Youth Ministry at UCMH
All youth in 7th grade and up are invited to participate in our Youth Ministry specialized programming. We are very grateful to have Roberta Altamari working as our Director of Lifelong Learning as she is very experienced and knowledgable about youth ministry. She recently completed a research fellowship through the Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School and her presentation about her “youth ministry awakenings” at the 2016 General Assembly for Unitarian Universalists was very well received.
As mentioned in our Religious Education and Faith Formation for Children and Youth section, we offer special “all ages” programing on Sunday mornings that welcomes teens. We offer our teens both the opportunity to connect with the younger children regarding UCMH’s “thematic ministry” topics and our Unitarian Universalist principles and separate time to explore these themes with deeper theological explorations, unique activities, and inspiring projects. The weekly themes are explored through various lenses including our UU “sources”, social justice issues, artistic expression, ethical choices, current events, and mindfully using our UU thinking minds and loving hearts.
In addition, we offer many one-time and ongoing programs and projects for youth to participate in at other times. Let us know if you want to be on our email list to be notified of these programs. The activities and meeting times are determined by the interests of the teens here at UCMH and range from meeting other UU youth to inspiring community service projects. Our “youth ministry” programming includes justice work, leadership development, and building healthy relationships within our “covenantal communities”. Our youth have lots of fun together while leading our congregation in being “principle activators” by putting our UU values into action.
UCMH also routinely offers two well-known and highly regarded Unitarian Universalist religious education programs for teens, Our Whole Lives and Coming-of-Age.
We are pleased to be offering the Junior High (Senior High and Young Adult-Adult) programs of our Our Whole Lives. The next offering is Junior High OWL, which will be October 2016 through April 2017 in collaboration with the Northborough and Hopedale congregations. The Unitarian Universalist Association writes, “Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.”
Our 8th and 9th graders are also invited participate in the Coming-of-Age program, which will next happen beginning in Fall of 2017. “Coming-of-Age” is the Unitarian Universalist tradition for supporting and recognizing our teenage youth as they are becoming adults. This very comprehensive program includes but is not limited to actively participating in discussions about deep theological questions; learning about courageous and inspiring UU ancestors; considering what it means to live our UU principles and values in today’s world; exploring spiritual practices; developing a close relationship with a mentor; and studying social injustice and engaging in justice work. The program’s grand finale is the presentation of personal credos during a wonderful celebration and youth led worship service.