Religious education for children at First Church is founded on learning about the UCC faith and its traditions alongside exploring our own individual faith journeys. Faith in action at First Church takes many different forms for our children. Social and ecological justice themes are explored through music, reading from and reflecting on the Bible, poetry/stories, hands-on service projects, and opportunities to share and learn from congregation members.
Together we read the stories of the Bible, talking together about its relevance to our lives. We explore what Jesus said and did to learn lessons for our own lives and in relation to those who are not ‘seen’ in this world the way God meant us all to be seen. Through the lens of our faith and an experiential curriculum, we encourage children to reflect on their own understanding and relationship with God, and all things holy and divine in their world as a source of comfort and strength and to engage more authentically with the broader world.
Children at First Church have opportunities to participate in liturgy through music, readings and children’s sermons, and also have their own religious education experience differentiated by age/interest/comfort level, incorporating those experiences in nature hikes, making art, and working on justice projects. Please feel free to email or call the church if you’d like to speak with our Religious Education staff directly. We’d be thrilled to share more!
Sunday services and Religious Education: Children start in the service with their family and after the children’s message are dismissed for religious education programs which happen outside or masked in the meetinghouse. Additionally, there is a playroom that is supervised by trained staff for younger children.
For May 2022, we will have two religious education offerings for children/youth ages 2nd grade and up:
• Sewing project with Barbara Mahoney. We are so lucky to have Barbara again with us to craft! Last time, the children made pillow cases, this time we may make table runners for new families to Ipswich.
• Counting Herring project with Beth. On Sundays we walk to the river to stand above the fish ladder at the dam and watch for herring for Ipswich River Watershed Association. As ever, being drawn in by nature brings us closer to God and our own spiritual lives.
For this time period (May into June), for children ages PK to 2nd grade:
• Stacey will be offering religious education from ‘The Joyful Path’ curriculum, incorporating outdoor activities (including herring counting with Beth) more as the weather permits.
• Hind will be offering fun supervised time in the playroom for young children.
Communication: Our Education newsletter will be in the weekly First Church newsletter, under ‘Sunday School News.’ Please let us know if you would like to be added to the list.
The Safe Church Policy: All children are protected at First Church by our Safe Church Policy. Children and families are invited to sign in at the start of church. All of our teachers and staff are screened for safety backgrounds, and are trained in the Safe Church principles of the United Church of Christ.
Our Whole Lives (OWL): First Church occasionally offers this comprehensive sexuality education program for high school students.