Lifespan Religious Education
We believe that faith formation is a lifelong process. Religious Education (RE) provides a structure to intentionally focus on spiritual growth, UU identity development, and values-based social change for children, youth, and adults.
- We stand for social justice.
- We are welcoming and inclusive to all.
- We accept you wherever you are on your faith journey.
- We care for our earth.
- We nurture one another.
For children, basic religious education experiences are available on Sunday mornings during most worship services. Children participate in the first part of worship with their families, typically leaving with their teachers after the Time for All Ages. At this time we offer three choices for children: Childcare in Room 108 (ages 0 – 3), Spirit Play in Room 105 (ages 4-6) and Kids’ Club in Room 208 (ages 7-12).
In addition, we offer electives for children and youth that focus on specific themes and topics. To learn more about religious education opportunities for children and youth, please see this page.
Adult religious education is offered at various times throughout the year, focusing on many aspects of spiritual and religious growth. For a complete listing of current programs, please see this page.
If you have questions or ideas you’d like to share, or you’d like to be involved with our RE programming, contact Stephanie Kimball, Director of Lifespan Religious Education.
Values and Vision
Religious education is about faith development: honing the skills, understandings, and practices that help us all live more fully as Unitarian Universalists. We strive to offer programming that parallels UUCB’s congregational mission of Seeking the Spirit, Building Community, and Changing the World.
Religious Education (RE) programming occurs in many forms: classes, seminars, circles or workshops that may be one-time events or ongoing programs; congregational reads; book groups; film viewings; discussions; drop-in meetings; publications; blog posts/essays on website; and/or videos.
Building Community: UU Identity & Faith Development
In our congregation, we build community each time we engage with one another through worship, educational programming, Chalice Circles, committee and task force work, and all the other things that make up our congregational life together. Religious Education examines the foundations of this community: What is it that brings us together? Who are we as a community, and what do we stand for? How do we as individuals fit into this community? How have our beliefs, as individuals, as a congregation, and as a denomination, evolved over time?
Here are some questions we address in each of several areas of UU identity and faith development:
Principles/Promises, Sources and Theology
- What are the values that we, as Unitarian Universalists, hold in common? What is the basis of our faith, and what does that mean for us in relation with each other?
- How and why did our theology evolve as it did? Who are key figures in our history?
Personal Credo/Spiritual Journey:
- What do I believe? How did I arrive at these beliefs? How can I explain it to people outside of the denomination, when they ask?
Finding a Place in UUCB:
- Where do I belong? How do I get involved, or expand my involvement?
Changing the World: Social Justice
While the work of Changing the World may take place primarily through our SJ task forces, Religious Education is concerned with understanding injustices in their historical and cultural contexts, reflecting on our own lives, and exploring frameworks for effective change. This foundational work is necessary as we seek to avoid inadvertently replicating or bolstering the very structures we wish to dismantle.
Here are some of the questions we consider as we educate ourselves about changing the world:
- Historical View: How have systems of oppression evolved and been sustained throughout history?
- Cultural View: What are the cultural expressions of injustice; how are racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc. baked into our culture (schools, government policies, legal system, economic system, entertainment, etc)?
- Personal View: Identifying and dismantling our own internalized systems of oppression around race, gender, sexuality, class, etc. Learn new ways to be with respect to each.
- Theoretical View: What is our moral/ethical responsibility to act? What kind of action is called for? How are we accountable? Why do we pursue social justice through our church, vs. other organizations? What are some theories of social change? Can we envision a more just world?
Seeking the Spirit: Connecting with our Spiritual Selves
As UUs, we come from many different religious and spiritual traditions, from Christianity to atheism. Some of us carry wounds from earlier experiences in religious communities, which we may need to work to heal. No matter where we are in our spiritual journeys, we can continue to explore fundamental questions:
- Where do each of us find the Spirit of Love and Mystery that some people call God?
- How can we deepen our connection with that within ourselves?
