PHILOSOPHY AND DESCRIPTION
Words like these are commonly recited when a chalice is lit, at the start of a children's religious education session. First Unitarian Church offers religious education programming for children on Sunday mornings (September through early June), concurrent with Worship Services. And there is a Nursery for babies and toddlers.
Unitarian Universalists believe that faith is a journey we take together. Religious education takes a lifetime. It happens both within and beyond a congregation's walls. We support one another as individuals, families, and communities in an ongoing search for truth and meaning. We strive to guide one another - all ages among us - in religious questioning, personal change, and discovering ways to better live in faith.
Our age-appropriate programs seek to nurture truth-seeking, spirituality, and progressive moral values that will continue to shape and support our children as they grow. Through these religious education programs and the inclusion of children in worship, social justice work, and multigenerational gatherings, our communities reinforce what parents teach at home.
Children’s Religious Education (CRE) for children in Kindergarten through sixth grade, runs concurrent with church service, 11:00 am – 12:15/30 pm on Sundays (CRE does not run during our summer worship series).
Most Sunday mornings, CRE will spend the first 15-20 minutes in the main Sanctuary, for “All Ages” Sundays, or in the Joseph Priestly Chapel, for “Children’s Chapel”. During “Intergenerational Sundays,” children will stay in the main sanctuary for the entire service.
Every first Sunday of the month, CRE and First Church Voices will host a music class for all interested children and families, 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm in the CRE classroom.
The nursery program at First Unitarian is available every Sunday and during special events. The nursery serves children from birth to 5 years old. Click here to register your child for childcare.
Our Nursery provides a caring and fun-filled environment every Sunday morning from 10:45 AM to 12:30 PM during the regular church year (Sept. - mid June), and from 9:45 AM to 11:30 AM during our summer worship series (mid June - Sept).
Parents and guardians, if you attend services regularly, please be sure to register your child online, or come early to register in person.
We welcome parents/guardians and those who are visiting! When you arrive, please fill out a short visitor information sheet so our caregivers will know the needs of your child and where in the building you can be located. To keep everyone’s comfort in mind, please don't bring your child to church or the Nursery if they are not feeling well. We also ask you to bring a spare diaper, a bottle, and a favorite toy for your child.
Nursery is looking for amazing volunteers to work with our Sunday School program! If you love working with children, coloring, or making music, we're looking for you! Nursery volunteers typically volunteer once an month, or once every other month, depending on the total number of volunteers and availability. Email Shantala Thompson, Director of Religious Education at dre(at)philauu.org to get involved.
You must pass a child abuse and PA criminal clearance to volunteer.
PA Criminal Background Clearance- Free for Volunteers
PA Child Abuse Clearance (We will reimburse fee)
We believe that every child has inherent worth and dignity. We, therefore, offer a special rite of passage for children called Baby or Child Dedications - an alternative to traditional christening, or brit milah ceremonies.
We welcome children into the world with a Ceremony of Naming, Dedication and Blessing. Unitarian Universalists believe every child is born in goodness. In this ceremony, we dedicate children to the highest purposes in life, and acknowledge and recognize the child’s parents and god-parents, if any. And we dedicate ourselves as a religious community to actively supporting children and their families.
A Child Dedication ceremony can take place as a part of a regular Sunday worship service, or it can be done at another time and place if the family prefers. For a baby or very young child, we celebrate his or her arrival into the world by proclaiming the uniqueness of this new life and our connection with the wider human community. A family whose older children have not been dedicated before can celebrate and be formally welcomed with a Dedication Ceremony appropriate for the family and the age of the child(ren) as well.
As poet Nancy Wood (from "What to Leave Behind") reminds us:
The only gift to leave children is example.
The only road to show is awareness.
The only blessing to give is responsibility.
The only memory to take is one of love.
If you and your family are interested in holding a baby dedication, please contact our minister, Reverend Abbey Tennis.