From the Assoc. Minister of Religious Education

The Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) Committee and I are coming up with plans for COVID-safe programs where kids can have fun and build community, and learn something too. Our plan for the coming school year is to offer both in-person programs, and online programs for families who need that option.

We’ll have two online options beginning in September: online Sunday school for gr. K-5 at 9:30 a.m., and online “Neighboring Religions” class for gr. 6-8 at 11:00 a.m. These two online options will build on our successful online programs from last school year.

For in-person programs, we’ll offer Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. for gr. K-2 and gr. 3-5, as well as Ecojustice class for gr. 6-8 at the same time. The gr. K-2 Sunday school will include eight weeks of the age-appropriate OWL sexuality education program which provides age-appropriate knowledge about families, children’s bodies, and child protection and safety.

In addition to Sunday school programs, we’ll also offer two more age levels of OWL sexuality education. We’ll offer ten weeks of OWL for gr. 4-6 Sundays at 11:00 a.m. beginning in January. And we’ll offer twenty-five weeks of OWL for gr. 7-9 Sundays at 3:30 p.m. (families with children in this age range will soon receive a letter about this program). The curriculum developers require OWL to be offered in person, so we can’t offer OWL online.

Given the current state of the pandemic, all in-person programs will be held outdoors, masks will be required, and we’ll have physical distancing. All volunteers and paid staff will be fully vaccinated. In the past twelve months, we’ve had successful and safe in-person Sunday school and OWL programs, as well as a three-week in-person day camp, and we’ll build on what we’ve learned to offer more safe, fun, educational in-person kid’s programming.

We’re still working on plans for preschoolers (ages 3-4), and safe child care for infants and toddlers during Sunday worship services. We welcome suggestions from families with children in these age ranges.

Senior High Youth Group will meet in-person only, at the request of the youth. Meetings will be Sundays at 6:30.

Because of the extra preparation COVID-safe programming requires, we’re delaying the start of Sunday school this year. The first in-person worship services will be the “Water Communion” service on Sunday, August 29, which will be open to kids and adults together. The next Sunday, September 6, is Labor Day weekend, when we won’t have any Sunday school programming. So we’re going to start regular Sunday school programs on Sunday, September 12.

In the mean time, we’ll continue to offer summer Sunday school at 11:45 a.m., after the summer online worship service. Summer Sunday school welcomes children in person, and on Zoom. This coming Sunday, Aug. 8, I’ll be teaching summer Sunday school with Francesca Finch and Carol Steinfeld. We’ll have a story and then do a fun activity. Hope you can join us!

And keep watching your email for further updates on UUCPA’s programs for kids.

— Dan Harper