes with thumb and pointer finger). This is the church of the open minds (fingers to head), loving hearts (hands over heart), and helping hands (hands out palms up).

Introduction

Today we’re going to hear a story about a wolf and a family of chicks that become friends. Do wolves and chickens usually get along? Sometimes friends happen when we least expect it.

Story

Read or watch “Wolf’s Chicken Stew” and emphasize the repetitive phrases. Each time the wolf brings the chickens a goody he says, “Eat well, my pretty chicken. Get nice and fat for my stew.” Encourage the children to say this phrase with you in a wolf voice. Let them practice the phrase several times before you read the story and tell them to say it when you point to them. 

Follow-Up Activities

Take turns hiding a chicken (stuffed animal, plastic animal, or picture) while 1 person, the Wolf, closes their eyes or steps out of room. Then, Wolf asks, “Where is that pretty chicken. I want some chicken stew.” The other players then will offer clues to help the wolf find the chicken. They can use clues like, COLD-WARM-HOT. When the chicken is found switch wolves.

Glue pictures of all the treats the wolf brought on to a strip of paper. Can you remember which he brought first? Next? (There are two pictures of each treat.) Do the/a chicken dance. Put on music and have the children dance like chickens, like chicks, and then like a wolf.

Color the wolf and chickens.

Curious About Unitarian Universalism: Our Flaming Chalice Symbol

Begin by lighting a chalice or candle. Use the following words or others you like, or see Chalice Lighting video linked on this webpage.

Call: “We light this chalice for our Unitarian Universalist spirit-growing, justice-seeking community.”

Response: “I am a living member of the great family of All Souls.”

Options for Rituals

Choose from the rituals in the videos on this web page.

  • Calling Out Names
  • Spirit of Life
  • Body Prayer
  • Blessing

Introduction and Conversation

The All Souls theme for March is “Curiosity.” When do you think curiosity is a strength? When could it be a weakness or challenge?

Have you ever wondered about the meaning and history of our flaming UU chalice symbol? To UUs, it is seen to represent the warmth of love, light of truth, and freedom to search for what is true and right.

Choose a flaming chalice history story to read or tell.

Follow-Up Activities

Extinguish the chalice when the time is right for your group. It could be before reading the story or before doing the follow up activities. Use the “blessing” or a reading to extinguish the chalice, which can be found with the “Chalice Lighting Words.”

Please contact James Ploeser (jploeser@allsouls.ws) for information.

Suffragists, dreams, and more.

Preschool

K – 1st grades

2nd – 3rd grades

4th – 5th grades

For links to gatherings for middle school and high school groups, contact James Ploeser (jploeser@allsouls.ws).

Drumming as a
Spiritual Practice
Making a Journal

General Resources

Choose from the variations below.

We light this chalice to celebrate Unitarian Universalism.

This is the Church of the open minds.

This is the Church of the loving heart.

This is the Church of the helping hands.

We light this chalice for our Unitarian Universalist spirit growing, justice seeking community.

I am a living member of the great family of All Souls.

We light this chalice to affirm that new light is ever waiting to break through to enlighten our ways,

That new truth is ever waiting to break through to illume our minds,

And that new love is ever waiting to break through to warm our hearts,

May we be open to this light and to the rich possibilities that it brings.

For every time we make a mistake and we decide to start again,

We light this chalice.

For every time we are lonely and we let someone be our friend,

We light this chalice.

For every time we are disappointed and we choose to hope,

We light this, our chalice.

We light this chalice for the light of truth.

We light this chalice for the warmth of love.

We light this chalice for the energy of action.

This flame affirms the light of truth, the warmth of love, and the fire of commitment.

Extinguishing the chalice: We extinguished this flame but not the light of truth comma the warmth of love, or the fire of commitment which adhere symbolizes. These we carry in our hearts until we come together again.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has caused to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

We’ll keep adding more, and feel free to suggest your own (send them to Dolores at dmiller@allsouls.ws).

