Families & Youth

The mission of the Religious Exploration (RE) program at First Parish is to provide a supportive, welcoming environment where children, teens, and their families can connect with one another in such a way that empowers them to explore their spiritual identity, deepen their understanding of Unitarian Universalism, and become champions of justice, diversity, and environmental stewardship in our local community and the wider world. Our RE program is supportive, explorative and energizing for our children and teens. RE programming is developed collaboratively by First Parish professional staff and the Religious Exploration committee. Our Director of Religious Exploration is Toben Cooney-Callnan.  

Children’s RE

Sundays in the Religious Exploration (RE) program start off one of four three ways:

  1. Most weeks, children begin in the Meeting House for the first portion of the worship service and will be “sung out” to classes after the Chalice Lighting, Covenant and Opening Hymn. One Sunday a month, children are invited to the front of the Meeting House for a Time for All Ages story before being sung out to classes.
  2. Children’s Chapel is held one Sunday a month. On these Sundays, children will not join for any part of worship in the Meeting House – they will begin and end in the downstairs Community Room. Children’s Chapel is a worship service designed specifically for children and teens.
  3. A few times a year we have Intergenerational Services, where children stay in the Meeting House for the entire service. Books and coloring pages are provided for those who need them.

Families can find out which RE program is happening on a Sunday in the Order of Service, the sandwich board in the front of the Parish Hall, the RE calendar, or during the morning announcements that precede worship.

There are four RE classes that meet during the service each Sunday which are organized by grade level: Pre/K/1, 2/3, 4/5, 6/7/8. This year, all classes are using lesson plans from the Tapestry of Faith curriculum provided by the UUA. In addition, we also offer the K/1, 4/5, 7-9, and 11/12 Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education classes on a rotating basis.

We ask that families who plan on attending the RE Program regularly register their children. Registration forms are available in the classrooms and in the DRE’s office.

Parents are always welcome to join their children for Times for All Ages, their classes, and Children’s Chapel. If you should choose to have your children join you for any part of the worship in the meeting hall, please know that the Parish Hall just outside the sanctuary is equipped with an audio system for parents and infants that want to enjoy the sermon but need space to move around.

Nursery Care

Nursery Care is provided in our lovely playroom, on the second floor of the Parish Hall, for infants and toddlers who may need it. Parents are always welcome to stay with their children, but if you do decide to drop your child off, please sign them in and leave your cell phone number in case we need to reach you during the service.

Youth (Adolescent & Teen) Religious Exploration Coming of Age

Coming of age is a year-long program which provides Youth with tools they can use to shape their spiritual journeys. The year provides time for a deep process that transforms lives. This program is offered every other year and culminates with the youth that are Coming of Age doing a worship service for the congregation.

Youth Group

The purpose of the Youth Group at First Parish is multi-faceted. We encourage spiritual growth and religious exploration within the group. We also help youth to develop leadership skills by providing a welcoming environment where they can build a sense of community and connection – within the group as well as the larger congregation and community. Youth Group is open to all High School students, grades 9-12. Youth Group Meetings are led by the Youth Advisor and meet most Sundays from 7pm-8:30pm in the Youth Room.