Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, Maryland

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Faith Formation: At-Home Resources

Our Monthly Themes and Curriculum in Children's Faith Formation

UUCR Family Faith Formation follows the same monthly spiritual themes that shape our worship, music, and small group ministry. This thematic approach connects faith development across the whole congregation and provides a bridge for parents and children to share conversations after class. Whether your child is participating online only or has simply missed the in-person class, we hope that these resources might enrich your family life and help you to form deeper connections. 

Theme: Renewing Faith

Preparing the Renewing Faith Theme for Parents and Caregivers

A UU Take on Faith

 For Unitarian Universalists, faith is not necessarily God-centered, though it is for some members.  Faith in something greater than ourselves may be called God, or by other names such as Spirit of Life, the Great Mystery of Being, or Beloved Community. We share faith in ourselves, others and the power of community.  Each of us forms our own "faith perspective," which might also be described as one's worldview.  We empower our children to make meaning and find what is true to their hearts by drawing on many traditions, and exploring the big questions of religion throughout our learning together, and throughout their lives.

Questions for Reflection for Adults

  • What is faith to you?
  • What and who do you have faith in? 
  • How do you sustain, renew, and live your faith?  What practices, places and people support and inspire you to stay centered in that which matters most to you?
  • What do you hope for your child as they develop their own faith perspective?

Renewing Faith Music 

Everything is Possible, by Lea Morris
Everything Possible, composed by Fred Small, performed by Lea Morris
 

Children's Renewing Faith Lessons

Renewing Faith in Promises
Renewing Faith in Ourselves
Renewing Faith in Each Other
Renewing Faith in the Simple Things

We may not do these sessions in order, or complete all the sessions in our class time.


Lesson A :  Renewing Faith in Promises

Children's Activities

Story to Read or Watch: The Promise by Nicola Davis A story about a promise to plant acorns in a city that transforms the neighborhoods as well as the planter.

Our promises might transform our relationships to others and the world, and us as well!  Discuss the ways in which the child lives their promises, and how these might be good for their relationships to others, and good for them, too!

 

The Rainbow is a Symbol of Faith  

What promises does the rainbow represent? 

  • a promise of hope after a storm as the sun shines through again, and a reminder of the beauty in nature 
  • the biblical covenant between God and Noah that the earth would not be destroyed.  Here's a fun version of this short story about Noah and the Rainbow Covenant.
  • the promise of the PRIDE flag to honor the LGBTQIA community and the pride in being their true selves
  • the seven colors of the rainbow are also a symbol of the seven UU Principles, our promises to each other and to ourselves. (But now we have 8 principles at UUCR!  Learn more below.)
 

One of our UU Sources of learning about faith is Science.  When and where have you seen rainbows? Do you know what causes them to appear? Understanding the science of rainbows can make them that much more fabulous to see! Check out National Geographic's website for rainbow facts!

 

 
Explore the Promises of Unitarian Universalism, called  our “Principles” 

Activity Page: Color the Seven Rainbow Principles coloring page.
 
Our UU faith is a covenanted faith; not a creedal faith. We have differing beliefs and practices.
 
Our covenant is a set of promises, called our principles.  We promise one another that we will do our best to honor these principles.
 
 
We have an 8th Principle at UUCR!
 
Many congregations have adopted this new principle, to make a new promise for our congregation's actions.  
 
"We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions."
 
In a shorter version for kids, we can say "We work together to make this a fair and just world for everyone, and especially Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other people of color who have not always been treated fairly."
 
After you Color the Seven Principles coloring page, add brown and black stripes for our 8th Principle!  
 
Have you seen a rainbow symbol with pink, light blue, white, black and brown before?  Google this special symbol of Love and Justice to learn more!
 
Rainbow Pride Books to Learn More about the Gay Pride Rainbow: LGBTQ Children’s Books:  59 Pride Books for Kids
 

Family Activities for All Ages

Create a Family Covenant!

