Some of us have fond memories of the religion we grew up with, and some not so much. A parent from this later category asked me, a bit mystified, it seemed: “Can you tell me why my child likes church at First U so much?”
Why yes – yes I can.
First of all, many of our messages at First U are the opposite of the messages your child is receiving day in and day out about some things that matter - - we suggest moving around a lot, never sitting still, getting your wiggles out as often as possible, coloring while grown-ups talk to you, and otherwise doodling and fidgeting as much as is necessary, or fun. While it’s good for children to develop the capacity to be quietly respectful, centered and paying attention, it’s just possible that we require too much of that, at too early an age, in our current culture. At First U, we keep in mind that some of us need church to be as much about our bodies-in-motion as it is about informing and transforming our hearts and minds.
And, we like your child. He or she knows it. We spend a lot of time making sure every activity we do – from worship to parties, from RE classes to social justice Partnerships, have a child-friendly and often child-directed component to them. Why not? We believe that children are good, that they are smart, that they have great big hearts, that their questions are fascinating, and that they have lots of answers, too, answers that the grown-ups may have overlooked. This is not just us being polite – this is part of our belief system about what it means to be human: childhood is good unto itself, and children are worth the world.
We repeat these messages in myriad way – your child hears them!
Last but not least, your child likes to do what you do, just the way you do it, in the same location and at the same time, and church is one of the places in which that happens. Whether or not they understand the ritual and process of church at First U in the same way you do, they are having the experience right alongside you, and they love that! They love you, and what you do must be important, even if it’s not always engaging from their point of view – they want to come to church because you want to come to church, and because it is a wonderful chance to be with you, watching you, learning what you’re up to, how you do it, with whom, and maybe even why. They rarely get to see you work, and miss out on watching you make lots of daily choices, but at church that veil is pulled away, and the whole family is in on things together.
If these were not your experiences growing up in the religion of your childhood, I’m so sorry. You deserved better. As for your child, we hope you both are enjoying the choice you’ve made to participate in the Unitarian Universalist faith of First U of Yarmouth – you are both very very welcome here. - Rev. Jennifer
SUNDAYS AT FIRST U YARMOUTH
9:30 am - Religious Education
"Unitarian Universalists are called to converse, not convert"
Explore our preaching and teaching themes through games, activities, small group work as well as large group discussions. Make friends, flex your spiritual muscles, be challenged and comforted, and have fun!
Meet with their RE Teachers in a class from PreK - 1st or 2nd - 4th grade (5th graders welcome as well)
Meet with Rev. Jennifer or our guest presenter in the Gathering Room
10:30 am - Worship
Worship services held in our beautiful Sanctuary focus on story, myth, music, inspirational texts from many traditions, meditation, prayer and the need for both peace and wonder in our lives. Children stay with the adults through the Offering, then proceed to their own Children's Chapel space to finish the worship journey in their own language and time.
"Time to remember how fragile life is and how precious love must therefore be. Time to seize every opportunity we are given to offer thanks, to celebrate, to serve, hope and love."
11:30 am - Fellowship and Faith In Action
"We test our faith by deeds, not creeds."
At our coffee hour we provide a chance each week to engage our social justice program directly and put your Faith In Action. Activities are inclusive of all ages and contribute to our Partnerships locally and abroad.
Please see our Faith In Action at First U, Yarmouth guide for more information.
All quotes from the Rev. Forrest Church The Cathedral of the World