Children & Teens
We welcome you to the Children, Youth and Family Ministries at UUCA. UUCA strives to give to the world children and youth centered in the values of our religious community and nurtured in love, who are compassionate leaders in seeking justice and peace. Our church follows Safe Congregation guidelines in order to minimize risk to children & teachers. We offer Children’s Chapel on the first Sunday of each month to nurture the spirit and to allow children to take their place among the congregation easily.
Click here for the 2016-2017 Sunday schedule
Click here for the 2016 -2017 prospectus
Please contact any member of our Children, Youth and Family Ministry staff; we’re happy to answer your questions.
- Rev. Jonathan Rogers, Associate Minister of Lifelong Learning and Growth
- Michelle Bishop, Children’s Programs Coordinator
- Nanda Shewmangal, Youth Programs Coordinator
Newcomers should plan to arrive a few minutes early on Sunday morning and stop by the Family Information desk in the front lobby to get program information and class locations.
Religious Exploration classes August through May are held during the time between services at 10:10am. During each worship service, children ages 3-9yrs have the option of attending CONNECTIONS! which is a lightly structured social time for children to get to know each other, make friends, and have fun.
- 9:00am – Worship (10 yrs +) and CONNECTIONS! (3yrs – 9yrs)
- 10:10am – All Ages Religious Exploration Classes and Workshops
- 11:20am – Worship (10 yrs +) and CONNECTIONS! (3yrs – 9yrs)
We ask families with children who have attended Religious Exploration classes for 3 weeks (and who plan to continue attending) to fill out the 2016-17 UUCA RE Registration Form.
UUCA’s Religious Exploration program is a cooperative program that relies on the time and talents of many individuals each and every year! Click here to apply to volunteer in UUCA’s Religious Exploration program.
Jessica James Hale, RE parent:
“My daughter spent her first grade year sitting next to a boy in her class who I’m pretty sure is going to grow up to be an incredibly charismatic Southern Baptist minister. He’s is an amazing and brilliant human, and he spent of much of first grade preaching the good word to my daughter. Regularly, she would tell me about the complex intellectual conversations and debates her and Ashanti had throughout the day. He held strong beliefs that when people got married Jesus brought them a baby, that you needed to believe in Jesus or you wouldn’t go to heaven, and that you had to be married to have a family and that boys could only marry girls. There were times I thought he might give me parenting panic attack.
But every time I would ask my daughter how she had responded to what her classmate shared with her, or what she thought on the subject I was always reassured that we (and all of you here today are a part of that collective we) had done the work and all was well. When talking about marriage and babies she had responded with the exact language we had been using at home for years about the topic, language that had been reinforced in OWL and by many of the families here in this room. She told him about her family, and who were included in it. A family that defies all normative definitions of family but one that has always been celebrated in these walls. She came home to share his ideas because she found them interesting, because she wanted to talk about and wonder about them and she felt strong and firm in her own beliefs.
That’s what RE has been for our family. If I’m honest neither RE or OWL has exposed my daughter to new ideas, or likely even new language to talk about ideas, but what it has provided is a web of instructors, peers, ministers, and other parents who reinforce what is important to our family. It has meant adults other than me using similar language, language that is not often heard in schools, in the media (especially children’s media) or on the playground. And that is what is necessary in nurturing and building strong kids, it can’t just be me, it can’t just be in our house. And because its not, I get to watch my daughter develop deep and important friendships with her peers at school and not worry that her ideas and morals are going to be stamped out, rather I get to see her become stronger and grow even more into a person I enjoy sharing my home and life with.
And just as those reinforcements exist for my daughter, they also exist for me. When I begin to doubt myself, it is often a circle of mothers I have found here who will be the ones to remind me that “yes,” I’m on the right track. And it is that same group of mothers who step in when I need support. Parenting can be a lonely journey, I feel like progressive parenting often feels even lonelier. I’ve cried and yelled with these mothers, we’ve watched our children grow together for nearly their entire lives – there is a magic in our bond that I can’t put into words.
This is community in action, this a big part of of having village, this is what RE and this faith community has meant to us.”
Megan Bryant, YRUU graduate:
“Hi there! My name is Megan Bryant, and tomorrow I move in for my freshman year at the University of Georgia. My life has followed many twists and turns to bring me to this point. As my school, friends, and opinions changed, UUCA stayed a constant in my life. A major reason for this has been the incredible Religious Education opportunities presented to me.
I remember in middle school when I was participating in neighboring faiths, I would tell my friends about my visits to mosques and temples, what I discovered about christianity, and what I learned from simply being presented with differing faiths. Some were confused but most were jealous. UUCA gave me an experience few of my peers could even relate to. My “sunday school” taught me the value of my religious neighbors and fostered a creativity that traditional faith programs just couldn’t match.
Then after an amazing Coming of Age program I graduated into YRUU. The community I have gained, the growth I have witnessed is unmeasurable and I have had so much fun in the process. Nanda has done an exceptional job providing a fun, safe, and stimulating environment to help tackle the crazy high school years.
On future Sundays, I may be at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens but here, in this community, our youth will be embarking on numerous journeys. The coming of age group will create their own ideas of religion and form an amazing group of friends. Our sixth and seventh graders will be asking questions as important and open ended as “Is there a God?” All the way to kindergarten UUCA RE provides a safe space for children and youth to grow, flourish, and become the future this world desperately needs.
I have loved RE at UUCA and wouldn’t change my experience for the world. I will miss you all so much, thank you and go dawgs!”