Thinking of Visiting UU Santa Fe with Children?
We’re looking forward to your joining us on Sundays! Many opportunities are available for children and youth. If you have an infant or toddler ages six weeks to three years, please take advantage of our adult-provided nursery care, available free of charge, located adjacent to Fellowship Hall.
If you have school-aged children, we have a rich landscape of Faith Development programming for families. Friendly greeters stationed at the sanctuary entrance will introduce you and your children to a Faith Development staff member or volunteer who will explain the day’s program. Teachers will help guide your children to the appropriate location when the time comes. You may choose to visit your child’s Faith Development class to observe our volunteers and curricula in action.
It is our goal to have our program available to all young people. If you have children with special needs, we want to know more about them so that we can make what accommodations we can to meet their needs. Parents are the most knowledgeable about their own children; we appreciate your communication with us. Our staff, including volunteer teachers, are available to help.
Our Faith Development (FD) Program is one that:
- Explores Unitarian Universalist (UU) Purposes and Principles and how they relate to children’s lives
- Introduces children to beliefs and celebrations of a variety of religious traditions and values
- Provides opportunities to explore and develop religious thoughts and beliefs in a loving and supportive environment
- Promotes the care and well-being of people of all ages through multigenerational services and special events
Our Faith Development Program consists of four components:
- Classroom Learning
- Worship and Personal Reflection
- Community and Social Service
- Church Fellowship
For school-age children, our course of study provides a background in the history and wisdom of many religious traditions and a strong knowledge of and connection with our own Unitarian Universalist heritage. Classes are a combination of active and reflective learning opportunities and engage in important themes such as Unitarian Universalist identity, World Religions, and our Judeo-Christian heritage. As children progress through our program, we explore these subjects with deepening intellectual sophistication in recognition of their maturing development. Children are encouraged to appreciate the wisdom and knowledge in these sources as they go deeper into understanding religion and developing their own religious values.
Worship and Personal Reflection
Sunday Services. Individual spiritual development is a vital mission of our congregation, and each week children and families are offered time for quiet reflection and connection with others. On most Sundays, children and youth begin their morning in the sanctuary with their families for the beginning of the service. This time together may include a story/message for all, lighting of our chalice, special readings, music, or hymn. After time in church, the children proceed to their classes. The congregation will “sing the children out” as they leave the sanctuary.
Multigenerational Services. Several times a year, families may be together for the entire worship service, such as In-Gathering in the fall, Bread Service in November, Christmas Eve services, and Easter and Flower Communion in the spring and summer respectively.
Children’s Chapel. From time-to-time during the church year, we augment our regular classroom learning with a special Children’s Chapel for 1st through 6th graders. Each Children’s Chapel service has a theme that may be explored with story, song, movement, and action. These Sundays give our children the opportunity to explore the spiritual matters of their lives in an age-appropriate manner.
Community and Social Service
Hosea Ballou, a historic Universalist minister, cautions, “There is one inevitable criterion of judgment touching religious faith in doctrinal matters—can you reduce it to practice? If not, have none of it!” Unitarian Universalists strive to put their faith into action for the wider good. Interspersed throughout our church year, we make time in our Faith Development program to engage in age-appropriate social service activities.
Our need to belong and feel loved is our first enduring religious experience. Attending church regularly and consistently is essential to develop the bond between your child and the UU Santa Fe community. On Sunday mornings, your child will enjoy attending Fellowship time with you in the lobby and courtyard. During this time, you and your child can snack and visit with friends and acquaintances. It can be a noisy experience!
In addition, throughout the year, multigenerational social activities occur. Please check the church calendar on our website and sign up for our congregational newsletter for details about these family-friendly events.
What to Expect on Sunday Morning
The Sunday Morning Schedule
Sunday morning class for 2017-18 begins September 17 and classes will continue and run through May 27, 2018. We offer classes for children and youth concurrently with the second service beginning at 10:30 am and ending at 11:45. Generally, this allows parenting adults to enjoy a few minutes of adult fellowship prior to picking up their children. We ask that all children through grade 4 are met by parents no later than 11:45 time. If you must arrive later or earlier, please notify your child’s teachers before class begins.
