UCH Religious Exploration has moved to a virtual platform in order to safely welcome all participants during the pandemic. These programs were intentionally chosen as they are zoom appropriate and can easily be adjusted once we return to our physical space.
This Fall, we will be using three different programs, based on age groups. If you would like to enroll your child in RE or have any questions, feel free to contact our DRE, Cory Ness.
CARTUUNS – Grades K-6
There is no reason why children can’t have fun while they are learning! CARTUUNS uses animated shorts from Pixar and Disney as the basis for discussion about the values inherent in Unitarian Universalism. These short animated films run 3-ll minutes, making it easy to keep a child's attention, even if class is being held online. Discussion and fun activities keep children engaged and coming back for more. CARTUUNS has been designed to work with any RE class setting, whether class is being held in person or online. CARTUUNS will also work seamlessly, if classes transition between settings during the RE year. What could be more fun than watching CARTUUNS?
Coming of Age (COA) – Grades 7-9
During the coming year, we will work together to strengthen the family bonds that young teens share as well as develop new levels of responsibility. Participants in the Coming of Age program are in the midst of an inevitable transition, a time of external and internal transformation. This class offers a chance for reflection within a peer group during this intense season of life. The adult facilitators and mentors offer support, ask questions, and encourage the individual process of reflection and growth. At the conclusion of our program in the spring, we intend to have achieved a new level of awareness that demonstrates and solidifies the transition from childhood to youth.
Youth RE – Grades 10-12
Teens and Youth Group Advisors co-lead to discuss current events through a UU lens, develop and challenge personal beliefs, and plan a youth-led service for Spring 2021. Our youth are also invited to build roots and are sustained in Unitarian Universalism by attending services with friends, mentors, and family and by serving as Usher, Greeter, Lay Liturgist, Member Reflection Speaker, Musician, Sound Engineer, Coffee Hour Host, or Helping with BabyGarden or K-9 RE, recognizing their importance in our community just by their presence, not by what they can do for us.
Youth Group strives to provide a balanced experience for youth in the program by incorporating the Six Components of a Balanced Youth Ministry:
- Worship - is an important and sacred part of any balanced youth ministry. Youth worship may be interactive and non-traditional.
- Leadership - Opportunities to develop leadership skills and then put them into practice are integral parts of youth programming.
- Justice and Service - Youth have passionate opinions about social issues. Justice and service programming is a way for youth to express and explore our values and put action behind our concerns.
- Learning - Almost every aspect of programming can provide learning experiences for youth. Small group ministry, covenant groups, or other venues can provide space for healthy discussion—sparked by the topic of a guest speaker, movie, or from youth’s own experiences.
- Community Building - Honor our friends and loved ones, and the social aspects of youth programs. Community building, or socializing, is a time for people to get to know one another.
- Youth-Adult Relations - The last but certainly not least important component of a balanced youth program is essential. Communities where youth and adults work together and have power with each other have huge potential.
Access the Religious Exploration Calendar here.
**The information below pertains to in-person worship. We hope to meet again safely in the future. (Note - Our church building is currently closed and all RE sessions take place online.)
The Unitarian Church of Harrisburg offers children's religious exploration (RE) programming each Sunday morning at Clover Lane.
Please try to arrive about 15 minutes before the service. Greeters in the lobby will welcome you, get name-tags for your family, and ask you to fill out a visitor registration form. Arriving a bit early allows you time to look around; to meet other families, the RE Leaders, and/or the Director of Religious Exploration; and to ask questions. Please include any special needs or allergies on the visitor registration form to best provide a positive experience for your child.
We provide fidget materials, toys, and projects for babies, children, teens, and adults in both sanctuaries. Members and guests should sit where they are most comfortable and move around as needed. Joyful noises and movements are the signs of a living, thriving church. We welcome them!
All ages start together in the sanctuary. Some Sundays, families remain together in the service. Other Sundays, children, youth, and RE Leaders will recess to their RE session downstairs during a song (about 15 minutes into the service.) We encourage you to go with your children to help them find their way and settle in. If you do not arrive early, just go with the rest of the children and leaders, let them know you are new, and they will accompany you to the RE room. Please stay in the session or activity with your child if you would like.
After their third visit, families must complete the UCH RE registration form (button found at top of page.) This helps our Director of Religious Exploration and RE Committee monitor attendance, communicate with families, and tailor activities for their children & youth.
Families of babies, toddlers and preschoolers are welcome to:
- keep their little ones with them in the service
- take breaks in the lobby and return to worship
- listen to worship through the speakers in Fuller Chapel (upstairs) or the Potter Room (downstairs)
- to send their younger children along with nursery care volunteers as RE recesses after the first 15 minutes of worship whichever option (or mix of options) works best for you.
Care for infants and toddlers is integrated into our general children's programming. Our youngest children begin RE time in an all-ages setting to interact and build relationships with older children and youth. Then they move to developmentally appropriate activities and free play in the Potter Room.
Families are encouraged to take the time to help make their children comfortable and inform the child care providers about any anticipated needs. Two childcare providers from the congregation engage and guide the children. Parents and caregivers are welcome to sit in any time.
Nursery care continues until 11:45, 15 minutes after the worship service, to allow parents and caregivers the chance to fellowship during Coffee Hour.
RE Children Program Overview
All children (K-7th) & youth (8-12th) begin their Sunday morning in the sanctuary worshiping with their families.
Religious Exploration classes and activities last 15 minutes after the worship service. Children in 4th grade or younger must be picked up in the room by their parents/guardians. Children in 5th grade and older may dismiss themselves into Coffee Hour at 11:45, after the Closing ceremony.