Virtual Religious Education at UUAsheville
There will be spiritual elements to our virtual gatherings to help foster UU faith development and personal growth. There will also be an intentional focus on FUN, social and supportive connections, compassion, inspiration and justice – our UUAsheville core values.
Religious education for children and youth has been divided into 4 groups: PreK-3rd grade, 4th-6th grade, 7th-9th grade, and 10th-12th grade. Groups typically meet two Sundays/month via Zoom: PreK-3rd & 10th-12th meet on the first and third Sundays of the month and 4th-6th & 7th-9th meet on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.
What to Expect Sunday Morning
Welcome! Please sign in at the Welcome Table in the lobby before service. Children are invited to begin service (9:15 or 11:15) in the Sanctuary.
Every Sunday Begins with Time for All Ages
Time For All Ages (TFAA) is a special time when our whole community – children, teens, parents, young adults to elders, RE teachers…everyone! – is together for the beginning of worship in the Sanctuary for an opening, song, and story. We encourage parents to begin bringing children to TFAA at a young age! Children are learning the rhythms, patterns, sights, and sounds of our hymns, traditions, and rituals. Families may enjoy the seating area right up front: large floor pillows create a comfortable space where kids and their parents can really see what’s happening.
After TFAA, children and teachers are sung out to their classes. Kids, look for your peer group and grade sign to walk to class together.
Parents, stay and visit following the service! Classes go until half past the hour so the adults can connect too. Please pick up your child (under 11 years old) from class by 10:30/12:30 or plan a meeting spot for older kids.
Childcare is available for very young children (0-5 years old) during the entire worship service, including TFAA. Please sign them in with the child care staff downstairs in the nursery or Pre-K room either before the worship service or following TFAA.
All children are welcome to attend worship anytime, with their families. Audio from worship is broadcast in Sandburg Hall, across the foyer from the Sanctuary, for anyone more comfortable there.
Several Sundays each year, we have Multigenerational Worship in the Sanctuary with NO RE CLASSES except nursery and preK. Check the RE Calendar for specific dates.
Religious Education Calendar
Volunteer In RE
Register for RE Classes
RE Class Descriptions
Nursery, Ages 0-2 at 9:15 and 11:15
Staffed by paid caregivers to provide comfort and care. This is a choice that reflects our belief that consistency and stability in childcare is key to our goal: helping little ones have a positive experience at church while supporting parents with high quality care as they worship and engage in their own faith development. You may leave your child with our staff before the service begins or following Time for All Ages in the Sanctuary. Please sign in with child care staff each Sunday.
Nursery care, for children from birth to around two years old, is focused on what faith theorist James Fowler calls the Primal stage: babies and toddlers need to have their emotional needs met first, in the beginning of life. This lays the foundation for trust in the world, and in our church community as a comfortable place. Note: we use texting to contact you if a baby is unhappy for an extended period during the worship service. We will ask that you come down to assist us in understanding and meeting your child’s needs.
PreK Chalice Children, Ages 3-4 at 9:15 and 11:15
Story and play time to serve the curiosity and wonder of our young children. This class is staffed by paid caregivers to provide consistency and stability and help little ones have a positive experience at church while supporting parents with high quality care as they worship and engage in their own faith development. You may leave your child with our staff before the service begins or following Time for All Ages in the Sanctuary. Please sign in with child care staff each Sunday.
This class sets the stage for loving church. Early childhood (the years between ages 2 and 5) is filled with curiosity and wonder. In a group setting, with caring adult guides, young children can engage in spiritual seeking, develop their openness to sharing, and experience the benefit of a supportive community. Their time in Chalice Children can set a pattern for the rest of their lives and bring lasting benefits.
We start with free play as children get signed in and then we have circle time, followed by a curated story, activity time and more free play. You can often find us on the playground when the weather permits.
All Ages RE at 9:15
This is held in RE Commons after Time for All Ages in the Sanctuary.
Love Surrounds Us explores the UU Principles in the context of Beloved Community through activities and story. The class is open to all children/youth.
At the core of our Unitarian Universalist community are our seven Principles. The Principles encompass all the ingredients of a good and faith-filled life based on equality, freedom, peace, acceptance, truth, care, and love. This program explores all the Principles in the context of Beloved Community.
Principles are introduced with opening activities and story. The processing through wonder questions is extremely important to allow children to see the Principles at work in the world. Rather than listing the ways love surrounds us when we are treated equally, participants engage in ways to identify equality by the love shown in community. By Session 16, children will be able to articulate all seven Principles.
