Religious Exploration & Education
If you are looking for a religion with spiritual depth and integrity, but without dogma and guilt, we invite you and your children to visit the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin. There are opportunities for worship, community service, the arts, friendship, and intergenerational activities.
We would like to help your children develop a workable faith, an interest in social action, and a better understanding of the world in which we live.
Children’s Religious Exploration & Education
The church provides programs for preschool, primary, elementary, middle school, and senior high age groups. Children and youth join their parents for the first part of the worship service and then move to their religious education classes at an announced time. There is a nursery for children under five years of age.
The Religious Exploration and Education Team (REE) of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin understands the purpose of religious education to be:
- to encourage moral and spiritual growth.
- to create a church environment in which children feel comfortable and to which they are drawn.
- to nurture in our children a sense of community and the feeling of being valued participants, and being connected to the group.
- to offer children a Unitarian Universalist religious identity.
- to assist children in their growth towards greater self-acceptance and self-determination.
- to celebrate life and life’s transitions.
- to respect the beliefs of others and the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.
- to encourage self-expression.
Religious education in Unitarian Universalist churches promotes the principles of the inherent worth and dignity of every person, equality in human relations, and the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.
Wide ranges of religious education programs are available for use in Unitarian Universalist churches. Topics may vary each year. Shown below are some examples of possible topics:
Children ages 3-5 learn about their religious community, learn about the freedom to discover, and express their uniqueness through art, play, and stories. This program celebrates the wondrous qualities of children themselves and expands outward to the people and the environment around them.
Children in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade study the many ways Unitarian Universalists and other denominations view God. They are introduced to faith stories in the Bible and other religious writings and how our religious ancestors understood God’s activity in their lives. Children become acquainted with their own Unitarian Universalist community, including the people, the building, the rituals, and celebrations. Peace, the environment, and social action are introduced.
Children in Grades 3 through 5 study stories from religions around the world. Children may explore the events of Jesus’ life, his teachings, and the customs of the times. Programming may include the story of creation from the “big bang” through human evolution along with other creation stories. Social action is continued.
Children in Grades 6 through 8 study the teachings from religions around the world. The curriculum covers Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, and African Religions. Other curricula include learning about our Judeo-Christian heritage, Unitarian Universalist identity, and social action.
Grades 9 and up will discuss the book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” and how it relates to Unitarian Universalism. Young people and their teachers may explore together the power that everyone’s creativity has in shaping the world. Youth may discuss moral issues from the Unitarian Universalist perspective to develop and enhance techniques of critical and creative thinking. The nature and meaning of spirituality is considered. One Sunday per month is a social activity. Youth conferences provide a chance to meet other youth in Unitarian Universalist churches.
Occasional intergenerational Sunday services are offered. Children attend this entire service with their parents.
The Church is committed to providing opportunities that will make religious growth and learning a lifelong process.
Adult Religious Exploration & Education
Something’s happening in the rafters of our barn. Every Sunday morning, beginning at 9:00, adults of all stripes are climbing the stairs or riding the elevator up to the third floor to meet. It’s our Adult Spirituality classes.
If you’re 16 or older, you’re invited to participate. Everyone in attendance contributes from his or her own experiences, readings and thoughts. The subject matter in the sessions that have ensued since its commencement several years ago, have included writing one’s own spiritual autobiography; discussing other liberal religions; delving into human nature and its place in the religious experience; defining one’s own ultimate reality; studying Unitarian Universalist church history; determining what is “holy”; considering the question “Is There Sin?”; evaluating good, evil and eschatology (the end of all things); and acknowledging and sharing ideas of justice.
It shows no signs of letting up, so no one has an excuse for not coming, except their inability to get up a little earlier on Sunday mornings. Plus there’s childcare for those who need it and coffee for those who need that.
You can join the group any Sunday, so why not live on the wild side? Join the Adult Spirituality pre-worship service, mental exercising group. There is no telling where the discussion may take you.