- What skills, habits, and practices can we build that ground, center, and build clarity and resilience?
- How do we cultivate our spiritual connections to the natural world?
- What wounds, fears, and myths keep us from wholeness?
- How have people around the globe and throughout history understood themselves as spiritual beings, sustaining and sustained by religious traditions?
For Children & Youth
Please register your child(ren) for the 2023-24 programming year before attending!
Spirit Play (ages 4-6)
Spirit Play is a story-based approach to religious education that honors and encourages each child’s search for truth and meaning. Each week’s story invites exploration of UU themes, principles, sources, and/or traditions. Meets in Room 105 during the worship service, except during multigenerational services. Please register your child(ren) for the 2023-24 programming year before attending!
Kids’ Club (ages 7-12)
This class builds community by celebrating who we are and what we do together. Participants will meet many members of our congregation, learn about their work and what draws them to this church, and build connections. They’ll also build friendships and explore the possibilities for their own roles in our Unitarian Universalist community. Meets in Room 208 during the worship service, except during multigenerational services. Please register your child(ren) for the 2022-23 programming year before attending!
Youth Group (grades 7-12)
Youth gather on certain Sundays, typically from 12:00 – 1:30pm for food and fellowship. Activities include games, social justice projects, field trips, helping with special events, art and craft projects, and more. In 2023-24 we look forward to participating in Youth Cons (conferences), getting to know young UUs from congregations around Indiana and neighboring states.
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education program. Over a two-year period, classes are typically offered for Kindergarteners & 1st graders, 4th & 5th graders, and 7th & 8th graders. Letters or emails are sent to parents inviting their children to participate in the appropriate classes as they are offered. Please make sure your child’s birthdate and grade level are correct in our database so that you will receive all the relevant communications!
Milestones and Rituals
Child Dedication Ceremony
In this ceremony, children are named and blessed, parents dedicate themselves to the young lives entrusted to them, and the congregation dedicates itself to be a loving community in which all may thrive. This ceremony is appropriate for infants as well as young children who may be new to the congregation or have not previously been dedicated.
Age of Reason
Coming of Age
Resources for Parents
Parents are their children’s first, and primary, religious education teachers. At UUCB, we take seriously our responsibility to support parents in this important role. Stay tuned for the start of monthly gatherings for parents and other teachers in the new school year.
Lending Library – We are in the process of creating an online catalog of our Children’s Library materials, including POP Boxes as well as books! We have over 80 titles currently available, and are adding more weekly. Click the Library link in the menu on the left. If you don’t see what you are looking for, please contact us as it may be something we can find.
Questions about Religious Education Programming?
Contact Stephanie Kimball, Director of Religious Education, at email@example.com.
For adults, religious education holds space for intentional learning and growth with respect to your Unitarian Universalist faith and identity. To get a handle on the broad category of religious education, we break it down into six “threads” and strive to offer programs addressing each:
- Spiritual Growth & Practices. On our journey toward wholeness, we seek to better understand ourselves, own our spiritual/religious past, heal old wounds, discover and develop our strengths, build trusting relationships, and more. We can grow our capacity for reflection, awareness, connection, mindfulness, compassion, groundedness, and staying calm in the face of turmoil by learning and engaging regularly with spiritual practices.
- UU Identity. Whether we were raised in a UU congregation, are longtime members, recent arrivals, at some point we must ask ourselves what does it mean to be a Unitarian Universalist? To answer this question, we look to our heritage, learning the stories of our Unitarian and Universalist predecessors and how the two groups came to merge; we look to Article II of our UUA Bylaws to see how we have collectively defined our purpose (currently in Principles and Sources, possibly soon in terms of Values); we listen to the words of present-day Unitarian Universalists and their various perspectives on our faith and what it means; we examine our UU rituals and practices to learn their origins and understand their meanings.
