Category Archives: 2017-2018 (OWL) Our Whole Lives

Welcome Volunteers & Cori Policy/ Health and Safety Guidelines

2014-15 URUUWelcome  all our wonderful volunteers! 

For RE UU Faith Formation Volunteer Handbook please click link:                             

Religious Faith Formation Volunteering Opportunities:

2015-2016 Theme is “I am a Unitarian Universalist”

Please stop by the RE table or contact us where Dolores or Jill will be happy to talk you and answer questions.

DRE&FFDolores GHeredia-Wood  [email protected]    

Cooperative UU Religious Faith Formation Program

The First Parish Unitarian Universalist Religious Faith Formation Program is a cooperative endeavors in which all families are expected to participate. We need volunteers in order to have a successful program. We request that every parent/caregiver assist in some way during the year. Opportunities vary and require different time commitments. When applicable, training is provided. Please contact Dolores GHeredia-Wood, DRE & FF.

We also have a volunteer opportunity site:

We invite the entire First Parish UU Community to be part of our vision in the Religious Faith Formation of our youth in being Unitarian Universalist beyond Sunday mornings by volunteering and bravely engaging in Ethical and Spiritual Action and role modeling the virtues of being a Unitarian Universalist


“Virtues” are attitudes, dispositions, or character traits that enable us to be and to act in ways that develop this potential. They enable us to pursue the ideals we have adopted. Honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, and prudence are all examples of virtues…
How does a person develop virtues? Virtues are developed through learning and through practice…
Virtues are habits. That is, once they are acquired, they become characteristic of a person…
At the heart of the virtue approach to ethics is the idea of “community”. A person’s character traits are not developed in isolation, but within and by the communities to which he or she belongs, including family, church, school, and other private and public associations. As people grow and mature, their personalities are deeply affected by the values that their communities prize, by the personality traits that their communities encourage, and by the role models that their communities put forth for imitation through traditional stories, fiction, movies, television, and so on. The virtue approach urges us to pay attention to the contours of our communities and the habits of character they encourage and instill.
The moral life, then, is not simply a matter of following moral rules and of learning to apply them to specific situations. The moral life is also a matter of trying to determine the kind of people we should be and of attending to the development of character within our communities and ourselves.
Excerpt from: Ethics and Virtues:                                                                                                                                                                        Developed by Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J., and Michael J. Meyer; Issues in Ethics V1 N3 (Spring 1988)

RE UU Faith Formation Group Leaders: RE UU Faith Formation Group Leader Pre-K to 8th –                                      

2015-16 Groups:

Pre-K to K: “Early Beginners Room”; 1st to 3rd: “Rainbow Room” Upstairs; 4th & 5th: “Blue Room” Upstairs; 6th & 7th & 8th: depending on Activities meet in Chapel or Alliance Parlor. Leaders are a team of 2 or 3 volunteers, providing stability and a familiar face for children in each group. Provided agenda includes chalice lighting; reflection/meditation; and an activity based on the theme/topic. We use many resources including the UUA Tapestry of Faith curriculum and Soul Matters. Time commitment varies to once or twice a month throughout the year.

RE UU Faith Formation Chapel Days: Leaders: Theme and Activities developed between DREFF& YP and Chapel Leaders. During Chapel Days the focus is worship, incorporating spirituality and ethics. Time commitment is once a month, with exception of Holiday Season.

Chapel Buddies: Assist in maintain an environment conducive to worship and assisting youth develop a sense of belonging by encouraging them to participate. They also assist with snacks and preparations if necessary.

Nursery Substitute (0-3 year olds): Nursery substitutes help out in the nursery on days when our regular nursery care providers are unable to make it in.

Other opportunities:

REFF Sunday Morning Cup Washing: Volunteers take turns washing/sanitizing cups used in the on Sunday mornings during snack.

Field Trip Drivers/Chaperones: over age 25; driver license & insurance required

Special Events Volunteers: Halloween; Holiday Pageant; Ice Cream Social; Field Day; Milestones, etc.

Super Hero volunteers to the rescue!


Please contact Director of RE Faith Formation & Youth Progams for Opportunities: [email protected]

*We recommend that parents expand their volunteering options and teach in classes other than their own children’s classes. It can be much easier to be present and enjoy yourself if you are not wearing a parenting and teaching hat at the same time. Teaching and learning in different groups give you and your child an opportunity to meet and connect with other members of our intergenerational community at first parish. We especially look for non-parents to work with our 7th – 12th graders. If you have questions or concerns about this recommendation, please talk with Director of RE Faith Formation & YP, Dolores GHeredia-Wood.

