Fall is upon us dear friends, and I hope to see many more of you in the next few months, may health prevail! The past three years have been a deep disruption in our lives and while many of you have been present in-person for Sunday worship, events, or small groups, I still talk with one or two people most Sundays who are coming back for the very first time in two-and-a-half years.
This is a time of restarting, of renewal, of re-building our trust and belief in each other, in Unitarianism, and in this place we call home to our hearts and souls. Many of us are craving deep connections, meaning, and reassurance that we matter and that we belong here together. This year we are leaning into Covenant, into trust, and into building community anew.
Olivia and I, your Lifespan Faith staff, have worked hard this summer to plan programs and opportunities for people of many ages, life stages, needs, and interests. My hope is for small groups, classes, and circles to thrive and nurture the deep connections gained in intimate spaces.
To support and strengthen connections and to find your place in the sea of possibilities you can do the following:
Join, Create, or Register a Small Group
Do you want to connect with 6-12 people around a theme, interest, creative endeavor, or spiritual question?
Do you already organize, facilitate or participate in a Small Group, Book Discussion, Circle, or regular small gathering in-person at UCV or through UCV Zoom? Tell us about it with this form: www.ucv.im/small-groups-form
Join one of our 2022 UU Wellspring groups: spiritual deepening for the UU Soul
UU Wellspring is a unique 10-month small group program offered in a multi-platform setting. The twice a month, 2-hour sessions offer participants an opportunity for spiritual deepening that leads to more joyful living, increased confidence in Unitarian identity, and faithful justice making in their lives and in their communities.
Read more about, and register for, Wellspring Sources and our shorter courses, Sacred Earth Reads and UU Wellspring for Young Adults on our website here.
Stay tuned to our weekly and monthly newsletters
We have plans for a Unitarian Elders Circle, a discussion circle on Tolerance and our First Principle, ongoing Death Café discussions, Community Dinners, Family Potlucks, and Vespers Circle Worship. If you can help lift any of these endeavors off the ground, please be in touch with Kiersten and Derrick.
Children and Youth Program Registration
For all new and returning families, all children must be registered so that we have vital information about parent/guardians, children’s needs, photo permissions or restrictions, and so we can maintain appropriate child/adult ratios in the classroom.
Register your child/ren for the 2022-23 Program Year at www.ucv.im/REfamily
Read on to know what you are registering them for!
Sunday Morning Programs
Everyone starts in the service together and Kids leave to do their program after the story. Programs run a little longer than service so parents can enjoy coffee hour.
Pray ground (Sanctuary friendly – floor zone)
The pray ground allows parents to be present in worship with their children, it is up front because that is the best place for kids to see what is going on, be engaged as they are able, and teaches them that they belong here. They are safe in a loving community. It is designed for those who need to be near their parents for any reason.
Our pray ground is the area at the very front of the sanctuary on the right side, with our teen volunteers ready to quietly play during worship or outside if needed. It has carpets and pillows, colouring and stuffies, board books and fidget toys! This zone is designed for those who are too wriggly to sit in a chair for an hour and not ready or willing to join a program. Children who are going to go to a program can hang out here until they are sung out, and those who are not able or don’t want to leave their parents can stay all service comfortably near their parents.
Focus: play-based learning about justice, covenant, and community
Age: 5-9 (grades K-4)
Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in person at UCV
Are you a fan of the Teen Titans or Black Panther? Or are you more interested in learning about your values through playing games with new friends? Superhero Academy is our children’s group for this year, and you’re all invited!
Focus: understanding the religious and spiritual practices of our neighbours and ourselves
Age: 10-12 (grades 5-7)
Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in-person at UCV; also includes fieldtrips once a month to other houses of worship in our community (carpool/transit buddies can be arranged)
Crossing Paths is a core program for UU children. We invite kids beginning to question life-death-and-the-beyond to join with us in exploring many faith traditions and how they relate to our own. We start with Unitarian Universalism and aim to cover many other traditions practiced in our area, from Buddhism to Islam to Paganism to Coast Salish spirituality. This year’s program is a continuation of last spring’s program, which already spent time on Judaism and Christianity. However, there is no need to have attended last year to attend this year.
Special Program Registration
Special programs take place at different times outside of Sunday morning. They are often specific to a peer cohort of similar age. They aim to build community within UCV, work on justice in the community at large, and build deep connection to values and identity. Youth may join on their own regardless of parent involvement or membership. The Our Whole Lives program does have a required parent orientation.
Coming of Age
Focus: UU identity and our community
Register here: www.ucv.im/CoA
Time and place: twice a month for two hours each, exact time tbd; in person at UCV
Coming of Age is a core program for UU kids as they become youth. A group of bridging-in youth become a close-knit community as they ask themselves “what is Unitarian Universalism and why does it matter to us?” UCV elders and our facilitators work with participants to learn what they receive from community, what they give back, and how communities practice their values.
Focus: covenant, worship, games, exploration, justice – everything chosen by youth!
Age: 13-18 or currently in high school
Contact Olivia Hall: email@example.com
Time and place: 1-3 pm Sunday afternoons in person at UCV; also sometimes includes sleepovers on Saturday nights, fieldtrips, and discord game times
How to possibly describe youth group? Youth group is fun because teens hanging out is fun! Youth group dives deep because teens dive deep! Youth group is led by teens alongside adult advisors in a safe and supported space to be themselves, be weird, find purpose, and give back. This group is open to all teens connected (however loosely) to UCV. You’re always welcome here.
Focus: preparing our oldest youth for the transitions in their lives
Age: 16-19, or gr 11, 12, and first year post high school
Contact Olivia Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time and place: two Mondays a month 7-9 pm in person at UCV; also some sleepovers
Unitarians call the process of moving from youth to young adulthood “Bridging”, the symbol of moving into a new life stage. We create a metaphorical bridge to existing in the world and as a Unitarian with more autonomy and shared responsibility.
Bridger’s Program is a small group for our oldest youth who have been part of UCV or a neighbouring congregation for a while. Two Wednesdays a month, and some sleepovers, we will gather to be with each other in this time of transition. Our leaders help youth to plan post-secondary endeavors (What’s a bursary? What’s a course requirement? How do I fill out my application? Do I even want to keep going to school?), read through Wellspring Youth Sources (What are our UU sources? What spiritual practices keep me grounded? How do I take care of myself and others?), and lead our OWL program (What’s a healthy sexual relationship? How do I make space for my own gender and sexual identity?). And it’s fun.
OWL for Senior High (gr 11-12)
Focus: trans and queer affirming sexuality education
Age: gr 11 and 12
Register Here: www.ucv.im/OWLregister
Time and place: one Monday a month 7-9 in person at UCV; some Saturday evenings as well
Cost: pay-what-you-can sliding scale, $25-$125; no one will be denied due to lack of funds, no payment is required
Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education is a program used by UUs and other denominations all over the place to support us at all stages of our lives. The grade 11-12 program focusses on sexual health, lifespan sexuality, building healthy sexual relationships, and sexuality and social issues. Our three leaders (two of whom are queer adults themselves) are trained through the program. Our group this year is a majority queer group of amazing teens. Though OWL is offered through UCV, it’s a secular program. Gr 11-12 OWL is part of our Bridger’s Program for older youth, but youth are able to do this part separately without joining the Bridger’s Program. Please join us!