Sunday Morning Programs
Each Sunday when classes are in session, children and youth attend the beginning of the worship service in Fogelson Hall, leaving for their classes at the appropriate time. On most Sundays, a “Story for All Ages” is shared by the Minister, the Director of Faith Development, or another member of the congregation and special music of interest to children is frequently offered. Individual classes may also include time for lighting a chalice and sharing personal joys and sorrows.
Enrollment and Communications
We have a simple enrollment form that we ask each family to complete. This includes an inquiry about allergies as well as providing an email address. Since most of our communication is done via electronic means, we need an email address so we can keep you up to date. Enrollment in the Sunday program for children and youth does not confer congregational membership. Information about membership in UU Santa Fe can be found here.
Cooperative Religious Education Frequently Asked Questions
- When are services/ classes?
Worship services are at 8:30 (small and intimate in the library) and 10:30 (full worship service in Fogelson Hall). Nursery and classes meet concurrently with the 10:30 service.
- What should children wear?
We encourage comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor play and/or art activities and outerwear according to the season.
- Do you serve food?
Snacks are occasionally offered, so it is important to put food allergies on visitor and registration forms. We make every effort to observe known food allergies.
- Are my children in church with me?
Children attend the beginning of weekly services with parents and go to their classes following a “Story for the Young and Young at Heart.” Children are always welcome to remain with their family in the service. Throughout the year multigenerational services are planned that are appropriate for all ages.
- Can my baby stay with me in the service?
Yes! However, a staffed nursery is available at the 10:30 service for the care of young ones when parents and children are ready to separate. The nursery provides a quiet place for breastfeeding and diapering and parents may elect to stay with their children if desired.
- Do I need to volunteer?
We are a cooperative program and depend on all families to volunteer in some aspect, whether on Sunday morning or at other times. We understand that each family has different schedules and needs and their abilities to volunteer may vary from one year to the next. Our safety policies require two adults in every classroom so we expect from time-to-time that parenting adults assist with Sunday classes.
- How much does registration cost me?
There is no charge for Sunday classes though donations may occasionally be requested for special projects or field trips. Our program does depend on the contributions of members and friends for operational funding. We welcome your financial contributions to the extent you are able. Special programs such as Coming of Age and Our Whole Lives sexuality education classes require a special fee.
- Do I have to be a congregational member to enroll my child in faith development classes?
There is no membership requirement for families to participate in our program. However, parenting adults are still needed as volunteers throughout the cooperative program and we hope that as families become connected to the congregation they will want to make a financial pledge to help support the program.
Families with young children can count on the loving care provided to children ages six weeks to three years in our Nursery. You may drop off your children at the nursery beginning at 10:15 AM; please pick them up promptly after concluding your Sunday morning activities. Our nursery is located adjacent to Fellowship Hall and adult child-care providers staff the nursery during Sunday mornings. Nursery care is available free of charge during the service.
Our child-friendly nursery space is well stocked with toys, books, and hugs. Very simple activities are introduced for the older two-year-olds. Parents who wish to keep infants with them are welcome to bring babies to the sanctuary.
Families should provide our Nursery staff with a labeled bag containing any items necessary for the care and comfort of their children, including diapers and wipes. Donations of diapers and wipes for emergencies are always welcome.
We request that children who are ill or feeling unwell not be brought to the nursery to avoid discomfort and stress to the children as well as to avoid the spread of contagious illnesses. As general guidelines, please do not bring children who in the past 24 hours have experienced:
- A fever
- A rash
- A runny nose (unless the mucus has been clear)
If your family has a youth over 15 years old who would like to help in the Nursery, please contact our Faith Development staff.
Safety Practices Highlights
The safety of children and youth is a major concern of our Faith Development (RE) Program.
