Lifelong Faith Exploration (LFE)
The part of church that is responsible for children’s and adult’s “Sunday School” is called “Lifelong Faith Exploration”, or LFE for short. This name reflects the Unitarian Universalist concept that there is no ‘one truth’. That everyone must embark, from their earliest years, on a fair and responsible learning journey to find their personal truths, and that those truths are subject to change as more learning and experiences nurture expansion of thought and perception of the possible. This is a lifelong journey that does not only happen on Sundays!
Lifelong Faith Exploration (LFE) for Children
On Sunday mornings, worship starts with the whole family together in the Sanctuary. Children attend the adult service for about fifteen minutes – they participate together in some of our important rituals like lighting the chalice – the symbol of our faith – as Unitarian Universalist congregations do across the country and throughout the world. Announcements are made, a hymn is sung, and either the minister or a guest storyteller will share a Story for All Ages. Children are then sung out to their classrooms, where they are welcomed by familiar teachers and our Sunday school class begins!
Circle time is first, where we each check-in and share our thoughts about the Story for All Ages that we’d just heard. UUCWNC is taking a thematic approach to worship this year, and our theme for October is ‘trust’. So we will be exploring various aspects of the meaning of the word ‘trust’, in the context of building a personal faith, and in an age-appropriate format, by talking and doing related, dynamic activities – games, craft projects, outdoor adventures, etc. November’s theme is ‘Grace’ and December’s is ‘Waiting’.
Topics covered by children and youth in Sunday school parallel those reviewed from the pulpit in the adult service. This affords families the opportunity to ‘take the lessons home’ and discuss them together throughout the week. UUCWNC’s congregation, as a whole and as individual members, is tackling a few subjects in addition to the monthly theme. Periodically, we will be interjecting lessons about building the beloved community by taking action to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression. If check-in during circle time appears to revolve around a current event, local or international, we may ditch the lesson plan to spontaneously respond to the needs of our youth to continue discussion, to seek their personal truth in responsible ways. Teachers are trained in active listening techniques and apply our UU principles of love, acceptance, and respect as part of our covenant with each other. Children quickly recognize UUCWNC as a safe space in which to express themselves genuinely as they explore their deepest thoughts about the world around them.
October will see us preparing for our first ever ‘Trunk-or-Treat’ event to be held on Halloween, Monday, October 31st, from 6 to 8 pm. Throughout the month, children will help make decorations and advertising posters for the celebration. Part of Halloween studies will include discussions about our ancestors and how we can learn from the wisdom and love of those who came before us.
Parents choose Unitarian Universalist congregations for their child’s religious education because of the community dynamic that helps raise children to become kind, respectful, fair-minded, caring – but strong enough to Side with Love and fight for justice. Participation in UUCWNC’s Lifelong Faith Exploration programs is supplemented by worship, social justice work and multi-generational gatherings that reinforce the lessons taught at home. We nurture truth-seeking, spirituality and progressive moral values that will continue to shape and support our children as they grow.
In our church we believe that it is important to learn about things from many different sources. The Unitarian Universalist Sources are foundational to religious education programming at UUCWNC, and include:
- our own sense of the wonder of life
- the Jewish and Christian religions and many other religions from around the world
- earth-centered religions which celebrate life and teach us to live in harmony with nature;
knowledge gained by people through science and reason
- the lives of people who have worked to make the world a better place
- our thoughts and experiences
Lifelong Faith Exploration (LFE) for Adults
Welcome Class: If you are new to Unitarian Universalism as a faith, or just new to UUCWNC as your local UU church, you will want to attend the Welcome Class in early November. Here, you’ll learn about the history of UUism, the history of our local congregation, and how you can get involved in all the educational and just-for-fun activities. Members who are engaged in local, state, and national social justice work will join the class to share with you how to scratch that activist itch and get involved in causes that are dear to our UU values! Learn about the path to membership in this dynamic faith community and meet other newcomers like yourself – meet the minister and the lay leaders of the church and learn how this place runs.
Quest: Quest is a program that invites you to join a collective journey of the mind and spirit, honoring the Latin word Quaere which means to search, to seek, and to question. It provides a great opportunity to express your thoughts, feelings, and questions about a range of topics while getting to know other participants on a deeper level. The group discussion format welcomes participation. Upcoming topics are announced via email and are frequently based around an article or reading that is shared in the email. Quest meets Sundays 9:15-10:15 A.M. in Dobkin Hall.
Unitarian Universalism: Our UU faith compels us to continue learning constantly to deepen our personal faith and to seek further for our truths. Grow your soul by attending various adult and intergenerational workshops taking place throughout the year. Look for event scheduling in the monthly Beacon newsletter and the weekly UUDigest that are distributed via e-mail. We welcome members to share their expertise and interests – please contact your LFE Director if you would like to facilitate a workshop yourself, or if you have a specific need that is not being met by current programming. We have access to a vast library of curriculum and resources created and organized by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and we are happy to help you progress on your path of spiritual learning.