Coming of Age program description

The UU Church of Palo Alto (UUCPA) will not be offering the popular Coming of Age program in 2019-2020 for youth entering grades 8-9 in the fall. Check back in the fall of 2020.

The goal of our Coming of Age program is to help young people sort out their ethical and religious identity (recognizing that some young people do not feel religious at all), so that they may make rational decisions about the kind of person they want to become.

We have three objectives that help us reach this broad goal:

  • (1) We want participants to have fun, and to bond with a community of young people who share similar moral and spiritual values.
  • (2) We want participants to articulate their own ethical and religious identity, to gain a deeper sense of identity and to present that identity through the arts, spoken word, etc.
  • (3) We want participants to engage in direct action, including social justice projects and the arts, so they can experience living out their religious and ethical values in the world.

We will help young people meet these three objectives through five types of fun activities:

  • (A) 18 regular meetings: Participants will have 14 class meetings to get to know each other, have fun, and reflect on religion and ethics. Most meetings will be on Sunday morning at 11:00-12:15; see calendar below for exceptions. There will also be 4 sessions devoted to making life-size plywood self-portraits. Participants should attend an absolute minimum of 12 of the regular meetings, and 2 of the meetings for making the self-portraits.
  • (B) Participants will cook and serve dinner to the Hotel de Zink homeless shelter on Sun., Sept. 15, or Sun., Sept. 22, 2019, from 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  • (C) Participants will meet with an adult mentor of their choice, responsible adults from the congregation who can help them reflect on their identities. (We will assist families in finding appropriate adults from whom they can choose a mentor who will be a good match.) Participants meet with mentors six times from January through May.
  • (D) Participants will write a “credo statement” setting forth their ethical and religious identity, at this moment in their lives. These statements are usually about 500-700 words long. Mentors help youth write their credos. You can read some sample Coming of Age credos online here.
  • (E) Participants will lead the services here at UUCPA on Sunday, May 17, 2020 (both the 9:30 and 11:00 services), during which they present their “credo statements.” After the services, participants attend a closing celebration with a potluck lunch; parents and family members may also attend the closing celebration. Participants must be present at both services, and at the lunch afterwards.

Youth say that the Coming of Age program is both fun and meaningful. The program will help them grow in self-knowledge, it will allow them to spend time with youth and adults who share similar values, and it provides additional strong adult role models at a time in life when that’s what many young people are looking for.

If you have any questions, or would like to sign up for this program, contact Rev. Dan Harper.

The complete curriculum is online here.


All group meetings take place at UUCPA, Sun. from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., with a few exceptions. The order of some of the sessions may change, but the dates of class sessions and field trips will remain the same.


Sometime in August
Youth and parents meet with the minister of religious education to go over the calendar for Coming of Age, and ask any questions about the program. Meeting is scheduled for Room A (if there are too many people, we will head outside to the covered patio).


January – May, self-scheduled
In addition to the group meetings, participants will arrange to meet on their own with their mentors at least six times from January through May. Mentor meetings are an excellent time for youth to work on their “credo” statements, their statements of who they are as religious and/or ethical persons. It is possible for youth to complete their credo statements during mentor meetings, without any additional time commitment. (Note that Coming of Age graduates tell us that the mentor meetings can be the best part of the program, and they may wish to meet more frequently.) Click here for mentor information.

Coming of Age Calendar

Nothing scheduled at this time.