Welcome to Religious Exploration at First Parish!
We believe that religious education is a lifelong exploratory process. We offer many programs for children, teens, and adults. In this spirit, we offer religious education for all ages including exploratory programs for kids, youth, adults, and multigenerational gatherings (all including justice projects and service work).
CHILDREN are enthusiastically invited to visit our programming. In addition to our inspiring multigenerational Worship Services and events, we offer will be a special Religious Exploration program for kids on Sunday mornings (during the adult worship service) to gather with peers of similar ages. The program includes a mix of the Soul Matters curriculum and Spirit Play using activities like stories, art, games, service projects, and wondering questions as we take time to explore our values and beliefs.
This program for kids is led by our long time and beloved staff Children’s R.E. Coordinator, Annelie Nygren-Mitchell, along with the assistance of volunteers.
Religious Exploration for YOUTH involves movement, literally and figuratively as we engage our full selves – body, mind, heart, and spirit honoring our whole being. Our programs provide teens with developmentally appropriate opportunities to explore topics that include meaningful (and fun) connection, morals and ethics, community activism, social justice, anti-oppression, health relationships and sexuality, spiritual practices, self-care, and living our values. We encourage wonder, asking questions, critical thinking, compassionate loving, and honoring diversity of beliefs. Our teenage members, friends, and neighbors are invited to come explore with us and join one, some, or all of our programs.
Senior High Youth Group (SHYG) meets on most Sunday evenings. The youth help to plan their activities and these usually include a mix of art, games, emotional resiliency building, being outside in nature, community service, and justice work. Some members of SHYG will volunteer to plan and prepare for a Service Trip on which the youth will deeper exploring our values in the world. The theme, projects, and timing are chosen by the group. Our intention at all SHYG gatherings is for our teens to have fun, feel connected, awaken new understandings, help others, and be inspired!
Junior Youth Group (JYG) gathers once monthly for middle school youth (in 6th through 8th grade). It offers the opportunity for socializing, local community service activities, and a chance for engaging activities to inspire them. In addition to the monthly Sunday early evening junior youth group, they are invited and encouraged to join the Youth Choir (Joyful Noise) with Rip Jackson and attend the weekly Sunday morning worship service or children’s religious exploration.
This year, we are offering Our Whole Lives, a highly regarded health and sexuality program for grades 7 & 8. Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships and sexual health. With a holistic approach, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality. While Our Whole Lives is secular, it is not value-free. The program gives clear messages about the following key sexuality issues: self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, and justice and inclusivity.