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Family Ministry Model of Faith Formation at 11:30am

Many years ago this congregation began the shift from traditional children’s religious education to a family ministry model. This forward thinking shift is a main reason the portfolio for my position looked the way it did when you hired me over 3 years ago. Together, we have leaned into what it means to look at a whole-family approach to faith formation and family ministry. Without taking away the successful aspects of our Sunday Children’s Religious Education programs, we have experimented with what CRE looks like and what non-Sunday engagement with families could be in an increasingly multigenerationally-minded community.

Over the last 2 ½ years we have had a faithful group of children’s religious education leaders who have spearheaded and led our Rainbow Adventurers class during the 11:30am service. I am still convinced the model of this class is one of the best we offer with its roots in in-depth engagement with Unitarian Universalist principles and sources through story and hands-on learning based in multi-age and multi-learning style stations. It is an exciting model for how we might do children’s faith formation. This model has served us in providing a meaningful experience at the 11:30 service where attendance fluctuates and we get a number of visiting families. However, this year we will be taking a break from Rainbow Adventurers (though I am sure we will see this program again in different settings) in order to lean into a new way of doing religious education at 11:30.

This year we will be experimenting with not just leaning but leaping into a commitment to family ministry as our model for 11:30 religious education. (Our 9:30am Children’s Religious Education program will continue to offer fantastic, enriching programs for ages 3-12). We will be building a series of shorter modules (4-8 weeks) that allow for different types of learning, with a heavy focus on family-based and multigenerational learning.

I am also excited about a new development in the long partnership between Children and Family Ministry and Music and Worship. We will be offering Emerging Voices, our Children’s Chorus directed by Lynn Mendoza-Kahn during the 11:30am service time. Chorus members will rehearse every Sunday, however, any child (6-12 years old) can join the chorus for a Sunday morning as their choice for religious education—even if they are just visiting for the day!

We will continue to offer childcare for all ages of children (birth through 6th grade) and older children may want to stay in the service and be a part of the exciting new way 11:30 worship is engaging conversation and interaction during the sermon time (see Rev. Ian’s article for more information).

11:30 Fall Schedule:

Sept. 17th through Oct. 4th – 6th grade Our Whole Lives (registration required; no drop-ins)

Nov. 5th – December 17th: Family World Religions (parent/guardian and child class; drop-ins welcome)

Every Sunday:

Emerging Voices (6-12 years old choir; joining the chorus recommended but drop-ins welcome)

Childcare (birth through 12 years old)

Between services opportunities:

First Sunday of the month: Parents’ Lounge (all parents of children and youth welcome)

Third Sunday of the month: Music for All Ages (multigenerational music class)

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