lifespan faith development
infants, children & youth
The Spiritual Pathways Program of the First
Unitarian Church of Providenceis committed to creating a
nurturing community that facilitates a lifelong spiritual
journey of learning, faith development, and social action
based on the mission of First Unitarian Church of Providence
and the principles and purposes of Unitarian Universalism.
Spiritual Pathways Program
We are proud to offer a diverse array of experiential curricula that encourage Unitarian Universalist faith development and connection to the living tradition of the UU movement. Themes focus on faith development through a multicultural, anti-oppression lens and integrate music, art, meditation, stories, celebrations, and listening in interactive rituals. We will explore the concept of a “Full Week Faith” initiative that thinks broadly outside conventional and traditional lines and suggests innovative ways of addressing pressing issues that face our congregation and our world.
How Our Cooperative Sunday School Works
All aspects of the Religious Education program for children and youth are implemented through contributions of time and energy from more than 100 adults in the congregation. The quality of the program depends upon our generous volunteers. Parents choose how they will help when registering children in September. Participation by non-parent adult volunteers is welcomed.
The Religious Education Committee for Children and Youth
The Religious Education Committee holds congregational responsibility for the program for children and youth. Up to nine members each serve three-year terms. They meet monthly and support and attend religious education and other congregational meetings and events. All church meetings are open.
Volunteer teachers on teams of four or more are guided in facilitating meaningful connections and experiences with our young people. Rituals and creative opportunities through the arts, sharing of food, and peaceful time together are considered priorities here amidst our hurried world.
Young people are valued members of our congregation. The enthusiasm and joy that they bring to our church school are the key to its success. The expectation is that children and youth come with a willingness to be themselves and to share in a safe, welcoming, supportive atmosphere
Parents are the primary religious educators for their children. Our program provides pathways to support families in that venture. It is important that children and youth attend regularly to develop a sense of belonging. Parents are encouraged to introduce themselves to teachers, putting down roots in the congregation by getting involved, meeting other families, sharing their interests and concerns so that the Religious Educator and the Minister may be more effective in ministering to their family. Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children at all times other than class hours. Parents must remain on church grounds while children participate in all programs.
The Director of Religious Education (DRE)
Cathy Seggel provides leadership and acts as a spiritual resource for the religious education staff and community. She is responsible for planning and leading the program and worship for children and youth, based on the church and R.E. missions, providing staff support and guidance in adult faith development. She works collaboratively with the Minister, Administrator, Music Director, Membership Coordinator, staff, and lay leadership to fulfill the congregation’s mission and goals.
The DRE Assistant
The DRE Assistant (part-time staff) provides support for the Spiritual Pathways Program, supporting the D.R.E. in many ways, including administrative tasks, communications, resource management and worship and other Sunday morning responsibilities.
The Rev. Charles Blustein Ortman, Interim Minister, provides spiritual leadership, vision, pastoral care, guidance, and teaching to the entire congregation. He works collaboratively with the Director of Religious Education, Administrator, Music Director, Membership Coordinator, other staff and lay leadership to fulfill the congregation’s mission and goals.
The Youth Music Director
Youth Music Director, Marcia Taylor, works collaboratively with the DRE, the Music Director, Minister, and the Music and R.E. Committees. She is an advocate for music in the program and in the congregation at large. She selects, leads, and teaches songs in young people’s worship services and directs the Joyful Noise Community Music Program.
Common Threads & Goals
Woven throughout our Spiritual Pathways Program for children and youth are:
We gather to celebrate life and to consider things “of worth,” including the seasons/cycles of the year and shared values. Community worship is the anchor of our program.
To encourage social responsibility and an awareness of current events, promoting a connection between faith and action and the goal of multi-cultural, anti-oppressive community.
UU Identity Building
To develop an understanding of the history and liberal tradition of UUism. To learn and integrate understanding of shared values as articulated in the UU Principles.
To develop self-confidence, trust, respect, and leadership skills while fostering generosity and learning to respect, affirm and welcome others.
(from local to global)
To encourage fellowship and connections between people of all ages and diversities, with an anti-racist, anti-oppression focus.
Study of Faith Traditions
To learn about Earth-based, Eastern, Judeo-Christian, and other world traditions; how they are sources that UUs draw upon in their beliefs throughout their lives.