What are some promises that your family makes to one another? Are they spoken or unspoken? Written or unwritten?

Do you think that you all agree what is most important to you as a family?

One way we live our faith in self and others is through making and keeping promises of how we will treat each other.  

 

Making a "Family Covenant" of promises to one another in your family can help you remember how you want to show your caring to each other every day. 

 

Choose approximately 5  promises that all members of the family will strive to keep.  For example: respect people's differing needs, speak kindly, listen attentively, all feelings are valid, every person matters. 

 
A covenant starts with "We will..  It applies to everyone, children and grown-ups alike.   Our promises are stated positively; for example instead of " No name calling,"  you might say "We will speak to each other kindly."  Lists what matters most,  it is not a list of all of your families' rules.  The covenant applies to everyone; grown-ups and children alike, and Is signed by all to show their agreement.
 
Plan together for what you will do when someone doesn't keep one of these promises.  We are human and we know this will happen to all of us. How will you help to repair the harm?  to help that person do better the next time? How will you help each other keep your promises?
 
Posting the covenant somewhere that everyone can see it is very helpful. Refer back to it regularly at a time when the family gathers; like a mealtime or bedtime.  Talk about how are you doing in living up to it.  Notice when people are doing well at keeping these important promises!( not only when someone is" out of covenant.") When something goes wrong, revisit the covenant and try again. 
 
Have faith. Your love for one another will guide you through- even when these promises of your best intentions may be hard to keep.

 

Plant seeds or a tree together!

 

Plant In your yard, or as part of a volunteer project. How can you have faith that it will grow? Do you believe this will only happen given the right conditions?  How are our own actions part of being "faithful?"

Return to Table of Contents

Renewing Faith in Each Other by Joining Forces

Our faith teaches us that, together, we have the ability to change the world, and that we don't have to go it alone.  Remembering this power that arises when we unite in common cause is a great source of hope.  Looking to those beside us and those who have gone before us, we gain confidence that “yes, we can!” 
 
This session is about the practice of joining forces for the common good. When we join forces, we are stronger. We can have faith that we can do something together that none of us could do alone.

Story:  A Bundle of Sticks

Introduce the idea with this activity: Gather some small sticks. Try to break one using your hand only. Now, bundle them together.  Try to break the bundle, using only your hands.  What happens? 
 

Tell the story, A Bundle of Sticks, adapted from an Aesop's fable.  read it with your child, or have them read it to you.  Talk about it, during and after you tell it.  

  • Why did the mother want her children to be friends to one another? 
  • Have you ever needed friendship or help from your siblings or friends? 
  • How do your parents rely on siblings, family members and others to support them and keep them strong?
  • Do you think that these adult siblings will be able to join together like their mother hoped when she showed them the bundle of sticks?
  • What is the lesson in this story?
  • Do you think this lesson is true?

Family Activities

 Do something collaborative together as a family, or with your child. Communicate, solve problem, resolve differences.  Note with your family members that these are all important parts of joining together in any activity or community effort. 
 
Suggestions for a Joint Effort with your Child
  • Bake or cook together
  • Build something with blocks or other materials together 
  • Do a puzzle together
  • Build a structure out of cardboard boxes & other recyclable materials and tape, glue. 
  • Play a cooperative board game- Use one you have at home, or adapt a competitive board game to become cooperative! Hoot, Owl, Hoot is my favorite cooperative game in which everyone tries to get the baby owls to their nest.  It’s available at many online retailers, along with other cooperative board games ( inc. Stone Soup and Count Your Chickers) by Peaceable Kingdom. Fun for ages 4 and up, including adults.  The website of the Enrichment Alliance of Virginia contains ideas for adapting your current games, like "Cooperative Candyland." With older kids, try Cooperative Scrabble or Cooperative Monopoly!  Not only do these create an atmosphere of alliance, they are a great work-around for the child who hates to lose!

 

  • lifelong spiritual discovery
  • beloved community
  • a just world