RE Faith Formation Volunteer Cori Policy

CORI Policy Information:

CORI, Criminal Offender Record Information

In order for our students and congregation to flourish it is important that all of us want to make sure that we offer them the safest environment possible.  That is why we are very pleased that the Standing Committee on April 2013 approved the implementation of the CORI policy for all RE Volunteers starting in 2013-2014. Along with the Safe Child Policy we will be asking that all RE Volunteers fill out the form at the beginning of the year.  Please note our priority is all of our children’s safety and to assure this, in many congregations it has become standard procedure as part of their Safe Child Policy.  If you have any questions or want us to forward you the First Parish of Chelmsford approved CORI policy by the Standing Committee please contact Rev. Ellen or Director of Religious Education & Youth Programing Dolores GHeredia-Wood.

Health and Safety Guidelines – Church School

First Parish Safe Child Policy

At First Parish Church in Chelmsford we are concerned with your child’s health and safety as well as your child’s religious education. These health and safety guidelines are set up to ensure that First Parish is a safe and healthy place for all children and youth. Please become familiar with the following guidelines for the Church School:

Class room drop-off and pick-up

Drop-off for our Nursery and Pre K class begins at 15 minutes prior to the church service or 10:30 am.

We ask that parents let their child’s teacher know that their child is ready to attend class and the care and responsibility for the child will be shifted to the teacher.

Parents are to pick up their children in grades 4 and under at 11:00. Only children in the 4th grade and above are allowed to leave the classrooms by themselves after church school. Children not picked up by 11:15 p.m. will be escorted to the vestry by the teacher.


Snacks at church school are not meant to be a meal. Please let the teachers know of any food allergies or special dietary needs your child has. All food allergies or foods not tolerated by your child should be documented and forwarded to the RE office for filing.

Medical Alerts

We ask parents whose children are on specific medications or have a medical condition alert their child’s teachers to their special needs. Please fill out a Medical Alert Form to be forwarded to the Religious Education office for filing.

Building Safety

A First Aid kit is available across from the  Religious Education office in the Hallway cabinet and in the kitchen. An escape plan and location of fire extinguishers is posted near the doorways on each floor of the church school. The church school conducts a yearly fire drill.


Please do not bring children to church school with fever, flu, or communicable diseases such as chicken pox or conjunctivitis.

Field Trips

Parents need to sign permission slips when children are leaving the church premises. The cemetery and common do not require permission slips. The destination and expected time of return should be on the permission slip. The parents will provide the teachers with a list of emergency contacts, and medical insurance/contact information for each child. There will be a minimum of 2 adults going with the children as outlined in the Safe Child Policy. All drivers must be covered by auto insurance. Children under 6 who require car seats or boosters must be secured prior to leaving the premises. All other occupants must also wear seat belts. All drivers should be over 21 years of age if possible.

Child Protection and Safety

If a teacher or youth group leader suspects or is made aware of child abuse or has a concern about a child’s safety and well-being, this information is to be reported immediately to the DRE, minister, choir director or other adult in charge. The minister, DRE and choir directors are Mandatory Reporters and will report the information to the correct authorities. There must be no use of alcohol or illegal drugs at events specifically for the children or youth groups. If drug use or alcohol use is suspected, the illegal items will be confiscated and the incident will be reported to the parents, the person in charge of the event, and a report will be given to the Standing Committee, Minister, DRE, or Minister of Music as appropriate. In the event that medical attention is necessary – this must be the first priority of the person in charge of the event.

Accidents/Difficult Incidents/Behavioral Difficulties

Child Care Providers will immediately report any accident to the person in charge of the event and to the parents/guardian. If any child’s behavior creates a dangerous or distracting environment, a Care Provider or the adult on duty will escort child to the parent/guardian or other responsible adult.

Supervision Requirements

  1. A.    There should be a minimum of two adults scheduled to supervise groups. Exceptions may be made only by the on-site adult leader or person in charge of the event.  (For instance, the Director of Religious Education can decide that a youth/adult pair can teach a class on Sunday morning, rather than two adults.)  It should always be made clear to all volunteers who is in charge.
  2. B.   For the purposes of these requirements, a “group” is defined as those minors who have been assigned to a nursery, preschool, or individual class or specific program or activity within the context of that class, as well as youth who are taking part in a planned, organized component of any church-related program (ex. Coming Of Age, Our Whole Lives, retreats, choir, etc.).
  3. C.  During Sunday school, if a child in the younger classrooms (under grade 5/6) needs to use the bathroom he/she must be escorted to the bathroom by one of the teachers.  This is for their safety to ensure they do not leave the building, or encounter a predator while alone in the hallway.    It is acceptable for the other teacher to remain alone in the classroom with the children, since we have windows in the doors, and there are other adults present in the building nearby.    Some of our youngest children may need assistance with toileting.   We recommend in this instance that the adult volunteer leave the stall door open while assisting the child or ask the DRE for assistance with the child.