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Cooperative Religious Exploration for Children, Youth, and Families

Faith Formation at First Parish in Brookline is embraced by the community as a place of connection and growth at every age. The goals of the Religious Exploration program are to help each person develop a respect for her or his own self-worth, concern for others, an enjoyment and appreciation of worship, reverence for the sacred and all life, rich and meaningful spiritual life, and an enduring connection with Unitarian Universalism.

We offer a Faith Formation experience drawn from our Unitarian Universalist traditions, which affirms the great spiritual truths of all religions. We seek to assist each child in nurturing a spiritual life, ethical awareness, Unitarian Universalist identity, and faith development. The Religious Exploration Committee and the Director of Family & Community Ministries carefully choose our curricula that best fit these objectives in age-appropriate groupings.

Religious Exploration Plan for 2023-24

Ages below are rough guidelines. Families are welcome to work with the liaisons and ministers to find the right place for their child to participate. We also ask that every family participating in RE volunteer in support of the program at least one Sunday per month.

Spirit Play (Ages 4-7): 

Interactive stories illustrating the themes of the Seven Principles of UU plus art and play in the Tree Room and on the church grounds, following the Montessori-based approach of the UU Spirit Play program.
Liaison: Micaela Coady

Pathfinders (Ages 8-10):

Teaching through exploration, adventure and discovery, on the church grounds and in nearby gardens, woods, ponds and paths. The Seven Principles of UU continue to be explored through the UU Tapestry of Faith curriculum and resources.
Liaison: Nathan Freitas

Neighboring Faiths (All Ages):

An introduction to world religions using the UU Building Bridges curriculum. In-person visits to other houses of worship are interspersed with discussions, lessons, cultural sharing and more, with connections to the diverse spiritual backgrounds of many members in our own parish and community.
Liaisons: Nathan Freitas and Jayleigh Lewis

This year, we are piloting an intergenerational version of this program, which will meet approximately once per month for visits to local faith communities, preceded by background learning and followed by age-appropriate group reflection. This program will launch in late September. More details to follow.

Our Whole Lives (Ages 13-14):

We are eager to provide the full “Our Whole Lives” (OWL) program, while understanding it may take time to build trust and connections between our youth and teachers. Based on interest and capacity, the trained OWL facilitators will engage youth to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.
Liaison: Kiara Zani

Coming of Age and Youth (Ages 14+):

Our Coming of Age experience will guide youth to answer the questions: What is my spiritual practice? Who are the people that I connect with in my faith community? How might I live out my faith in the world? Their exploration will include being paired with a mentor in our parish, and will culminate in leading a worship service, where they will share their statements of faith and identity with the congregation.

This year’s Coming of Age program will be focused on connecting with adult mentors in the congregation for formation in UU faith and values, as well as group retreats during which participants will be invited to engage with peers in social, spiritual, and service activities. We will not be holding a weekly class; the schedule and format will remain flexible and adaptive to meet the needs of participants.

Youth Group (Ages 12+):

Youth in 7th through 12th grades are invited to participate in group social, spiritual, and service activities that occur throughout the year. We frequently partner with other local UU churches, as well as other local faith communities, for joint youth group experiences.

Have questions or want more information?

If you would like more information about any of our offerings, or to be in touch with our Director of Family and Community Ministries, please fill out the RE interest form linked below.