The day begins at 8:45a with Faith Formation through music as our Choir rehearses for the 10:00a service and the child care staff provide a safe and fun start to the day. By 9:30, the Faith Formation teams are preparing for their programs for the Preschool – 1st Graders, 2nd and 3rd Graders, 4th and 5th Graders, 6th and 7th Graders, and the 8th and 9th Graders. Our Lead Baby/Toddler Provider and one of the teen staff members are in the Nursery. The worship leaders have collaborated and the story leader has managed logistics. In the pews, there are printed announcements with details of the morning and the week ahead for Faith Formation. The pews also include pamphlets on worshipping with children.
By 10:00a we are gathered together in the Sanctuary (except for the first Sunday when we hold Chapel for children up to 7th grade). The ROPEs teens are in the balcony with their leaders; other children are with their families. Ingathering worship will include ritual elements such as chalice lighting, reciting UUCN’s Mission or Covenant of Right Relations, Joys & Sorrows, and the Outreach Offering. For the Story For All Ages, children of all ages are invited to sit in the front pews. Many times this includes the ROPEs teens who come forward for the story! The children and teens proceed to their group programs at the end of the story. (On the year where Our Whole Lives is offered, those teens go directly to class).
In their small groups of friends, the children and youth focus on reconnecting and continuing their explorations. This Spring, programs include Picture Book UU, Moral Tales, Bibleodeon, Many Paths/One Journey, and ROPEs (coming of age). Group times end no later than 11:30, typically at 11:15. Children who are in the 5th grade or older make their own way to the Dining Room. Families with children in the 4th grade and younger make their way to the classrooms where they join in for a closing circle of “Peace and Joy,” a treasured hymn written by a member of the choir that ends each worship service.
After the service, we all gather for social time in the Dining Room. Many Sundays there are a variety of Faith Formation experiences for adults such as our ever popular “Deeper Than Coffee,” a monthly deep-listening circle to reflect on the worship service. Some Sundays, there are monthly Covenant Groups gathering. Our Child Care staff remains available until 1:00p if needed. On Sunday evening, the Senior High Youth Group gathers in the Youth Room from 6:00p until 8:00p. Their evening includes a deep listening circle where they check in on their lives, chalice lighting, reporting in on church events (many teens are members of Teams in the church such as Pastoral Care or the DFF Search Team), group bonding time, and time for personal spiritual reflection. If it is Spring, the teens are also busy preparing for their annual worship service.