Spirit School

All Are Welcome Here at the 

Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno

A primary purpose of religion—and religious education—is to nurture our own spiritual growth and search for truth and meaning. Our program is based on the idea that children and youth learn, grow, and flourish in an environment that recognizes and meets different learning styles, individual interests, and developmental stages. Adults bring a rich life experience that is upheld along with support for continued growth. Because of this, we offer a variety of experiences for exploring faith and spirituality, including age-specific classroom-based curricula with a variety of creative activities. Every Sunday is child-centered, youth-created, and multigenerational worship, opportunities for creative expression and social action, and time for fun and fellowship. As Unitarian Universalists we recognize the inherent worth and dignity within everyone. We teach Unitarian Universalist faith that includes Seven Principles and six sources. Come join us and learn how this community is inclusive and open to you being you! 

Join us! Bring your inquisitive spirit, your open heart, your true self and explore spiritual growth and community building with us. As an open and inclusive congregation, we welcome ALL to our congregation! A warm welcome is awaiting you! ~ Janise Barajas-Rennie and the entire teaching team, UU Church of Fresno

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Spirit School and Youth Programs 2019-2020

Please be sure to register at: https://uufresno.org/home/youth-registration/

Even if you have only come once or twice, we appreciate you completing the registration form so we can know how to contact you and have all the pertinent information about the children for whom you are responsible.

2019/2020 Church Calendar

If you have any questions, please contact Janise Barajas-Rennie, Director of Lifespan and Family Ministry dlfm@uufresno.org

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New This Year 2019-2020

Taking Faith Home: Provided by Soul Matters, these are monthly thematic ministries. The theme sheets will provide several ideas of activities for parents and guardians to do with their children in order to provide a rich at-home exploration of our UU Faith. You will find a few of these monthly publications available on the Religious Education Sign-In Table, located in the church breezeway, at the beginning of each month. 

Sticker Books: Children in grades K-5th will be given a monthly sticker book. To gain a sticker children should do one activity from the monthly publication, Taking Faith Home, and have a parent list what the activity was and sign off. Children will bring their books to class and receive a sticker. At the end of the month, all books with four or more stickers will be eligible for a trip to the prize box located at the RE Table in the breezeway. The Taking Faith Home activities should be a fun experience for the whole family! Coming in October you can access the publication (In Oct) click  HERE .   You are welcome to print them at home. 

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Spirit School Offerings

Chalice Children (Children 3-4 years old)

This program provides experiences around the strength of community, the wonder and awe that transcend everyday understanding, and the life issues we all share. Early childhood is filled with curiosity and wonder. In a group setting, with loving adult guides, young children can engage in spiritual seeking, develop their openness to sharing, and experience the benefit of a supportive community. Their time in Chalice Children can set a pattern for the rest of their lives and bring lasting benefits.

Spirit Play (Kindergarten, incl. TK, and 1st Grade)

 Using the curriculum Picture Book Unitarian Universalism, children will learn about our seven principles and six sources (plus the additional source of Unitarian Universalism) through stories. Each class will revolve around a story and will be followed with a variety of activities that engage the various aspects of the children’s creativity and wonder: art, meditation, games, movement, and more. Children will have opportunities to deepen their understanding of our faith by seeing how the principles and sources connect to life through these stories.

Web Weavers (2nd & 3rd Grade)

This year, our 2nd and 3rd graders will be using the curriculum provided from our thematic ministry Soul Matters. Children will explore monthly themes such as Wonder, Awe, Belonging, Resilience, Wisdom,  and Play. Each theme has a lesson plan grounded in Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources. This classroom is designed to embrace the active mind and body by embracing the fine art of expressing self through things like movement, song, music-making, paint, etc. 

Spirit Explorers (4th & 5th Grade)

Our children explore a monthly theme and learn about Unitarian Universalist values through the curriculum Unitarian Universalist Identity. This curriculum empowers children and assists them in understanding our values and how they can be lived out in real life. Using stories as a launching place for interactive activities, the children get a chance to explore what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist in everyday life. 

Our Whole Lives (OWL) 

This year OWL will be taught for 4th and 5th graders. From the UUA.org website: 

OWL offers “Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. For these reasons and more, we are proud to offer Our Whole Lives (OWL), a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curricula for use in both secular settings and faith communities.” The program was updated in 2017 to include information for staying safe on social media and how to stay safe when confronted with an unsafe situation. OWL classes will begin in January. Let your teachers know you are interested and you will be included in the registration announcement. OWL is open beyond our community children are encouraged to ask a friend to join the class. There is a fee for the class but the fee should not be a barrier for children to join the class speak with Janise, DLFM, regarding any hardships: dlfm@uufresno.org

JRUU (6th -8th Grade)

The Junior High (Middle School) students will be involved in the curriculum Crossing Paths which is a study of various world faith traditions. The curriculum also includes guided group visits to other religious institutions and question/answer periods with religious leaders from a variety of beliefs. We begin right here at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno and Rev. Tim Kuztmark. Students will ask themselves after the conclusion of each section: How does this information fit into what “I” believe and with my family traditions? 

YRUU (9th -12th Grade)

The Senior Youth Group is also known as the High School Group, or YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists). The YRUUs meet every third and fourth Sunday during the service from 10:30 to noon in the Youth Room, which is a cool, converted garage in the office building. Our YRUU is always a bright, vocal, and talented group. After our trip last year to Spokane, WA the Youth brought a curriculum forward: Compassionate Warrior Boot Camp For White Allies which offers a series of short lessons that open to relatable stories that are used for problem-solving. The YRUU will be guided by a dedicated social-justice oriented teaching team and will use the Boot Camp curriculum, various TED Talks, YouTube videos, and other technologies. Infused in this group is a time for community building through classes, attending Youth conferences within the district, mentoring younger UUs, and on-campus activities. Our Seniors will attend a year-end longstanding tradition of Bridging (an acknowledgment of each Senior and their launch to the next chapter of their lives). 

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2019/2020 Church Calendar

If you have any questions, please contact Janise Barajas-Rennie, Director of Lifespan and Family Ministry dlfm@uufresno.org