About religious education at Channing
Religious education at Channing, like Unitarian Universalism, is non-creedal yet affirms and promotes the seven principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
We encourage your child to develop his or her own statement of belief after learning not only about Unitarian Universalism, but also about different world religions and all of the great thinkers throughout time. Your child will draw from a rich diversity of perspectives to find what applies to them at this moment in their life, and as they get older, they will join in discussions about the big questions of the universe such as why bad things sometimes happen and what happens after you die.
From September through June, we welcome children from age 3 to age 18 on Sunday mornings to our one-room school-house setting, introducing and enriching their understandings of religion, the concept of beliefs, and the search for truth. Working through different media and at age-appropriate levels of sophistication, children have the opportunity to begin to develop the critical capacity to think for themselves about religion and values.
The program also engages your children in making a difference through social justice projects. In addition to Sunday classes, we also do social justice projects like cooking for the community meal, raising money for the Pell School in the Newport opportunity zone, which is a partner of ours.
Childcare during services
Childcare is also available on Sundays for your infants, toddlers and young children up to age 4. The childcare room is staffed with two CPR-trained and vetted childcare providers or volunteers from the congregation. All are background-checked according to Channing’s safety policy.
Who teaches Channing Church religious education?
Our program is led by Jessica Thomas, religious education director, and counts on parents and other member volunteers to participate at different times during the year. Your role in your child’s religious education will always be primary, and we encourage all parents to find the best way to be involved in our program both in and outside classes.
What does Unitarian Universalism offer?
We address different themes each year: one year we’ll focus on the Unitarian Universalist principles, another year it may be the array of world religions, and another year, a social justice focus. While we cover each of these topics every year to an extent, we provide a specific emphasis in each year’s curriculum.
There is no set doctrine in a Unitarian Universalist church, so our philosophy of religious education aligns with the adult concept that you are on your own religious and spiritual path, hearing what speaks to you at each point in your life.
Children learn from a wide variety of viewpoints, including mentors from within the church through different programs. These adults come to Unitarian Universalism with their own different religious backgrounds and philosophical perspectives, so you can have your child matched with someone who best fits them.
Channing Youth Group
We have a very active youth group for 6th to 12th grade; they meet on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month from 6-8pm. We do fun social activities. We also engage in social justice projects based the group’s interests. An example of one of their favorites is raising money to purchase gifts for kids who are in the foster-care system and of an age that they have no allowance of their own for Christmas gifts.
The OWL program,“Our Whole Lives”
OWL is a comprehensive sexual education program that Channing offers in three stages. The kindergarten to 1st grade group focuses on questions like “where do babies come from?” In 4th to 6th grade, the focus is on changing bodies and changing minds. And for 7th and 8th graders, we offer a year-long, comprehensive sexual education program appropriate for children entering their high school years.
Coming of Age program
Coming of Age marks the transition from childhood to "Youth" status. It is a rite of passage for 8th-12th graders who wish to explore as a group and as individuals their own spiritual path, personal value system, and role in their family, church, and community. Adult mentors from the church community facilitate and enrich their journey. The program meets bi-monthly for 8 months and culminates in the writing and presentation of personal Faith expressions and a celebration of this rite of passage.