Vision and Philosophy
Our Children and Youth Religious Education program has a long history of providing Unitarian Universalist faith development activities for children and youth.
We seek to offer a welcoming environment that will nurture the spiritual growth of children and youth in a diverse, inclusive multigenerational community through structured groups and experiences, all-ages social interaction, and participation in the whole life of the congregation, its ministries, and its shared values.
Unitarian Universalist religious education is about spiritual formation and enabling young people to critical thinking and compassionate action in the world. The nineteenth-century Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing articulated this goal for religious education:
The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds on the young, but to stir up their own; Not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own; Not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth. . . Not to impose religion upon them in the form of arbitrary rules, but to awaken the conscience, the moral discernment. In a word, the great end is to awaken the soul.
In the 21st century, UU RE programs continue to heed these words. Religious educator Gaia Brown writes:
We have a strong faith in the inherent spirituality of children and see it as our task to nurture, not to indoctrinate. Our respect for the children teaches them respect for themselves, for others, and for this fragile interdependent web of which we are all a part.