FAMILY MINISTRY

Religious Education

Religious education at Channing, like Unitarian Universalism, is non-creedal and promotes the seven principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

We encourage children to develop their own statements of belief after learning about Unitarian Universalism, but also about different world religions and great thinkers throughout time. Children draw from diverse perspectives to find what applies to them at this moment in their lives. As they get older, they join in discussions about the big questions of the universe, such as why bad things sometimes happen and what happens after you die.

Learning to Think for Themselves

From September through June, we welcome children from ages 3 to 18 to our one-room schoolhouse setting, building their understanding of religion, the concept of beliefs, and the search for truth. Working through different media and at age-appropriate levels of sophistication, children have the opportunity to begin to develop the critical capacity to think for themselves about religion and values.

Our philosophy of religious education aligns with the adult concept that you are on your own religious and spiritual path, hearing what speaks to you at each point in life.

Children learn from many viewpoints, including mentors from within the church. These adults come to Unitarian Universalism with their own different religious backgrounds and philosophical perspectives, so children can be matched with members who best fit their explorations. We address different themes each year: one year we’ll focus on the Unitarian Universalist principles, another year it may be the array of world religions, and another year, a social justice focus.

The program also engages children in making a difference through social justice projects. In addition to Sunday classes, we take part in activities like cooking for the community meal or raising money for the Pell School in the Newport opportunity zone, one of our partners.

Who Teaches Channing Church Religious Education?

Our program is led by Jessica Thomas, religious education director, who counts on parents and other member volunteers to participate at different times during the year. Parents’ roles in their children’s religious education is primary, and we encourage all parents to find the best way to be involved in our program both in and outside classes.

Youth Group

We have an active youth group for 6th to 12th grade meeting on the second and fourth Sunday of the month from 6-8 p.m. We plan social activities for fun. We also engage in social justice projects based on the group’s interests. An example of one of their favorites is raising money to purchase gifts for kids who are in the foster-care system and of an age when they have no allowance of their own for Christmas gifts.

The OWL program,“Our Whole Lives”

OWL is a comprehensive sexual education program that Channing offers in three stages. The kindergarten to first grade group focuses on questions like “where do babies come from?” In fourth to sixth grade, the focus is on changing bodies and changing minds. And for seventh and eighth graders, we offer a year-long, comprehensive program appropriate for young people entering the high school years.

Coming of Age program

Coming of Age marks the transition from childhood to “Youth” status. It is a rite of passage for eighth-to-twelfth graders who wish to explore as a group and as individuals their own spiritual path, personal value system, and role in their family, church, and community. Adult mentors from the congregation facilitate and enrich their journey. The program meets bi-monthly for eight months and culminates in the writing and presentation of personal faith expressions, along with a celebration of this rite of passage.

Contact

Religious Education Director Jessica Thomas 401-787-8973 or JessicaT@gmail.com