What to expect
On your first visit, you may choose to worship together as a family or your children may prefer to attend our religious education classes. We start each Sunday at 10:00. Programming for children ends at 11:20.
Our Toddler and Nursery Rooms are open from 9:45 to 11:20. Children in Pre-K through 6th grade start in either the regular service or in the monthly Family Chapel.
Children and youth in grades 7 and up start their programming in their rooms at 10:00.
Here are some helpful tips for bringing your child(ren) on your first Sunday at Albany Unitarian Universalist.
- As soon as you arrive, you’ll see volunteers at the Welcome Table and at the Religious Education window in the lobby. They can direct you to the coat room and restrooms and let you know where the service is and where the classrooms are.
- If your child is on the younger side, plan on staying in the classroom with your child during the entire Religious Education session. Often 4thgraders and older prefer their parents to stay out of the classroom, though you are of course welcome to attend class if you wish.
- You may bring your little ones to the Nursery or Toddler Room or keep them with you in the service. If your child needs to squirm or make lots of loud noise, we understand. You can move about at any time in the service; sometimes going to the back of the hall is enough to calm fussy ones. Or you can go to Channing Hall, where there is room to move about and be noisy, and you can watch the service on a TV monitor. And you can return when you’re ready. Sometimes grown-ups like to talk and move around, so they go to Channing Hall too.
- Please know that we have a Safe Congregations policy in place, which means that you are responsible for your children/youth before and after their class sessions.
- If, after your visit, you feel that Albany UU may be your family’s religious home, please join us for a “Getting to UU” session. Talk to anyone at the Welcome Table or the Religious Education window or Leah Purcell about joining in!
- After your third visit, if you decide that Albany UU is your family’s religious home, please take a moment to register your child(ren). This will help us ensure that you are kept up to date about important events happening in the program.
Toward a Safe Congregation Policy
This policy describes our approach to both preventing and responding to behaviors, especially as they are directed toward children, youth and vulnerable adults. http://members.albanyuu.org/wp/pdf/SafeCongregationPolicyREV2017-12-21.pdf
What RE Offers
The RE program doesn’t teach your child what to think, instead it teaches your child how to:
- Respect oneself, each other and the natural environment
- Think for oneself and ask questions
- Develop religious beliefs and values about humanity, life, death and God
- Understand worship practices and holy days of word cultures
- Explore sexuality in healthy ways
- Develop a responsible and meaningful personal faith
Sunday morning is a time made special and unique from the rest of the week for children and youth to grow in Unitarian Universalism. In our Religious Education program for children and youth (RE), Adult volunteers work to create communities where everyone can deepen their sense of being at home with the universe; where they can think about their own experiences and explore what meaning other stories have for them; and where they can practice compassion among themselves and become better able to carry their values to the wider world.
Our curricula provide material and activities for the adult volunteers to support religious exploration and growth.
“The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own, not to make them see with our eyes but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own…to awaken the soul, to excite and cherish spiritual life.”
– William Ellery Channing, 19th Century Unitarian Minister
Our Vision for Families
Our vision is that children and youth will . . .
- see their groups in our Sunday morning programming as places where they are warmly welcomed for who they genuinely are
- have a meaningful place in our congregation
- feel accepted, supported and loved by the Albany UU community
- develop strong friendships with other children and youth in our congregation
- have a meaningful connection with at least one adult in our congregation (other than their parents)
- come to identify themselves as a Unitarian Universalists
- have opportunities to practice compassion
- be able to describe our 7 Principles and explain why we hold these values
- feel comfortable exploring their spirituality and have a “toolbox” of spiritual practices they can draw from
- develop a strong and guiding internal moral compass
- come to value social justice and participate regularly in service projects that benefit Albany UU and the community outside of our congregation
- learn about and discuss anti-oppression and anti-racism in age appropriate ways and develop skills to help them move with integrity in a multicultural world
- participate in our Multigenerational Sunday services
- attend family social events
Our vision is that parents and caregivers will . . .
- see our RE program as a warm, friendly, and welcoming place
- feel that Albany UU’s RE program provides a quality experience for their children that is relevant to what their children encounter in the larger world
- feel secure that the RE program, the staff and the congregation supports them as parents in their role as their children’s primary religious educator
- enthusiastically bring their children to RE and attend frequently and consistently; ideally twice a month or more Sept through June.
- develop meaningful connections with other RE parents
- be actively engaged in the RE community by connecting with other families, the minister, and the DRE and by volunteering to support the RE program and activities.