I praise the blue Sky.
I praise the sun that is in you.
I praise the bright moon.
I praised the shining stars in you.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

The earth so big and I’m so small,
I wonder why I’m here at all,
until, at dark, I see the sky
and then I think I know just why.

I’m here to look and think and ask.
To wonder seems to be my task.
That suits me fine; there’s much to see.
I sure am glad on earth to be.

Oh great spirit,
Earth, sun, sky and sea.
You are inside,
And all around me.

We lift our hearts in thanks today
For all the gifts of life.

Earth, who gives us this food,
Sun, who makes it ripe and good:
Dear Earth, dear Sun, by you we live;
To you our loving thanks we give.

God, we thank you for this food,
for rest and home and all things good,
for wind and rain and sun above,
for peace on earth and those we love.

  • Think about the things you are thankful for today.
  • Think about something you feel sorry that you did or said today, and any way you can make it right.
  • Think about something you hope will happen, and any way you can help it to happen.
  • Think about being in a place of beauty or a favorite place where you feel safe and good.
  • Think about the people you love and their love for you. See each person’s face in your mind. Give them a goodnight

Thank you, God, for all life brings,
for health and play an all good things,
and help me use my heart and mind
to make me strong and keep me kind.
Amen.

I am thankful for the night
and for the pleasant morning light,
for health and strength and loving care
and all that makes the world so fair.
Amen.

These are the days that have been given to us; let us rejoice and be glad in them.

These are the days of our lives; let us live them well in love and service.

These are the days of mystery and wonder; let us cherish and celebrate them in gratitude together.

These are the days that have been given to us; let us make of them stories worth telling to those who come after us.

We give thanks for the earth and its creatures and are grateful from A to Z:

For alligators, apricots, acorns, and apple trees,

For bumblebees, bananas, blueberries, and beagles,

Coconuts, crawdads, corn fields, and coffee,

Daisies, elephants, and flying fish,

For groundhogs, glaciers and grasslands,

Hippos and hazelnuts, icicles and iguanas,

For juniper, jackrabbits, and June bugs,

Kudzu and kangaroos, lightning bugs and licorice,

For mountains and milkweed and mistletoe,

Narwhals and nasturtiums, otters and ocelots,

For pennies and persimmons, and polar bears,

Quahogs and Queen Anne’s Lace,

For raspberries and roses,

Salmon and sassafras, tornadoes and tulipwood,

Urchins and valleys and waterfalls,

For X (the unknown, the mystery of it all!)

In every yak and yam;

We are grateful, good Earth, not least of all,

For zinnias, zucchini, and zebras,

And for the alphabet of wonderful things

that are as simple as ABC.

Your gifts–whatever you discover them to be–
     can be used to curse or bless the world.

The mind’s power,
     the strength of the hands,
     the reaches of the heart,
the gift of speaking, listening, imagining, seeing,

waiting

any of these can serve to feed the hungry,
     bind up wounds,
     welcome the stranger,
     praise what is sacred,
     do the work of justice
          or offer love.

Any of these can draw down the prison door,
     hoard bread
     obscure what is holy,
     comply with injustice,
          or withhold love.

You must answer this question:
What will you do with your gifts?

Choose to bless the world.

The choice to bless the world
can take you into solitude
to search for the sources
of power and grace;
native wisdom, healing and liberation.

More, the choice will draw you into community,
     the endeavor shared,
     the heritage passed on,
          the companionship of struggle,
     the importance of keeping faith,
     the life of ritual and praise,
          the comfort of human friendship,
               the company of earth,
                    it’s chorus of life
                         welcoming you.

None of us alone can save the world.
Together – that is another possibility,
     waiting.

Dolores shows us the ropes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=iyxGNrjRtj4&feature=emb_title

So many things to do and people to see!

Adapted from The Church of the Larger Fellowship

You can create your own worship services at home. Sunday morning is the traditional time, but you may find another time that suits your family better. Weekly is the usual interval, but if less often works for you, try that and perhaps move to more frequency. (Readings, reflections, and prayers can be found on this webpage.)