- Theology and Religion. Though many are triggered by the words theology and religion, we do identify ourselves as a church, and we have roots in two religious traditions with well-defined theologies. We do not, however, prescribe a theology that people must accept in order to call themselves Unitarian Universalists. Instead, we covenant to affirm and promote our own searches for truth and meaning. To do this, it can be helpful to consider age-old questions and to understand how various other religions have answered them, using this awareness to help develop our own responses and build our own belief systems.
- Unitarian Universalism in Life. Unitarian Universalism is often criticized (typically from within) for being overly intellectual or theoretical. In addition, we do not adhere to a set of rules for living that might seem to make it relatively straightforward to figure out how to “live” our faith. So we have the potential for a great deal of personal and community growth when we explore what does Unitarian Universalism mean with respect to parenting, relationships, community, work, school, and other basic aspects of our lives?
- Anti-oppression. We acknowledge that we, as a faith tradition and as individuals, exist within a white supremacist, patriarchal, and colonialist culture, all of which are contrary to our Unitarian Universalist values and principles. We must, therefore, work intentionally to understand and dismantle these forces in our own lives and our organizations.
- Social Justice. Social justice work begins with education: we educate ourselves on the issues, and raise awareness among others to grow a movement. But to be effective in our actions we must also ask ourselves some faith-related questions: Why am I drawn to this work? What inner work is necessary to ensure that I am coming from a place of love, humility, compassion and respect, rather than fear, guilt, or rage? What cautionary tales should I be aware of to avoid doing harm in my efforts to help? How do I form healthy, respectful relationships with those I am serving? Am I listening well?
Racial Justice Education
We invite you on a journey to remember, to learn, to change, and to act. There are many ways to join us, wherever you are:
- Sign up now for Beloved Conversations: Within, an online program with Meadville Lombard Theological School. The sliding scale cost starts at $300 and you may request financial assistance when you register. Financial support may also be available through UUCB if your ML request for assistance is denied.
- Join us on Sunday afternoons at 4pm on Zoom to do the work together, following the Do The Work Activity Book by W. Kamau Bell & Kate Schatz. This is an informal, drop-in event; no need to attend every session. But please register, so we can send you the details (the Zoom link, what pages we’ll focus on, which Sundays we’ll meet, etc.)
- Join the Community Read of Poverty, By America written by Matthew Desmond. Ruth Aydt of the Racial Justice Task Force will be leading a book discussion on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 on Zoom; you are also welcome to join discussions hosted by other congregations, and some groups will welcome people who join after the initial meeting. For details see this document.
- Join the Indigenous Studies Working Group.
- Join the Racial Justice Task Force, either through Church Center or by contacting Ruth Aydt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Join the Hope for Prisoners Task Force, either through Church Center or by contacting Deb Fish (email@example.com).
- Fill out our survey to express your interest in a pilgrimage to the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama in 2024 or 2025, and/or other possible journeys.
a monthly newsletter from UUCB Religious Education
Each month, our newsletter highlights upcoming events and program offerings, along with links for registration and more information. There are also highlights from recent events, updates on our emerging programs, and announcements of changes due to COVID and other factors. Please subscribe!
Read recent issues:
We are in the process of creating an online catalog of our RE library materials. This enables patrons to browse our collection, read reviews, reserve materials, check due dates, and more.
When you register for RE, a patron account will be created for you. You will receive an email with your “Barcode/ID” and your password. If you forget these numbers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
To access our library, visit: librarycat.org/lib/UUCB
You may search for a particular item, or browse a genre. To log in, click on the “person” icon in the top right corner, and enter your information.
Many families rely on Sunday morning Religious Education as a way for their children and youth to engage with the church while parents and guardians attend worship services. Since formal religious education typically begins at age 4, we also offer child care for infants and toddlers.
Childcare, therefore, may be a family’s first introduction to UUCB’s Religious Education program. So, although there is no attempt to follow a curriculum or focus on any specific learning objectives, childcare team members act in accordance with the values, standards and expectations of our Religious Education programming and of our church.
