UUCF Offers A Distinctive Religious Exploration for Children, Youth
For parents uncertain about the religious direction they would like to lead their families, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (UUCF), located on Hunter Mill Road in Oakton, offers a rich and unique Religious Exploration (RE) program for all children, from pre-K toddlers through high school seniors, emphasizing exploration of all religious traditions while developing a personal spiritual path. Registration for the RE program, which offers classes Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, is now open by calling 703-281-4230.
Unitarian Universalism, a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots, affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and provides a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe ethical living is the supreme witness of religion. This noncreedal approach toward religion and education has enabled UUCF to expand its adult membership by 50 percent over the past five years. This growth also includes more than 300 children and youth.
According to Parish Minister Rev. Mary Katherine Morn, "From our youngest children to adults, spiritual growth at UUCF emphasizes exploration of all religious traditions, allowing a religious path of one's own determination. Our RE staff of 100 parent volunteers works very hard to introduce age-appropriate materials to the children in a fun, interesting and meaningful way."
One such program, the Neighboring Faiths curriculum, acquaints middle-schoolers with the diversity of faiths worshipped in the U.S. Representatives from neighboring places of worship visit UUCF youth to provide background before class field trips to local services. Younger students enjoy an engaging curriculum, Holidays and Holy Days, to experience and better understand a wide variety of religious traditions.
Realizing the importance of creating a society where sexuality is treated as a normal, healthy and positive part of life, UUCF provides students with a highly praised sexuality education program that was created in conjunction with the United Church of Christ and based on national standards for sexuality education. A yearlong program of Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education Program is offered for eighth-graders. Shorter, developmentally appropriate segments are offered to various other ages as part of their religious exploration classes.
A new series of programs and resources for all ages, Tapestry of Faith, can be viewed online at www.uua.org/re. UUCF uses many of these programs to nurture Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith and vital communities of justice and love.
This unique religious educational programming, supported by full-time church staff and more than 100 parent volunteers contributed to UUCF being recently recognized by its national association. At its annual meeting of Unitarian Universalist congregations last year, UUCF was named a "Breakthrough Congregation" by the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Rev. Morn adds, "I love being a part of this congregation. This is a congregation filled with spirit and generosity. The work that goes on here, along with the fun that happens here, transforms individual lives, transforms our community and in fact some of the work that we have done has helped to transform the world."