Religious Explorations Program Overview
The LSUS Religious Explorations (RE) program strives to provide preschoolers through teenagers with experiences and relationships that will help them journey through life with integrity, compassion, hope, and wonder.
Guided by Unitarian Universalist principles, the program gives kids the spiritual and cultural literacy they need in an increasingly interdependent world.
Rather than holding up a certain doctrine as “valid,” we promote values shared by the world’s major religions that can guide each child on his or her own spiritual path.
Sunday RE Program
RE students attend the first part of church service at 10:30 a.m., then proceed to RE classes from 10:45 to 11:40.
After class, students are welcomed back with refreshments, conversation, and reflection with LSUS members and guests immediately following services.
RE instructors welcome new students and make sure everyone feels comfortable while learning, making new friends, and having fun. All children are welcome to participate. Parents and guardians are also welcome to join the class.
The mission of our RE program is to provide an environment in which each child can be a seeker of personal truth while developing:
- A foundation of values and theological knowledge from diverse and dynamic traditions;
- A reverence for and joy in life;
- A strong sense of community which respects individual differences;
- A strong sense of individual responsibility and social responsibility;
- An understanding that one can make a difference through his or her outlook and interactions, one day at a time; and
- A way of thinking and approaching life as a Unitarian Universalist.
The curriculum is structured as a 3-year cycle so that over time, students revisit key topics in age appropriate ways. The three rotating themes are:
- Unitarian Universalist Traditions, Beliefs, and History
- Judeo-Christian Heritage
- World Religions
Coming of Age Ceremony
Typically in 8th or 9th grade, students select an adult member of the congregation to mentor them in a one-on-one discussion process we call Coming of Age. This process culminates in the student developing and presenting a personal Faith Statement to the congregation.
"We looked at progressive synagogues for our kids’ religious education, and at local churches of different denominations. Then a friend introduced us to LSUS, and it just fit. The RE program has given our son and daughter exposure to a wide range of other religious beliefs, practices and rituals. Plus, the friends they’ve made here are great kids.” —Tony Hurtig, Evanston architect
“The RE program has helped our kids form a framework for how to live, how to treat people. It’s not about answers, but giving them questions to consider.” —Nancy Prial, Wilmette investment fund manager
“My husband and I wanted our kids to have religious literacy. We wanted them to know Bible stories, but also how the world’s major religions are more alike than different. The lessons of peace, kindness and charity are shared by all religions.” —Dani Petrie, yoga studio owner