Religious Faith Formation Program Information

Religious Education Faith Formation  Information Packet

 2017-2018 “Into the Future & Beyond…”

Sunday Mornings gather at 9:50am and begin at 10am…

and programs beyond that during the day.

Please click link: 2017-2018 REFF Information Packet.9.6

Religious Faith Formation Contact Information

Director of Religious Faith Formation & Youth Programs:

Dolores GHeredia-Wood       Email: [email protected]

Religious Faith Formation HS Youth Coordinator:

Emma Buckley      Email: [email protected]

Welcome to a very exciting year at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Chelmsford!

Our Focus for the Year …                                                             

Welcome!

Welcome to a very exciting and fun year at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Chelmsford!

Faith Formation is religious education that encompasses our entire community and guides us through the ethical and spiritual religious formation of our Unitarian Universalist congregational identity.

The Religious Education Faith Formation Program is dedicated to growing community and to cultivating wisdom through exploring spirituality, faith and ethical living that form our UU Identity.

It is the mission of the Religious Faith Formation Program to cultivate in our youth a sense of worth, confidence and belonging in knowing that they are beloved members of the UU community wherever their ongoing journeys take them in the world. We are committed to the idea that spiritual journeys are ongoing from birth until death. The journey begins here. Together all congregation members, families and youth are the beloved community that is the foundation of the UU Faith Formation of our Unitarian Universalist Identity and will always be part of ourselves whichever paths we choose to travel.

The Religious Unitarian Universalist Faith Formation vision is that they become empowered by our love so they contribute positively and responsibly to the World.

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.

It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”- G.R. Knost

Our Focus for the Year … and why Faith Formation?

The Religious Faith Formation theme for 2017-2018 is “Into the Future & Beyond…”          We are continuing the third of our three year cycle of Identity, Community, and Interconnected World. This year’s community focus will be to see beyond us as a Unitarian Universalist, at home, church and the broader community. Ultimately as part of the UU Faith Formation we want our youth to identify themselves as ethical, spiritual, worthy individuals and know they are beloved members of our UU family community and confidently go out in the world and live out their UU Faith.

It is through having a strong sense of belonging and feeling loved we show our youth how to maintain their individual UU identities and also have empathy, compassion and love for our community, our earth and everything in our world. Ultimately as part of the UU Faith Formation we want our youth to identify themselves as ethical UU’s by upholding UU morals & principles and spiritual awareness in knowing their worth and confidently say, “I am a Unitarian Universalist” and I belong to a wonderful church family community.

…And why Faith Formation!

Faith indeed has many faces and as Unitarian Universalist we tend to go beyond the denotation of a word to its many connotations However for our purposes the definition of the word faith is dependent on its partnership with formation: Formation, as a UU religious foundation.

Religious Faith Formation provides us a foundation we can use our whole lives, like the joy in our sense of being beloved members of this community. It also provides us with the ability to cope when we get so desperate we think stress is the new normal. Without religion it’s difficult to fill the voids in our world. If we lack the religious faith formation that provides us with faith in our UU religion… we doubt the gift of hope, that inner compass, which lets us know we are going to be all right in this journey. Even if we are not sure how it may be, a well thought out process…                or a divine mystery.

Religion responds to that calmer inner voice that can give us peace, when outside voices muddle our thinking and emotions, calling us to war with ourselves and others. Faith Formation is not meant to give answers, but offers the key. It opens our youth to question, to discern, to empathize, to understand, to love and have compassion for others while maintaining their own identity and self-worth. This is how they know that revelation is not sealed and it’s up to each of us to reveal the life affirming mysteries of love.

UU Religious Faith Formation:                                                                               Trusting in creating a foundation UU values & beliefs & principles. Gratitude and knowledge of our past, peace in our present, and hope for a bright future for our youth and Unitarian Universalism and the world.

 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. [email protected]

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)

Unitarian Universalist Faith Formation Parenting Resources:

There are a variety of resources available for parents and youths in the Religious Education on the hallway on the 2nd floor and will be available in the RE Cart on Sunday during Social Hour. Our lending library contains picture and chapter books on a wide variety of themes, ranging from UU principles and world religions to more difficult topics such as bullying, divorce, and death and grieving. There are a number of UU parenting books and articles on display that you are welcome to sign out and take home as well.                          

The Directors of Religious Education and Faith Formation is trained in Pastoral Care. If you have any concerns regarding your youth or need any assistance please know that you can count on her as a resource also.    

Dolores GHeredia-Wood   Email: [email protected] 

Something to think about:

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.

It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”

 G.R. Knost