Sessions based on the Principles allow children to articulate their faith in the world. Participants come knowing they are Unitarian Universalists, and leave knowing why, as the Principles help answer the question “Why do I belong?”
This program will:
- Teach the seven Unitarian Universalist Principles
- Develop connections among love, the Principles, and the communities of home, school, faith, and world
- Lift up Unitarian Universalism and the Principles in activities and stories
- Teach children skills for forgiveness, love, sharing, acceptance, caring, and peace in a loving community
- Explore rituals that help us focus on and celebrate UU Principles.
Religious Education Classes for K-12th Grade (11:15-12:30)
RE classes for children k-12th grade occur after Time for All Ages in the Sanctuary. Classes are grouped by grade and use curricula noted below.
K-2nd Grade: Spirit Play— RE Commons
This program presents core “sacred stories” of faith and meaning, inviting children to engage more deeply with those tales through wondering questions and their choice of activity centers with carefully curated resources and materials. Centers may include: Contemplation, Art, Movement, Drama, Music, MakerSpace, or Nature.
Humans learn best through stories told well and via hands-on work. This program presents core “sacred stories” of our own and others’ faiths, inviting children to engage more deeply with those tales through wondering questions and their choice of activity centers with high-quality, carefully curated resources and materials. Spirit Play helps children make meaning of their lives, supporting the formation of a spiritual community of and for children where religious experience comes alive through story, circle, song, and creative work. The essential elements of this Montessori-based approach are equal parts trust in the value of storytelling, and in our children: to choose work they most need to fully understand and engage with the story of the day. Multiple learning styles are supported throughout. Activity centers, depending on who is available to teach on any given Sunday, may include Storytelling, Drama/Movement, Music, Contemplation, Art & MakerSpace Classrooms.
3rd/4th Grade: Toolbox of Faith —Downstairs Classroom 5
This class invites participants to reflect on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own faith. Each session uses a tool as a metaphor. Toolbox of Faith invites participants to reflect on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own faith.
Each of the 16 sessions uses a tool as a metaphor for an important quality of our faith such as reflection (symbolized by a mirror), flexibility (duct tape), and justice (a flashlight).
What tools does Unitarian Universalism offer for the challenges of life? Children discover what aspects of UU faith are helpful to them, developing a toolbox of faith. Goals: Reflecting on the qualities (tools) of our faith, children and leaders gain insight into what makes our faith important in their lives, and how they can grow in our faith.Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
5th/6th Grades: Riddle and Mystery — 21 Edwin Main Level
This class asks the big questions like, “What is religion?” “Does God exist?” “What happens when we die?” Participants engage those with a wide range of inquiry, activity and exploration. Hint: There is no one right answer for everyone, but we can seek to find our own answers.
In this year, this class will be supported as they begin to ask big questions. Each of the 16 sessions introduces and processes a Big Question to unpack with a wide range of inquiry, activity and exploration. What is religion? How does it help us make meaning of life? Does God exist? What happens when we die? What does Unitarian Universalism mean to me?
This class invites exploration and engagement on the topic of faith and helps kids begin the lifelong journey of asking questions only they can answer. The theological underpinning is our UU belief that “revelation is not sealed”–we can seek and find answers to big questions. Goals: This program includes goals shared with all Tapestry of Faith programs:Ethical developmentSpiritual developmentUnitarian Universalist identity developmentFaith development.
Riddle and Mystery also aims to:Teach participants to accept, appreciate and celebrate mystery, ambiguity and contradiction as part of human life and the starting points of religionExplore Unitarian Universalist responses to big questionsFoster participants own personal, spiritual responses to big questionsDemonstrate the importance of questioning thought to Unitarian Universalist faith and its value in personal and communal lifeGuide participants to develop and practice the skill of abstract thought.
7th/ 8th grade: Our Whole Lives (OWL) (closed class after September 8, 2019)
OWL is a comprehensive sexuality curriculum. It dismantles stereotypes, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision-making, and has potential to save lives. The program is centered on values of self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice, and inclusivity.
Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision-making, and has the potential to save lives. While OWL is secular, it is not value-free. The program gives clear messages about key issues of self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice, and inclusivity. Our Whole Lives curricula are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (http://sexedu.org.tw/guideline.pdf) produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education, and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). This class requires pre-registration, a parent-orientation session before the church year starts and is limited to 12 participants. Once the classes begin, no new members are accepted into the class. Consequently, we offer an alternate class for this age group. For more information, visit https://uuasheville.org/owl-ministry/
7th-9th Grades: Neighboring Faiths — 21 Edwin Classroom 7 (and frequent field trips)
This curriculum focuses on learning about and experiencing other faiths and ways to worship, by studying and visiting communities of faith. We explore the experiential, emotional, social and artistic dimensions of religion, and how it ties back to Unitarian Universalism. 9th graders planning to do Coming of Age next year should join this class.
In addition to the regularly registered 7th-9th graders, this class hosts visiting 7th-9th graders.
This curriculum focuses on learning about and then experiencing other faiths and ways to worship, by going out to those communities of faith and experiencing them directly. Here we turn our attention to the experiential or emotional dimension: what does it feel like to be part of a worship service in another faith community? We also consider the social component: how should we behave so that we fit in as well as possible to another faith community’s social structure? Finally, in this course we directly experience the material or artistic dimension: when we visit another faith community, what beauty do we experience, what art and architecture, what music, what smells, what tastes, what movement or comfort or discomfort? (adapted from words by Dan Harper). Each of several neighboring faiths is explored for three Sundays in a row: on the first, we learn about it; second, we go out and experience it, and third, we take time to discuss and share how the experience was for us. We believe such careful consideration of other religious experiences enlightens and opens our minds to the value of diverse worldviews–and to the shared human search for truth and meaning.
9th grade: Coming of Age (closed class after September 8, 2019)
This special program supports a time when youth are coming to a fuller understanding of themselves as individuals on a journey of faith exploration and definition. Guided by teachers and mentors, Coming of Age students go deep to develop and share their personal credos (“what I set my heart to”) in a special worship service in the spring as a capstone experience.
The class requires extremely consistent attendance and a commitment of both students and their parents. Three Saturdays (with at least 1 overnight) are scheduled for retreats, where more time can be devoted to exploration of the values and beliefs of the participants.
Attending the Youth Conference at The Mountain Learning & Retreat Center (Highlands, NC) is strongly encouraged as part of their introduction to the greater world of Unitarian Universalists. There is a tuition fee of $50 per student for member families for this class. For those families for whom this is an impossible amount, scholarships are available. This class requires pre-registration and a parent-orientation session before the church year starts. If families who are involved in this class choose to, an end-of-year trip is scheduled in the summer. This will require fundraising and trip-planning efforts by the families. Once the classes begin, no new members are accepted into the class. Consequently, we allow 9th graders who are not enrolled in the Coming of Age class to participate in our youth group, called YRUU, or our Neighboring Faiths class.
9th Graders NOT in Coming of Age
9th graders not in Coming of Age may choose to join Neighboring Faiths (7th-9th) or YRUU (10th-12th). If they intend to participate in Coming of Age the following year, they should join the Neighboring Faiths class.
10th-12th Grades (YRUU – Young Religious Unitarian Universalists): Virtue Ethics— 23 Edwin
“Our thoughts and actions become habits and our habits shape our character.” We can shape ourselves by making intentional, thoughtful decisions. This class provides a gateway into ethical decision making and character development.
We make hundreds of decisions every day. Some are small. Some are life changing, although we may not know their significance when we make them. This program’s premise—in the words of the Buddha, recited in every workshop Opening—is that “our thoughts and actions become habits and our habits shape our character.” We have some control over our character. We can shape the person we want to be by making intentional, thoughtful decisions.
The virtues presented in this program were selected, from a large number one might cultivate, to provide a gateway into ethical decision making and character development. It is hoped that youth will use these virtues throughout their lives.
- Build capacity to identify messages received from media, family, religion, peers, and society about specific virtues, and to discern how to apply these virtues in real life
- Demonstrate the healthy practice of virtues
- Explore personal experiences relevant to a variety of virtues
- Engage group processing of a variety of ethical dilemmas
- Invite a grappling with ethical choices that pit one virtue or belief against another deeply held value
- Encourage participants to lead intentional, ethical lives.
Our Summer Sundays (start June 7, 2020) include children from Nursery-5th grades who meet from 10-11:15 AM. Children from kindergarten-5th meet as one large group in the RE Commons space. This includes:
- Welcoming time with rituals, silence, and introduction of the topic
- A guest presenter and activities
- Free play on the playground
Youth in 6th grade and above can volunteer to help with the younger children or attend services with their parents/guardians. If not volunteering in the religious education program, they must be supervised by their parents.
NOTE: This will be updated when the summer programming is decided upon each year.