Each Sunday morning our UU Westport congregation offers programming for children and youth, referred to as Faith Formation (traditionally known as “Sunday School” or “Religious Education” or “RE”).
In the wake of the pandemic, the old model of church Sunday School has become somewhat outdated. We are embracing new ways to engage with children and youth, and families of our spiritual community to catch hearts and imaginations with new energy, vision, and inspiration. To keep up with a changing world technologically, for example, we have introduced digital storytelling in our worship services and classrooms.
We also have started exploring more project-based programs on Sunday mornings, especially with our middle and high school youth. In 2022 for instance, the High School Youth Group spent the year exploring climate issues ( “Free the Tree”), which culminated in an environmental learning journey to Alaska. In 2023, the Youth Group spent the year learning about the history and culture of the Appalachia region of the United States in preparation for their participation in the Appalachia Service Project in Johnson City, TN.
The middle school youth participated in the Witness Stones Project to learn about the enslavement of African Americans in Connecticut. We sometimes forget that slavery was not just occurring in the south. We explored Colonial Connecticut, Puritanism, Settler relationships with indigenous people, and the influence of Christianity in controlling and oppressing African and Native populations. Click HERE to read about the Witness Stones Project’s interfaith collaboration to learn about Connecticut’s slave history.
Using limited vital records, UU Westport collaborated with Wilton’s St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church to identify a specific local enslaved individual, John C. Wally, who we honored in a memorial stone-laying ceremony near where he lived. Click HERE to learn more about the project, which included a trip to Washington DC to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
We hope to expand the project-based, experiential learning model to all age groups to focus on learning and applying our Unitarian Universalist values to the wider world in intentional justice-minded, service-oriented endeavors.
Faith Formation programming for all but high school is offered at the same time as our worship service, 10:00-11:15 AM. High School Youth Group meets 11:15 AM-12:30 PM.
Please contact Nate Pawelek for any questions about Faith Formation (traditionally known as “Sunday School,” “religious education” or “RE”) for your children. All are welcome– newcomers and old-timers alike. We know we can make a positive impact on the lives of our families. We look forward to getting to know your children!