- We stand for social justice.
- We are welcoming and inclusive to all.
- We accept you wherever you are on your faith journey.
- We care for our earth.
- We nurture one another.
The mission of our Childcare Team is to provide safe, nurturing, and supportive care for the infants, toddlers and children entrusted to us.
Infants and young children have several options on Sunday Mornings:
- attend service with their parents
- find a calm and quiet place in the nursery (Room 104) where there is a live feed of the service and room for them to play while parents are in close proximity
- explore Childcare in Room 108
We have a caring and attentive childcare team who are here on Sunday mornings to provide care for infants-3 years old. Our childcare team is made up of youth who have grown up in this congregation, adults who have utilized childcare for their own kids, and young adults who are friends of this church and support our mission and vision. Stories, music, and lots of play! Parents and Caregivers are asked to sign their child in and out of childcare and introduce themselves and their child(ren) to the staff.
Childcare typically opens 45 minutes before the start of the first service, and continues until 15 minutes past the end of children’s religious education classes.
Typical Hours for Sundays with Two Services: 8:30am – 12:45pm
Typical Hours for Sundays with One Service: 9:30am – 11:45am
FYI: Parents and Caregivers, there are diaper changing stations in Room 104 and Room 108. Rocking chairs are also available in both rooms for more comfortable spaces for feeding your infants. There is a family bathroom near the courtyard doors, and another in the hallway opposite the Childcare room which contains step stools and small child-size toilet rings for your convenience.
If childcare is needed for meetings, classes, or other church-related events, please send a request at least 2 weeks in advance and we will do our best to arrange it. The more lead time given, the more likely it is that we will be able to find staff available!
Meet our Childcare Team
Register for Events
Sign up to receive our monthly RE newsletter, Education Matters
Find “RE Bloomington” on Facebook
Volunteers needed in Religious Education this fall!
Religious education is an important factor for families seeking a spiritual home, and is key to keeping new members engaged. Please support the UUCB community by helping to ensure robust program offerings for children and youth.
You choose how you’d like to be involved: with children, youth or adults? just once, or on a regular basis? On a Sunday morning during service, or at another time? As a lead teacher or an assistant? Helping to create a curriculum, or being handed a lesson?
Training and support will be provided. Volunteering can be a great way to further your own religious education and to get to know a variety of people in our church community!
If you’d like to offer your time and/or expertise, please fill out this quick form or email Stephanie Kimball (email@example.com).
Call for Adult Religious Education Proposals
Adult religious education includes a wide range of topics: UU identity, Theology & Religion, Spiritual Growth and Practices, Anti-Oppression work, Social Justice, and Unitarian Universalism in Life. If you would like to lead a workshop, mini-series, semester-long course, or other program, please use this form to submit your proposal. Proposals will be accepted any time, but priority will be given to those received by May 22.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Curriculum
Part of our response to the recent loss of reproductive rights in this country is to increase our commitment to lifespan sexuality education. Now more than ever, it is imperative that all people have the knowledge and skills to develop healthy relationships, make informed decisions, and know what options and resources are available to them.
Our Whole Lives sexuality education (OWL) is a comprehensive, lifespan program that offers age-appropriate, reliable information about sexuality, reproduction, relationships, consent, and more. Such education is one key component in avoiding unwanted pregnancies and supporting people making informed decisions about their bodies and their lives.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Reproductive Justice Task Force, we are now able to double our training opportunities for new OWL facilitators. The task force will also be helping recruit new trainers, and develop outreach to the community as new courses are offered.
If you would like to be part of our OWL facilitation team, please contact us as soon as possible, as trainings are filling up quickly! Our congregation will pay for all our facilitators’ trainings.
If you don’t have time to volunteer but would like to contribute, please consider making or increasing a pledge to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington.
Wanted: Used iPads
As children’s religious education programming switches to a new check-in procedure, we are in need of a few iPads capable of running iOS 12 or above. Please contact us if you have one to donate!