Volunteer Background Checks. In order to create as safe an environment as possible, all volunteer teachers and RE staff are subject to child safety background checks and must abide by our Code of Conduct.
Parent Supervision. During fellowship, program, and meeting times, parents need to monitor the whereabouts and behavior of their young children. Please remember that it is the responsibility of parenting adults to supervise children under age 11 before and after service. The playground and courtyard are play areas but they all require supervision. The rock garden is a memorial garden and should be treated with respect. Climbing, sitting or walking on the courtyard wall or garden shed is highly dangerous. To protect the apricot tree as well as young climbers, we placed special bands on the branches to designate how high it is safe to climb.
Food Safety. Snacks are occasionally offered, so it is important to put food allergies on visitor and registration forms. We make every effort to observe known food allergies.
Vaccines. Unless medically contraindicated, we expect that children and youth participating in our Faith Development program are vaccinated according to Center for Disease Control guidelines.
For a more comprehensive discussion of our safety practices, click here.
Doing Your Part | Our Cooperative Program
Our annual pledge drive supports our Faith Development program, so your generous pledge to the annual pledge drive is requested. The vitality of our program also depends on the generous support of many dedicated volunteers. When you register your child, please let us know how you would like to share your gifts with our community.
Volunteer Opportunities in Our Faith Development Program | A Teaching Ministry
Lay volunteers teach our Faith Development programs. Any congregant may volunteer; however, parents with enrolled children are particularly encouraged to volunteer to teach or participate in the Faith Development Program during their sojourn at UU Santa Fe. Teachers generally teach in teams of four. Team teaching limits a volunteer’s commitment to 14-15 teaching Sundays per church year. We try to make teaching a pleasurable and rewarding experience. Teachers receive orientation, quality curricula, supplies, and continuous support by Faith Development staff and C&Y Family Ministry Team members. UU Santa Fe must conduct a child-safety background check on all teachers per our congregational policy.
Teaching is an opportunity to meet other adults in our community, to learn more about Unitarian Universalist beliefs, and make an important contribution to our children and our faith community. If you are interested in teaching and have been attending regularly for at least six months, please contact our Faith Development staff or any member of the Faith Development Team.
Family Ministry Team
The purpose of the Faith Development (FD) Program is to prepare our children to live spiritually, responsibly, compassionately and intentionally in a complex world. Our efforts are driven by the vision of “growing the soul” and helping children become excited about and come to cherish a spiritual life while we guide and support children and families on their journey as lifelong Unitarian Universalists.
The Family Ministry Team is a group of lay leaders who work cooperatively with our professional religious educator to fulfill UU Santa Fe’s vision for rich, meaningful religious programming for children and youth. The Team meets monthly during the church year to discuss progress, programming, needs, and new initiatives.
Membership in the Family Ministry Team is open to interested volunteers who are available to lead hands-on project work, meet monthly with the group, and work with professional religious education staff as needed in separate meetings. This requires a one-year commitment. The Family Ministry Team meets monthly and as the Team may elect. If you are interested in having a direct influence on Faith Development here at UU Santa Fe, join our Family Ministry Team!
The UU Seven Principles—Children's Language
1st Principle: We believe that each and every person is important.
2nd Principle: We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.
3rd Principle: We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.
4th Principle: We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.
5th Principle: We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.
6th Principle: We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.
7th Principle: We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.
Faith Development Contacts
Our Minister, religious educator, and the C&Y Family Ministry Team are here to listen and help. Please feel free to contact any of them.
- CONSULTING DIRECTOR OF FAITH DEVELOPMENT
- Steven Mead
- 505-982-9674 ext. 4 (church)
- (314) 239-5694 (mobile - urgent calls)
- Rev. Gail Marriner
- 505-982-9674 ext. 2 (church)
We welcome all persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin; gender or gender identification, affectional preference or sexual orientation; age, physical or mental challenge; or social, economic, or marital status. Come, there is a place for you here.
Come, open to be moved. Come, be held in mutual embrace.
Come, engage the world. Come and be made whole.