Director of Religious Exploration and Education: Kathy Underwood

Current Religious Exploration and Education Team Members:

Vickie Kilgore,

Ann Kremer,

Brandi Talaga

Adult Spirituality

The Adult Spirituality program continues to thrive. This year, 8 volunteers lead 5 different programs:

  • Darkening the Doorways – Andrea Schmidlin, Elizabeth Olson, Elizabeth Closson
  • Between the World and Me – Andrea Schmidlin, Elizabeth Olson, Elizabeth Closson, Amy Hill, Jameel Rafia
  • Lessons of Loss – Elise Wall
  • Building Your Own Theology 1 – Kathy Hislip, Dan Hislip
  • The Science of Happiness – Elizabeth Closson
  • Rev. Leslie Mills also led a program, The Shared Pulpit, on writing sermons.

Religious Exploration and Education (REE) for Children and Youth

The religious education program serves children and youth from preschool through high school in five classrooms. There are 51 children and youth in the program. We have 11 teachers and 6 volunteers as teacher assistants. This year the focus of the program was on Judeo-Christian Heritage.

Work Accomplished by the REE Team

  1. Co-coordinated summer programming
  2. Coordinated registration
  3. Coordinated a campout
  4. Assist with social action projects
  5. Recognized teachers and assistants
  6. Ongoing Activities and Projects
  7. Coordinating this summer’s program
  8. Program evaluations planned for May with teachers, young people, and families

Message from the Director of Religious Exploration and Education

Our program continues to evolve each year. The Religious Exploration and Education Team meets quarterly to set and carry out goals. I continue to work on average 21 hours per week, with some weeks of the year requiring more hours than others. So far this year, I have put in 48 extra hours (a little over 2 weeks). Accomplishments this year were:

• Co-led multi-generational services

• Wrote 3 lesson plans on anti-racism for all five age groups

• Wrote a new child care policy

• Interviewed, hired, and supervised paid childcare workers

• Scheduled volunteer childcare workers weekly until new staff hired

• Continued to maintain all records and supplies for the program

• Provided teacher training and support, including the purchase and maintenance of supplies and books

• Recruited facilitators and teachers

• Coordinated Adult Spirituality programming

• Coordinated social action activities

• Continued a monthly column in the newsletter

• Began a weekly email to parents on what the young people are doing and upcoming events

• Held Chalice Circle 4 times during the year

• Helped visitors and new families feel welcomed in our program

• Conducted background checks for volunteers

• Continued participation and leadership in the Liberal Religious Educators’ Association (LREDA)

• Coordinated 13 summer sessions for young people

• Recognized volunteers in the order of service, the newsletter, and in worship services

• Maintained communications with parents, children, youth, and volunteers

Child Care Policy of UUCE


As a spiritual community, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin (UUCE) is dedicated to creating a safe space for children, youth, and adults. The Safety Policy serves our whole community, helping to protect children and youth from abusive and manipulative behavior, adults from the legal consequences of a possible misunderstanding, and the congregation from spiritual, emotional, and financial harm. We invite you to think of UUCE as your religious home and to help keep it a safe place for all ages to worship, explore, share, and celebrate in community.

  • There must be at least one responsible adult over age 18 and a second person 13 years of age or older with children while in childcare.
  • You may request childcare using the guidelines that follow.
  • An age-appropriate ratio of caregivers to children will be as follows:
  • 0-3 years old – One caregiver per every four children
  • 3-7 years old – One caregiver per every six children
  • 8-12 years old – One caregiver per every eight children
  • If the appropriate level of childcare is not available, children must remain with their parents or guardians.
  • Doors to the designated child care areas will be closed and signs will be posted indicating that childcare is not available and that the designated child care areas may only be used by children or youth accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
  • Childcare providers 18 years and older will be screened via an online vendor, the State of Illinois website, and the Department of Children and Family Services.
  • Youth ages 13 through 17 years of age will be trained on policies and procedures, and are encouraged to complete a babysitting course at the cost of UUCE.
  • Note that due to severe allergies, snacks are not permitted in the childcare room, and that popcorn cannot be made on the premises.

