Children and Youth Faith Exploration Programs
Welcome and Introduction
UUSD usually offers twice monthly Faith Exploration classes (known as Sunday school in some churches) for children ages 4 and up. We are fully committed to making this a great year for our kids and to keeping them connected to our 8 Principles.
Philosophy of Our Children’s Faith Exploration Program (CYFE)
The children and youth of our congregation are literally the future of our community. There are many questions in life that come at all stages, especially childhood. We seek to nurture their spiritual and emotional growth with compassion and understanding, knowing that how these important questions are answered can shape who they become. Our Children and Youth Faith Exploration classes (or Sunday school, a term many churches use) offer an opportunity for children and youth to grow spiritually and explore how they can be their best selves. We welcome all children and youth to participate in an exciting year of learning and growing within our loving UUSD community.
Upcoming June classes: Tony Codella will lead a class on orienteering, and we will read the book, Willa the Caterpillar. In another session, we will use the book The Name Jar (by Yangsook Choi), and Pat Bartels will help us make paper figures that represent what kids like to do.
June 11: Tony Codella will be teaching orienteering. Each child will get a compass to sue to find specific places on a hand-drawn map of our back yard.
June 18: CFE will meet and UUSD picnic (last session before summer break)
Special thanks to Darlene Sellers for her commitment to our UUSD kids and for growing our program. We’ve had so much fun learning together! See photos of all the activities our children have participated in this year, including our most recent children’s programs and playground blessing: https://uussd.org/learning/childrens-re-projects/
This is an exciting year for our children! If you have questions, ideas for future programs, can present on topics of interest to children, or need more information about children’s programming at UUSD, please contact Darlene Sellers, Chair, Children and Youth Faith Exploration Committee. Beginning August 1, 2023, contact Chris McCann, Director of Faith Exploration for Children & Youth at DFECY@uussd.org for more information.
June 4: Multi-generational service. Seating up front for families.
May 14: Alice Casey taught about talking sticks and how indigenous communities across the world have used them. Each child made a talking stick to share with their family. They practiced the puppet show and put the finishing touches on the set. Kids will present the show outside for the congregation during social hour.
Playground and Blessing: Thank you to the volunteers who took delivery and worked on assembly! After the service on May 14, Reverend Heather will lead a playground blessing. The children are getting ready and have made a list of safety rules that will become part of a welcome sign. They are very excited!
April 30: Rosemary Weiland presented Scene 2 of the play she wrote based on the life of Rachael Carson. Scene 2 is called The Super Poopers. Did you know that whale poop feeds the phytoplankton which helps to remove carbon from our atmosphere?
April 29 (Saturday): Family Covenant Group. Our last meeting until September.
April 23: There was a Multi-Faith Youth Park Cleanup sponsored by Seaside Jewish Community on Sunday, April 23 from 1:30-3:30 p.m.. Event is open to all kids ages 10 – 18. Where? Cape Henlopen Main Pavilion. Pizza, dessert and games!
April 9: Egg Hunt on UUSD grounds! Thank you to the Connections Covenant Group for providing eggs and goodies for UUSD kids as well as West Rehoboth kids! Rosemary Weiland introduced a puppet show she writes , Fountain of Hope, based on the work of Rachel Carson. We learned about the important role bees play in pollination.
April 2: Children are invited to attend a multigenerational service in our sanctuary. Some of them will share a Jewish folktale about a fish peddler, Motke Rabinowitz, who puts too much stock in what others say. Seats will be reserved for families up front.
March 25: Family Covenant Group: The UUSD Family Covenant Group met on Saturday, March 25, 5-7 p.m. in the Gathering Area at UUSD. After enjoying a meal together, Rev. Heather facilitated the adult portion and the children participated in activities provided by volunteers. This program is open to all families with school age children at home.
March 12: Bunny Guerrin read Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, by D.B Johnson. This wonderful book is based on Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.
March 5: The Explorers met and read The Whale and the Teeny-Tiny Fish, taken from a book of children’s stories written by Rev. Jamie Hinson-Rieger, minister at UU Church of Indianapolis. The story illustrates that each and every person is important. There was also a make and take activity.
February 12: Our lesson concentrated on caring for others, and kids made Valentine’s Day cards for the residents of Harbor Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Lewes.
January 22: Rev. Cathy shared the book, “Is That For a Boy or a Girl” by S. Bear Bergman. The book introduces some awesome kids who have gotten pretty tired of being told some things are for girls and others are for boys. See how they find out what suits them best!
January 8: Class member Ava Haase read from a book about Martin Luther King, Jr.
December 24: Christmas Eve Service
December 18 (Explorers): Be the Blessing: Based on the children’s book Oskar and the 8 Blessings, we will begin our Hanukkah celebration.
December 11 (Explorers): We will use the book Sing and Sign to learn to sign a holiday song!
