Each Sunday morning our UU Westport congregation offers mask-optional programming for children and youth, referred to as Faith Formation (traditionally known as “Sunday School” or “Religious Education” or “RE”).
This year we offer childcare or programming for all children from nursery–12 grades. All but high school is offered at the same time as our worship service, 10:00-11:00 AM. High School Youth Group meets 11:00 AM-12:00 PM+. For specific offerings please see Faith Formation Age Groupings 2022-23.
In the wake of the pandemic, the old model of church Sunday School is becoming somewhat outdated. We are embracing new ways to engage with the children and youth, and indeed the families of our spiritual community to catch hearts and imaginations with new energy, vision, and inspiration.
Last year, the high school youth group experimented with a new model of Faith Formation based on the idea of an experiential learning journey. We spent the year applying our Unitarian Universalist principles in the exploration of climate matters ( “Free the Tree”), which culminated in an environmental learning journey to Alaska in April, 2022. It was astonishingly successful. The entire congregation rallied around the youth as they worked hard to raise money to finance this amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This year, we hope to expand the experiential learning journey model to all age groups. Working closely with children and youth, and parents and caregivers, together we will plan our curricula and destinations. The objectives will vary from age group to age group, but they generally will focus on learning, preparing, and applying our Unitarian Universalist principles and sources toward a specific learning journey experience.
Climate and sustainability continue to be a top priority and focus, in line with our UU promise to be mindful of our interconnectedness to the web of all existence of which we are a part. Destinations for possible learning journeys include an organic farm and outdoor adventure school called Kroka (https://kroka.org/), located in Marlow, NH, and the Maine Local Living School (https://www.mainelocalliving.org/) in Temple, ME. The high school youth will travel to Northeast, Tennessee April 7-16, 2023 to help rebuild dilapidated homes as part of an Appalachian Service Project (https://asphome.org/).
Stay tuned for updates on our learning journey plans.