Creating a Setting. You may decide to do one of the following:

  • Gather around a table with a chalice, candles, flowers, or special objects.
  • Form a half circle of chairs around the fireplace, perhaps adding a special picture on the mantelpiece.
  • Spread a bright-colored cloth on the floor, arranging bits of nature or art around your chalice in the center, and sitting around in a circle.
  • Gather outdoors in a beautiful spot.

Create a Pattern. Here is the format one family uses for a Sunday morning service in their living room:

  • Each member of the family lights a candle
  • Opening words: these can be a favorite poem or something appropriate from the newspaper, a magazine, or a book. Or you can repeat the same words each time, such as:

To this quiet place of beauty
we have come from workday things,
pausing for a while and waiting
for the thoughts that quiet brings.
Source unknown

  • Recorded music
  • Thoughts for the week: each person shares high points and low points of the past week, what they are looking forward in the coming week, and anything they’re worrying about
  • Closing words or a song they sing together

They take turns doing the opening words and choosing the music sometimes they go on to do a religious education session.

Another Way to Create a Service Together

  • Provide a box or paper bag into which you can drop ideas or themes for services as they occur to you. P.T. Barnum’s birthday, Harvest Moon, Helping Others, Making Our Home Ecologically Responsible, or Black History Month are some ideas to start with.
  • After your family worship, but while you are still gathered in your worship space, someone reaches into the box or bag and pulls out a slip of paper with a theme.
  • Decide among you who is to be responsible for 1) creating a visual focal point, 2) opening words, 3) a song, 4) a reading, and 5) a closing. Agree to present the service next time you gather.

You might also plan a service around religious questions that members of your family raise. Take some time to gather ideas and materials that focus on the question in different ways. (Use past ASC monthly themes or contact Dolores for suggestions.) Encourage other members of your family to say how they feel about the question or what their responses might be. The point, of course, is not so much to answer the question as to give it the attention and importance that it deserves and to keep these big questions coming.

If your family is interested in a sermon, check out our webpage of past sermons.

Fred Katz talks about drumming as a spiritual practice.

In Rob’s March 22 sermon, he encouraged us to make a journal to write (or draw) about our losses and blessings. Keeping such a journal and looking back on it can be a form of prayer. If you have thoughts or prayers that are special to you or speak to you, write or draw them in there too. See Readings, Reflections, Prayers, and Blessings listed on this webpage, including the meal and bedtime prayers.

Greetings from Anya, our nursery provider (VIDEO).

Greetings from Olivia, our nursery provider (VIDEO).

Welcome

Welcome to the vibrant and enriching program that is religious education for children, youth, and families at All Souls! Our mission, in alignment with that of the church at large, is to build a diverse, spirit-growing, justice-seeking community. We do this through meaningful lesson themes, arts, hands-on and physical activities, and open conversations. In addition to classes, there are many family friendly events, as well as opportunities to enrich our connections with the family of All Souls Church. Welcome, one and all, to our Unitarian Universalist religious community.

Read on for an RE adventure, as well as helpful information.

~ Dolores Miller, Director of Children and Youth Religious Education

Vision and Goals

The purpose of the Religious Education Program is to:

  • encourage and support our children’s spiritual and ethical growth;
  • provide an open, safe, and compassionate community;
  • offer young people a place to explore Unitarian Universalism and other faiths; and
  • support a natural development of religious faith based on direct experience.

The 2019-2020 registration form is available below. You must register your child(ren) for all classes, nursery through high school. You’ll find descriptions of the classes below. Ours is a cooperative program, so all parents/guardians must volunteer in some way. There is no waiver on volunteering. 

Classes and Other Offerings

Two professional caregivers provide supervised play for toddlers and babies. Remote hearing devices to listen to the service are available for parents who choose to stay with their children.

This year’s curriculum, “Celebrating Me and My World,” explores Unitarian Universalism. It helps preschoolers grow their sense of trust and caring and develop their self-identity and sense of connectedness with all of life. At the 11:15 am service, the 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old classes combine and follow the “Celebrating Me and My World” curriculum.