December 4 (Explorers): We learned about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.
December 3: The Family Covenant Group potluck dinner (6:00 p.m.). Crafts were provided for the children.
November 20 (Explorers): We read and discussed the book Unplugged: Ella Gets Her Family Back by Laura Peterson. Paper robots were also be in play!
November 6 (CFE Explorers): We learned why UUs light a chalice. We discussed the 3rd Principle: In our congregations, all people are accepted and we learn together. The children each made a chalice that holds a battery tea light to take home.
October 28 (Friday): UUSD has been working to build community with West Side Community Center. They have invited us to participate in their Trunk or Treat on Oct. 28 at 6:00 p.m.
October 16: (CFE Explorers): Deb Davies helped the children recognize their fall QI and how it makes us feel. She introduced the children to tai chi movements. They made paper bag pumpkins and items to sell at the UUSD craft fair, including lanyards, necklaces, and miniature chalices.
October 15 (Saturday): The Family Covenant Group potluck dinner (6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.). Crafts were provided for the children.
October 2: A multi-generational service in our sanctuary, lifting up the lessons of the hit Disney animated film, Encanto.
September 25: Thank you to George Porter (previous owner of the UUSD property) for sharing stories last Sunday. He included tales about hundreds of frogs migrating to Mill Pond when our pond dried up. And how every 7 years or so the pond dries up, but it will come back. History included Mr. Porter’s daughter staying home from school to help build the deck. We found sassafras and learned how to make tea. All were fascinated with the prehistoric plants along the pond’s edge. The 14 kids who attended had a wonderful time exploring the property.
September 18: Thank you to Darlene Sellers and Cindy Arno for this session with the Youth Group. We practiced using “I messages” when dealing with conflict. We also built rafts with popsicle sticks to see which team’s creation could hold the most pennies before sinking!
September 11: Thank you to Betty Kirk for last week’s program on yoga and mindfulness. 13 children attended. Kids enjoyed the blessing of the backpacks. Cheri Garnet provided a glass heart for each child’s backpack. We covered topics of courage and how to take the right path in life (each child received a backpack compass); we made UUSD bead clips to remind us that we are not alone. We filled our backpacks with love.
August 21: 13 children participated in our first session of the church year. They learned about a boy who built the first little library for his school so kids could read books all summer. Our UUSD kids want to build one near our new playground. They want it to be “low” so children can reach it. And if someone doesn’t want to play on the equipment, they can read a book. One child suggested we have books in Braille for blind children and to include audio books for children who have trouble reading. These kids are fabulous! We also made book marks and stickers in our craft project.
2021-2022 Program Year
June 19: The children met at their usual 10:00 a.m. time for children’s faith exploration and then had a fun obstacle course set up by Alicia and Kathy. As a part of the Gratitude Picnic, the children had a plant sale as a fundraiser for their playground. They sold young plants that they had grown from seed as well as plants donated by adult gardeners in the congregation. They were so excited to have raised a total of $850!
June 12: Rev. Heather led an outdoor chapel service with our children. Kids designed and made their own prayer flags and also visited the sanctuary to hear some of the music presented by the UUSD choir for Music Sunday.
May 22: A special Harry Potter presentation by Mac Goekler entitled Defense Against the Dark Arts was offered! We learned how to deal with unkind remarks and bullies…without fighting back. We’ll be ready when these ugly events occur in our lives. A wizard attended and made anti-bullying wands!
May 8: We’re growing! 16 children attended our May 8 program. We made cards for our mothers and people who nurture us. We planted seeds. Plants will be sold as a fundraiser for our playground at the June19 picnic.
April 24: Middle and high school youth group met! Donna Preston facilitated as we explored emotions. Great discussion about recognizing our own emotions and those of others.
April 17: This program focused on the 7th Principle as we examined spring changes in nature. We also made bunny baskets which to hold the eggs we collected in an exciting spring egg hunt after the Sunday service. Covenant groups filled eggs with delicious goodies!
April 3: Deb Davies presented a program on spring Qi. We witnessed examples of spring energy that is so strong it can force grass to come up between pieces of concrete! We planted seeds together.
March 20: One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: They would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground! Using the children’s book Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris (inspired by a true story from the childhood of Vice President Kamala Harris), UUSD children will learn how kids can make a d difference, and how it’s possible for a community to come together to transform a neighborhood.
March 6: We explored who makes up a family using the book, Who’s in a Family. Reverend Cathy explained that prayer beads are used by many different people, including Buddhists, Muslims, and Catholics, in their religious practice. We learned that beads are a spiritual tool and can be used in meditation, and that holding the beads can help some people stay calm/centered. UUSD children strung beads that represented family, then blessed each other’s beads.
See photos of this and other recent programs on our CFE project page: https://uussd.org/learning/childrens-re-projects/