Requesting Childcare

UUCE is responsible for arranging and paying for childcare for the following:

  • Sunday services and Adult REE courses
  • Congregational Business Meetings, such as the Annual meeting and other specially called meetings designated as congregational meetings per the bylaws Organizers/leaders are responsible for arranging and paying for childcare for the following:
    • Committee meetings
    • Church social events
    • Weddings or memorial services
    • Other church-sponsored events
    • Major church ceremonies, such as Ordination and Building Dedication

Procedures to Request Childcare:

1) Give notice at least two weeks in advance to the Director of Religious Exploration and Education (DREE)

2) Submit your request to the DREE by email at, or if email is not possible, leave a message at 224-276-9412.

3) When submitting your request, you must complete a Childcare Request Form, located by the mailboxes, or furnish the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your contact information for follow up (email/phone number)
  3. The name of the committee/group/event requesting childcare
  4. Cell phone number of person who will be in charge on site during the event/meeting
  5. The date and time when care is needed (Please estimate the actual time at which the caregiver will be able to leave. For example, if your event is expected to end at 2:00, allow some extra time for all the children to be picked up and for clean-up of the childcare area. Fifteen minutes is generally sufficient, so an end-time of 2:15 for childcare would be appropriate in this example.)
  6. The room at the church in which the meeting will be taking place
  7. The approximate number and ages of children who will need care
  8. If payment to childcare providers is coming from their committee/group budget, or if it is coming from individuals.
  9. When advertising that childcare is available, use these words:  Childcare provided if enough requests are received at least one week in advance.”
  10. Payment to childcare workers

If a committee/group was approved for “unscheduled childcare” in the current year’s budget, then payment will be made from that account. If a committee/group has used their given amount, then the committee/group will follow #2 below.

If a committee/group does not have access to “unscheduled childcare” in the current year’s budget, then they shall make payment to UUCE for the cost of childcare, at the current hourly rate for childcare, one week prior to the date of service. The committee/group can pool their monies to pay for childcare for the members who need it. Any monies collected should be given to the DREE in a marked envelope to process through UUCE accounting. For accounting purposes, the Finance Committee shall track these monies via the “Unscheduled Childcare” line of the operating budget.

PLEASE keep in mind that childcare is $12-20 per hour per caregiver, and that a minimum of two caregivers are required at all times. Confirm with parents that childcare will be needed before submitting your request. If you should learn before your event that care will not be needed after all, alert the DREE immediately

Atypical Childcare Space Use Procedures:

If a member or staff person needs childcare for irregular church business, then the following  procedure must be followed. “Atypical church business” is defined here as a gathering related to the workings of UUCE that has not been advertised to the UUCE community for participation, and where no announcements have been made saying that childcare will be provided. Examples would be: a brainstorming or planning meeting; a group that meets sporadically; or a closed group that meets regularly. Childcare in these instances can be provided by an individual/parent at their cost. This childcare provider cannot be a UUCE-paid childcare worker, whether an adult or youth. The individual/parent must be on UUCE property, and is responsible for their child(ren).

Rather than contacting childcare workers individually, please follow these procedures:

  1.  Notify the DREE ( and the Church Administrator ( of the date and time you will be using the space
  2. Before leaving the space, clean toys that have been used with disinfectant cleaning wipes from the closet, and return toys to the appropriate container/place.
  3. Clear and wipe the chairs and table
  4. Vacuum the carpet if needed
  5. Turn off the lights
  6. Close any open windows
  7. Lock and close the door, and hang the “Childcare Closed” sign on the door
  8. Return key to “Administrator” mailbox
  9. Note that due to severe allergies, snacks are not permitted in the childcare room, and that popcorn cannot be made on the premises.


If a person/group renting or using UUCE space requests to use the childcare room during an event, such as a memorial or wedding, the Church Administrator will notify the DREE the date and times of the event. The Church Administrator is responsible for notifying the person/group using the space to follow steps 2-9 above.

Rental rate (when applicable) is $15

Submitted By,

Kathy Underwood