“We Are Many, We Are One” offers young children the opportunity to learn about their religious community and tradition, as well as the freedom to discover and express their uniqueness. At 11:15, 4-year-olds are with the 2- and 3-year-olds.

In the Theme-Based Workshop Rotation Model of Religious Education, children explore the monthly theme through a variety of venues. Workshops include UUism and world religions, performing and fine arts, meditation/yoga, social justice, nature, cooking, and games, and sports. Workshops are led by congregants who have a passion or talent in a particular area. Grade-level classes are guided by leading learners (class teachers) who provide spiritual and practical support and consistency in relationships.

Workshop Rotation FAQs

  1. What is Workshop Rotation? Workshop Rotation is a model of eeligious education in which the children experience the monthly theme/story through a variety of learning styles, by “rotating” each week to a different workshop in a different space.
  2. Who leads the workshops? Workshops are led by members of the congregation who have an interest or passion for a particular subject; for example, nature, art, cooking, gardening, creative writing, games, yoga, meditation, science. Leaders usually lead the same workshop each week for one month (hopefully), as children of different ages cycle through.
  3. What ages will be doing Workshop Rotation? Currently Kindergarten through 5th grade will be exploring Workshop Rotation on a weekly basis. High school and middle school students will participate at times and in ways as appropriate.
  4. What is the role of the class teacher? The teachers (or “leading learners,” as I like to call them), act as guides for their class, and provide the consistency necessary for creating the “Beloved Community” with their class. They will also lead the reflections and discussions.
  5. Will the classes have homerooms? In a sense, yes. K/1st will meet in Room 1, 2nd/3rd in Room 2, and 4th/5th in the Spirit Room. There, they will eat a snack, check in, and discuss some of the monthly themes. After about 15-20 minutes, the students will be called to Children’s Chapel, which will take place in the Studio. From there, they will be dismissed to their workshops, WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT BE HELD IN THE SAME ROOM IN WHICH THEY WERE DROPPED OFF. Please make note of posted signage and presentations to find the room from which to pick up your child.
  6. On what will the content of the workshops be based? The “core” of the workshops will be the monthly themes and said theme’s accompanying story. Click through here for more information on theme-based workshop rotation from the UUA.

Students dive deeper into Unitarian Universalism, world religions, and our Judeo-Christian heritage. Using this knowledge, they begin to look critically at the world that they inhabit. There is also an emphasis on deeper engagement on both fronts, with an increase in field trips and site visits as well as a turn inward towards the congregation at large, putting on events for them such as the pancake breakfast, haunted house, and chili lunch.

11:15 Service ONLY. For its high schoolers, All Souls’ offers a unique and empowering religious education opportunity. With support from adult advisors, the youth are challenged to take on responsibility for their own learning experience. They select their own methods and topics for spiritual exploration and are held accountable for cultivating an inclusive community environment rooted in the eight UU Principles. Activities include community service, social action, overnight excursions, student-led classroom discussions, and much more.

The All Souls’ Youth Group meets during the second service throughout the church year. Its activities and performance are monitored by the Youth-Adult Committee (YAC), in consultation with the lay-led Religious Education Committee. The YAC includes appropriate All Souls’ staff (youth ministry coordinator and/or director of religious education) as well as adult advisors, but its business is conducted and led by the youth themselves.

Our bi-annual Coming of Age (CoA) program is designed for youth (9th-12th grade) to explore and solidify their own beliefs, and thus to “come of age” in our UU congregation. This year-long program offers youth a chance to clarify their values, beliefs and spirituality in conversation the traditions of Unitarian Universalism and other world religions, as well as with adult mentors and program leaders. The CoA program culminates twice: first in youth presenting their own belief statements (Credos) to the congregation during Sunday services (typically in late spring); and secondly, on a UU Heritage Trip to historic sites in the Boston area, led by the Senior Minister and Youth Minister. CoA is currently scheduled for the 2019-20 and 2021-22 church years. Contact James Ploeser for more info (jploeser@allsouls.ws).

The UUA/UCC curriculum on sex and relationships will be offered this year to junior high (7th and 8th grade) all year. Sixth grade OWL will be offered in the fall only. In addition, for the first time we will offer OWL for children in 4th and 5th grade early in 2020.

