Upper Elementary and Middle School
Programming Alternates between Sanctuary Keepers, Coming of Age and Neighboring Faiths
Please contact Rebecca Fricke: dre’a’uusocietyamherst.org for more information.
This program is an excellent introduction to world religions and the faith communities that practice around us in the Amherst area. The Neighboring Faiths program involves visiting one area faith community once a month, talking about the experience in relation to the UU faith once a month, coming to a UUSA service once a month (this may happen on the same day as the faith discussion) and then at the end of the year putting together a service on the year’s experience. Neighboring Faiths will prepare the youth for the following year when we hope they will participate in the Coming of Age program.
Coming of Age
The year starts with a bonding experience like a ropes course (or a group hike and games) and ends with a pilgrimage to Boston to learn about UU heritage. One of the most important aspects of this curriculum is time devoted to learning spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, social justice, art — focused time to leave behind any stress and concentrate fully on being at peace. The beginning of the year is ritually started with a ceremony in church and the end of the year is marked by the kids sharing their credos — or personal faith statements — with the congregation. A parents’ program is offered at the same time and that program focuses on exploring the faith aspect of the curriculum the youth are doing.
Most people don’t have any idea what goes into planning a Sunday service and carrying it out. Some of you have been in a worship service and you’ve helped to craft a service from start to finish, but did you ever think about the small details that need to be remembered before the service starts? Probably not! Where do the candles come from? Who puts out the hymnals? How do the microphones get turned on? What do you say when people walk through the door for the first time? The list of things to do is pretty long, but many people help out every Sunday. This year you are going to be an important part of making a Sunday worship run smoothly because you are a Sanctuary Keeper.
Sanctuary Keeper Roles:
Greeter – Greet people as they come through the door and hand them an Order of Service (the Sunday Service program). Be ready to answer questions like, Where is the bathroom? How long does the service last? Where do the children go? Where do I hang my coat?
Sanctuary Keeper –
Set up and take down sound system
Place hymnals on seats
Set up and take down chalis table – candles, matches, flowers
Opening Words and/or Chalice Lighter –
Practice saying the words Rev. Steve gives you or maybe even find your own. If you need to find your own, try to find words that go with the theme for the morning.
Usher – Collects the money that either goes to the UUSA or on Dedicated Offering Sundays, towards a good cause.
Sanctuary Clean-Up – When the service is finished put away all of the hymnals, recycle the order of service papers, pick up lost and found items and straighten chairs.
Sanctuary Keeper Scheduling
One Sunday a month you will meet in Classroom A at 9:45 to receive your assignment. You will rotate through the different jobs and depending on the number of youth and each of you will have one or more job per Sunday. Don’t be nervous, you will be working with adults from the congregation who have signed up to do the same job for that Sunday. This will be a good way for you to get to know people in the congregation.
Why are Sanctuary Keepers (you) essential?
Unitarian Universalists believe in the power and importance of community inside and outside of our UUSA walls. The UUSA relies on members’ and friends’ talents, time and dedication and you are part of this community. By taking part in the organization of Sunday services you will come to better understand yourself, the worship process, the congregation and hopefully the experience will help you better understand what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.
The UUSA thanks YoUU