Our Spiritual Development program engages people throughout the course of their lives.
- Offers opportunity for personal transformation, discovery (of self, the world)
- Promotes critical consciousness (inquiry, reflection, action)
- Provides guidance and support in living values in the world (spiritual growth, religious identity, ethical development)
- Encourages and supports a relationship with the transcendent (mystery, awe, sacred, holy)
Religious Exploration for Youth
Our Religious Exploration program for youth is a child-centered exploration of spirituality and ethical values. Grounded in our eight principles, we guide children and youth in developmentally-appropriate exploration of who we are in the world, and how we can be in relationship with each other and with the earth. Our Religious Exploration classes are not school. We rely on nature, music, discussion and play to help children explore their beliefs and the world around them.
Program Goals include:
- demonstrate to children that they are important and that they are loved
- inspire wonder and curiosity for each other and for the world around us
- explore ethical values, guided by our seven principles
- encourage respect and tolerance for difference
- expose children to ideas of world religions and traditions
Safety: Our Congregation has adopted a Safe Congregations Policy designed to create a consistently safe environment for children and youth.
September 25; October 9 & 23; November 6 & 20; December 11 & 18
Our Eight Principles, with language adjusted for children, guide how our children covenant with each other.
Religious Exploration for Adults
Our Adult Religious Exploration program offers opportunities for adults to explore their beliefs and values in community. Open to our East End neighbors, our programs introduce the diversity of Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values and a context to explore issues of concern in our world.
Some past opportunities have included:
- Newcomer Orientation: Introduces people to UU history, traditions, and beliefs
- Wi$dom Path: A curriculum for exploring money, spirit, and life
- 5 Questions: A program for spiritual exploration and growth, organized around five existential questions that explore our understanding of the world and your place in it.
- Confronting White Supremacy Teach-In
- Beloved Conversations: A curriculum for exploring the role of race/ethnicity in individual and congregational lives
- Monthly discussion theme
Book discussions have included:
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
- America’s Four Gods: What We Say About God–And What That Says About Us
- Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment
- The Case For God
Racial Justice East End Discussions:
- Between the World and Me
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
- Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
- Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women
- Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage help us to mark the important milestones in our lives. Unitarian Universalists honor several rites of passage throughout the course of one’s life.
Child Dedications are ceremonies of commitment among adult caregivers, a child or children, and a congregation. Families work with the minister to craft a service that, grounded in Unitarian and Universalist tradition, reflects the family’s cultural and religious identity. Child Dedications typically include
- A blessing for the life of the child
- An expression of the parents’ and other caregivers (e.g. grandparents, or godparents) hopes and dreams for the child.
- A promise from the congregation to support the child in their development and faith formation
Coming of Age
Coming of Age offers opportunities for deeper exploration among UU youth in early adolescence. Coming of Age programs transition children from teacher-guided curriculum to youth-guided exploration supported by advisors. Most programs pair each young person with an adult mentor who can help to guide their learning and development throughout the program. They prepare young people to take more responsibility for guiding their own faith journey. Coming of Age programs, typically year-long, include an exploration of topics including
- Unitarian and Universalist history and traditions
- Exploration of different theological perspectives and world religious practices
- Learning about congregational leadership
- Invitation to civic engagement
Coming of Age usually culminates with youth presenting a Credo statement that articulates their evolving theological beliefs
The Bridging ceremony marks the transition of young people from youth to young adulthood. Typically, bridging ceremonies occur in the spring as high school youth (or home schooled equivalent) are preparing to graduate high school. Bridging ceremonies celebrate a youth’s accomplishments and offer blessings for their future endeavors. Bridging ceremonies remind youth of the congregation’s continuing commitment to their growth and faith formation.
Weddings and Commitment Ceremonies
Wedding and Commitment ceremonies are an opportunity to celebrate a couple’s decision to join their lives together. Unitarian Universalists celebrate a diversity of theological perspectives and religious traditions. Couples work with the minister to create a service that reflects the unique joining of their families together.
Memorial Services mark the end of a life in community. Families and loved-ones work with the minister to create a service that honors the life of their beloved, and creates an opportunity for family and friends to grieve together.
The UUCSF and its minister, Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, extend hospitality to the larger community for weddings, memorial services and child dedications. In so doing, we continue the long tradition of Unitarian Universalist congregations that have drawn those with mixed faith families – or no religious affiliation – to our sanctuaries and ceremonies. People come to us for many reasons
– we are open and flexible about the design of ceremonies
– membership in our congregation is not required
– ceremonies may take place “off-site,” in parks, private homes, and other venues
– we are a “Welcoming Congregation” and perform weddings for LGBTQI Families.
There is no single “right” way to honor these important transitions in life. Our faith places a high value on dignity in human relationships, which is reflected in each individual ceremony.
For more information about child dedications, weddings, and memorial services, please contact our minister at firstname.lastname@example.org