On the 1st Sunday of the month, following the Story for All Ages, children in K-5th will choose from a variety of activities such as gym play, construction, crafts, and reading. Once a month parent volunteers and Middle School students will help facilitate these activities.

Led by dedicated volunteers, middle and high schoolers, and staff each week, Children’s Chapel brings together the K through 5th graders for worship and ritual. It includes a chalice lighting, hymns, meditations, and a story related to the monthly theme. Children’s Chapel is held on the second, third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of the month, unless that Sunday’s sanctuary service is intergenerational.

Integral to a child’s religious education is worshipping with the entire church community. Children ages K and up attend the first 15 minutes of worship in the sanctuary on the first Sunday of the month. Dolores and guests tell a story to the entire congregation that introduces that month’s spiritual theme. There is no Children’s Chapel on that day.

Held in the sanctuary during the regular worship service, this dedication ceremony celebrates the blessing of new life, expresses parents’ hopes for their children, and calls the congregation to lead and nurture a child’s spiritual life. Contact Dolores Miller (dmiller@allsouls.ws) to reserve one of the offered dates for your child’s dedication.

Children and youth take the stage to celebrate that “each child born is one more redeemer,” in our annual partnership with the music program. This year, with expanded roles and opportunities, the pageant is not to be missed!

Held in the cold of February when nights seem incredibly long, come to the warmth of All Souls on a Friday night for games galore. From tabletop games in the Library to cornhole in the Minister’s Corridor, a good time will be had by all!

Asking, “…why is this night different from all other nights?” congregants and friends celebrate Passover, drawing parallels between the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt and current struggles against oppression. Children are especially welcome for conversation, good food, stories, and singing.

This clothing swap of gently used children’s clothing (sized for newborns through teens) is held in the spring. Save your clothing and pass them on to other All Souls families. Leftover clothing is donated to a local charity.

These choirs, for children and youth from 5 to 14, rehearses on Tuesdays from 6:15 to 7:15 pm. Led by Director of Music and Arts Jen Hayman, the children’s choir sings a vast variety of repertoire, including classical, world music, and pop music, and often collaborates with the adult music ensembles at All Souls and other guest musicians. For more information, contact Jen Hayman (jhayman@allsouls.ws).

Religious Education Committee

The Religious Education Committee embodies congregational responsibility for the religious education for children and youth by articulating directions and supporting the professional and volunteer staff in realizing the goals of the program.

Meeting once a month with RE staff, committee members articulate the direction and design of the religious education program by listening to parents and congregants, planning and implementing religious education events, supporting training sessions, and working with other adults in the wider congregation to build a truly intergenerational religious community.

Danielle Henry, Committee Chair

Julie Vallelunga

Allison Denny

Kirk Freeman

Dana Martin

Merrie Dodson

Kevin Hilgers

Shelley Finlayson

CYRE Safety Policies

No teacher should ever be alone with one child (unless it’s their own child). If you are the first to drop off your child and there is only one teacher, you must stay until another teacher or child arrives.

We perform background checks on all individuals who regularly work with children and youth.

Children in 5th grade and younger must be picked up after class. They will not be dismissed on their own. Please be mindful of this when socializing after the service.

Healthy snacks, including dairy and gluten free options, are offered. Be sure to indicated any allergies on your child’s registration form.

Children and youth may not leave the church for RE activities without a signed permission form from a parent/guardian.

Teachers are trained on the best route to exit in an emergency and on lock-down procedures. Evacuation drills will be performed so that the children are familiar with the routes as well. Limited first aid kits are provided in every classroom and a more comprehensive kit is at the front desk.

During the time that parents entrust their children to the RE Program, children and youth must either be in class or with their families in the service.

Expectations for Behavior

In the RE Program, we seek to engage children and youth within an atmosphere of mutual respect and kindness. At the beginning of the church year, all classes create a “Class Covenant,” stating how they will be in community with each other. In order to ensure a safe learning environment for all participants, we expect a method of interacting guided by our covenants. In the event that a child needs help meeting these expectations, the following steps may be taken: verbal correction or sign, removal from the group, conversation with the Religious Educator, consultation with parents, parents asked to take part in class.

