Children & Youth Coordinator
Our religious education program is taught by volunteers and by Bob Miess, our Children & Youth Coordinator. Children are welcome in the sanctuary with their families at all times, and during Sunday services we offer supervised play for youngsters and religious education classes for older children and teens. Materials used in the classes are based on the Soul Matters curriculum.
Bob Miess became the coordinator of the program in 2016. Ordained as a Lutheran minister over 40 years ago, he chose a secular career in technology after three years in the ministry. Bob became a member of the First Unitarian Church of San Jose in 1998, and has been Unitarian Universalist ever since. He’s always open to conversations with adults and young people about our programs for children and youth, so if you have thoughts or concerns, please feel free to chat with him after a service or email him.
The Religious Education community and the Children and Youth Coordinator work together to design a program for children and youth, which includes Sunday School classes, youth activities, and family events.
Our children learn about themselves and their community, discover world religions, and focus on living out the values of compassion, justice, and generosity with the following goals in mind:
- Experience moments of wonder and awe together
- Nurture open hearts, minds, and spirits
- Create safe spaces to ensure everyone’s well-being
- Welcome the diversity of the human family
- Create brave spaces ot bring our whole selves and learn together
- Utilize and share the collective wealth of our Unitarian Universalist experience and perspective
- Instill a desire and a capacity to be change agents in our world
Child care is available for infants through kindergarten in the Starr King Building from 10:15 am until noon every Sunday morning. Your child is also welcome in the Sanctuary.
Our high-school youth group gathers for dinner and other activities on the first and third Sunday afternoon every month. The youth group also takes field trips to for hiking, movies, and overnights at our church, in the Sierras, or at other UU churches in our district. About once a year the youth group leads a worship service.
Worship: Usually approximately 10:30-10:50am.
Children and Youth of all ages (including toddlers) are invited to begin the morning in worship. They are invited to the “pray ground”, a children’s worship space in the front of our sanctuary where they may join in the worship, play quietly, read books related to the theme of the service, or do some simple coloring and crafts related to the theme of the service. There is adult seating space near the “pray ground” for adults, so families may remain together. Most Sundays there is a Time for All Ages, after which children and youth are invited to go to their classes (though they are always welcome to remain in the worship service).
Some Sundays Youth (Grades 6-12) are encouraged to remain in the Sanctuary for the entire service. Periodically we hold intergenerational worship services that are meant for All Ages to remain in the Sanctuary.
Sunday School Classes: Usually approximately 10:50-11:45am
Grades 1-5: Room 3B
Grades 6-12: Room 2A
Sunday School Classes usually explore the same theme as the adult worship service with age-appropriate learning and play activities.
Nursery: Available 10:15 am until noon every Sunday morning
Our nursery is in the Starr King Building. Your child is also welcome in the sanctuary.
For elementary grades. Meets periodically for fun and learning how to help lead worship by greeting people, lighting the chalice, taking the offering, etc.
Coming of Age (COA)
Our COA program invites youth in grades 8-10 to explore their faith more deeply in small group sessions and weekend retreats. We conclude with a celebratory worship service in which the COA youth share their faith perspectives with the congregation.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) Age-Appropriate Lifespan Sexuality Education
Honest, accurate information about sexuality dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. We offer OWL programs for Kindergarten-Grade 2, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12, Young Adult, Adult, and Senior Adult on a rotating basis.
The OWL program offers:
- Accurate information presented in developmentally appropriate ways for each age group
- Affective and emotional learning
- Guiding values and principles
- Activities that help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
- A safe and supportive peer group
- Acceptance of diversity
- A social justice approach to inclusive sexuality education
- Parent orientation that affirms parents as their children’s primary sexuality educators
For more detailed web-based information about OWL, check out the UUA Website here.