Religious growth and learning at People’s Church is offered for all ages. No matter where you are on your educational path, our program has much to offer.
Our babies and toddlers are lovingly cared for each Sunday. Our childcare workers provide a safe and fun atmosphere for our youngest children from 10:00 – 12:30 each week throughout the regular church year (mid-September – mid-June) and from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. every Sunday during the summer season (through mid-September). Babies and toddlers are provided with a snack each week such as goldfish crackers or graham crackers with sippy cups of water. Please let us know if your child has any allergies or special needs so we can best accommodate them. There are extra diapers and extra clothes located in the changing room inside the nursery if your child has an accident while at church.
These 3-5 year-olds gather each week for sharing, story, snack and playtime. For the 2017-2018 church year, we will use a curriculum called The Rainbow Connection.
A central concept of Unitarian Universalism is the seven Principles that all congregations affirm and promote. These Principles are considered to be strong values and moral guides that each of us may use to guide our lives.
Although preschool children are too young to memorize the Principles, we can begin to acquaint them with the ideas behind the Principles. We can focus on the values inherent in each – values that all parents wish to instill in their children, such as respect, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, responsibility and good citizenship.
The Rainbow Connection uses popular story books for preschoolers to discuss those values inherent in the Principles and in Unitarian Universalism. At the preschool age, children begin to understand the concepts of justice and fairness and begin to learn about what is “right” and “wrong”, or “good” and “bad”. Story books are chosen to help illustrate the values supported by parents.
Four sessions are devoted to each Principle, helping preschoolers to explore the values that unite us as UUs. Additional holiday-based classes are also included to replace or add to your curriculum. And, because socialization and comfort are important goals for this age, each class contains a fun craft project, time for songs and games, and time for free play with friends.
Early childhood (the years between ages 2 and 5) 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 the preschool religious education class can set a pattern for the rest of their lives and bring lasting benefits. We pay special attention to ensuring the material is meaningful and engaging for preschool-aged children. We hope to offer an introduction to our principles, the grounding of a religious community and tradition, along with freedom to discover and express our children’s own uniqueness while celebrating diversity and interdependency.
Our Religious Education program for kindergarten through 5th-grade children consists of classes and activities designed to create a safe and nurturing place for them to learn, grow, blossom and flourish. Children are a vital part of this unique intergenerational community of free thinkers seeking truth and valuing justice and compassion in our daily lives.
During the 2017-2018 church year, The Kindergarten through 6th graders will use a World Religions curriculum.
Our program has often consisted of annual rotating curriculum pillars which focused our religious learning. These pillars included World Religions, Unitarian Universalism, Peace and Social Justice, Our Jewish and Christian Heritage and The Interdependent Web of Life. Our 2016-17 church year used a social justice curriculum based on the Harry Potter book series.
Our underlying goal for all curricula is to use our UU Principles to explore the UU ideals of freedom, reason and tolerance while encouraging personal exploration and spiritual growth.
Middle School Grades
During the 2017-2018 church year, this age group go through the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education, which has been recently updated, making it especially relevant to today’s youth. This class will take place again in the 2017-2018 church year.
OWL is a sexuality education program for youth that models and teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice. It is a holistic program that moves beyond the intellect to address the attitudes, values, and feelings that youth have about themselves and the world.
Unlike many other sexuality curricula currently available, this program is comprehensive and progressive. In an inclusive and developmentally appropriate manner, it addresses sensitive topics that are typically excluded. Although the curriculum was developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, this volume is completely secular and free of specific religious doctrine or reference. However, the underlying values of the program reflect the justice-oriented traditions of both denominations.
Maintaining the OWL values and assumptions established in the previous edition, the new edition introduces new content, activities, perspectives, language, and resources for today’s young teens. New topics include body image, social media/internet, bullying/bystander responsibilities, and consent education.
Middle schoolers also enjoy sleepovers at church, Unitarian Universalist district youth conferences (CONS), a regional retreat at the Mystic Lake YMCA camp, and participating in our annual church camping trip at Lake Michigan.
Our 9th – 12th grade youth are part of the larger church community. These youth enjoy participating in district youth conferences, sleepovers at church, trips, social outings, and social justice projects.
This year, our 9th-10th graders will go through our Coming of Age Program. Our Coming of Age program includes several weekend retreats, adult mentors, and the opportunity to discern and articulate deepest beliefs and values. This year, our 9th and 10th grade youth will follow the Jedi Academy Mindfulness Training curriculum. The curriculum has 25 lessons based on the five training categories of skill, senses, courage, insight, and spirit. The focus is on a development of mindfulness, peace, and justice. Students and teachers do not need to know the Star Wars stories to fully participate.
The goals for this program include:
- Assume responsibility for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
- Gain self-confidence, recognize own feelings as valid and own opinions as important.
- Expand vision of the world by encountering different views, cultures, and life experiences.
- Understand important roles in church, local, and world communities.
- Develop a personal value system.
- Recognize complete acceptance within church community
Our 11th-12th graders will follow a World Religions curriculum geared toward the High School ages that will include visits to neighboring religious centers.
A youth group called YRUU – Young Religious Unitarian Universalists – is also offered and meets one Sunday afternoon a month for 9th – 12th grade youth. Learn more about YRUU.
People’s Church has a long history of outreach to young adults. People’s Church is the proud sponsor of the popular KUULS (Kalamazoo UU Liberal Students) CON held annually on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend each January. Since 2003, young people from around the country have gathered together for worship, workshops, fun and fellowship at this conference.
Our Young Adult group has it’s own Facebook page, which is a closed group. Go to our Young Adult Facebook group and request an invitation.
We also have a 2016 Winter/Spring Adult Education and Fellowship Opportunities flyer available at church or in our fall-winter-adult-ed-flyer