In the spirit of community, we ask that our children and youth “be present” in class. This means they do not bring books and toys into the room with them unless it is meant to be used with the lesson. Ideally, all children will be present in mind and spirit, but if your child has a special need to bring a book or toy from home, please speak with Dolores.

Registration Form

Use 0 for kindergarten; nothing for preschool
Use 0 for kindergarten; nothing for preschool
Use 0 for kindergarten; nothing for preschool
Tell us things we should know about your child(ren), such as allergies, special needs, coping strategies, interests, nicknames, etc.
Tell us about your talents and other offerings you might bring to the program.

Are you looking for a deeper, richer connection to a smaller group of our church’s children? Teaching may be the role for you. As part of a teaching team, you will work with a particular age group (preschool, K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-5th, 6th-8th, or 9th-12th) at the service time you choose (9:30 or 11:15), teaching approximately twice a month for the whole church year. This year-long commitment provides the opportunity to get to know your students, their parents, and your fellow teachers in a meaningful way. Lesson plans, training, and year-long support are provided by the CYRE program to help you make the most of this ministry.

Have you always wanted to teach Sunday school, but can’t commit for an entire church year? Workshop leader may be the role for you. Each month will have activities and lessons focusing on the church’s monthly theme. After children’s chapel time, which all K-5th students attend, each class will go to a different theme-related workshop room for the remainder of the morning. This is where you, the workshop leader, come in. For the entire month, or part thereof (except for first Sundays), you’ll lead a workshop, assisted by the grade-level teachers, in a particular area. A different class will come to your workshop each Sunday, so, by the end of the month, you will have worked with all the different age levels, adjusting your activities as needed to each age group, but leading the same general activity each time. If you have a particular skill or interest you’d like to share, let us know. If not, we’ll help you choose one that will be fun and rewarding.

Are you energized by the idea of bringing many of the spiritual components of the All Souls adult worship experience to our church’s children? Children’s Chapel Team may be the role for you. Each Sunday (except first Sundays, when we have a Story for All Ages in the sanctuary) all K-5th children attend Children’s Chapel in the Studio before proceeding on to that morning’s workshops. Children’s Chapel includes child-friendly worship elements such as chalice lighting, joys and concerns, story, and music. Interested adults are needed both to lead children’s chapel services, as well as to assist through storytelling and/or providing music throughout the church year. Once children’s chapel is finished, volunteers are free to head back upstairs for the remainder of the adult worship service in the sanctuary.

Do you want to help out in CYRE, but don’t feel ready to step into a teaching or workshop leader role? First Sunday “Choose Your Own Adventure” Facilitator may be the role for you. The first Sunday of every month, children in Kindergarten and above begin the morning in the sanctuary with their parents and stay through the Story for All Ages. After the story, all K-5th children proceed to the lower level for a special first Sunday snack, then free playtime, either active games in the gym, or crafts, books, games, construction, and dramatic play in separate classrooms. This is where you, the Adventure Day Facilitator, come in. Adults are needed to supervise both the snack and the free playtime. No lesson plan to learn and just once a month, this is an ideal role for someone who is looking for a lighter volunteer commitment.

If you have time during the week to come in to the church and help the CYRE staff with various preparatory tasks, there’s plenty to do. Your help “behind the scenes” of the CYRE program would be greatly appreciated.

Our program serves children at All Souls, from the time they’re babies through their senior year of high school. The success of our program rests upon volunteers from our church community. Whether you are a parent or not, we need wide participation from the entire church community to meet our spiritual goals for everyone—children, youth, and adult volunteers. Volunteers are supported by our staff: Director of Religious Education Dolores Miller and Youth Coordinator and CYRE Assistant James Ploeser. A volunteer CYRE Committee provides additional support. Come, be a part of this vital, enriching ministry. You’ll be glad you did! Contact Dolores or James.