Growing and Changing Together

We offer many opportunities to explore diverse faith traditions and ways we can grow as individuals, a congregation, and a larger society. Teachers and facilitators of our educational programs include members of the congregation as well as visiting experts, and you don't need to be a church member to sign up. The classes listed below are suitable for adults as well as interested youth, unless otherwise noted. (Children's Religious Education is offered on Sunday mornings.)

Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity
Friday, September 25, 6:00 - 9:30 p.m. (food provided); Saturday, September 26, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (lunch included); continuing conversations at a variety of dates and times

Beloved Conversations offers an opportunity for deep reflection on diversity. If you can attend the weekend retreat, you may sign up for continued conversations at various dates and times at the Activities Table at church. Please contact the church office to register if you are not able to come to church on a Sunday morning.

Ballroom Dancing
Saturdays, October 3 & 17, November 14, December 5, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Chase Gunderud

Learn various ballroom dances: waltz, foxtrot, tango, cha-cha, rhumba, and East Coast swing. No special shoes, experience, or partner required.

This winter, we hope to offer repeats of The Enlightened Brain: Peace, Love, and Neuroscience and End of Life Planning. Details on winter classes will be posted soon.

Register at church during coffee hours on Sunday mornings, or contact the church office. Scholarships are available for classes with fees, and childcare and accessibility needs can be arranged. Fees can be paid by check, cash, or online here. Please contact the facilitator of a class or the church office if you have questions or want to sign up within 10 days of the first class.

Programs for Children and Youth

The daylight is noticeably changing, and the slower pace of summer is about to merge into fall and the faster pace of the school year. September greetings! We are beginning a tremendously big year. Things are quickening in the Religious Education (RE) office as preparations for the year begin for both our RE programs and for our big move. This will be a year of “lasts,” the last time we’ll gather in this building for our fall startup, the last Halloween Party here, the last Game Night, and the last Deck the Halls. We’ll plan with the children and youth how to say goodbye to this church home that we’ve inhabited for generations, and we’ll look forward to anointing and celebrating our new spacious RE digs!

Each year, we take a look at our RE demographics, such as the number of children in each age group, so we know how to divide the classes. See the Religious Education Sessions listed below for this year's configuration.

To kick things off, bring the family and join us for RE-UUnion on Sunday, September 13. This is our first day of returning to RE classes at both services. We’ll get to know each other in class for a bit, then gather to celebrate our return with cider, donuts, and games.

Parent orientations are in the works so you will know what’s planned and how you can help in your child’s class this year. In a new change, you can now register your children for RE electronically! Yearly registration is required for each child so we have current contact information and any other information to help us help your child have a successful RE experience.

I suspect we’ll need to be flexible and have the vision to work closely together this year with all the change on the horizon. But I’m looking forward to another RE year and this exciting journey we’re on together.

Religious Education Sessions

Childcare for Babies and Toddlers to Age Four: 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (10:00 - 11:30 on single service Sundays)

A child may have her or his first church experience here. The nursery is staffed by paid providers and is a warm and welcoming place. We hope each child develops a sense of belonging.

Preschool - Kindergarten (9:15 service)

Our preschool and kindergarten program is drawn from classic UU curricula. It provides children with opportunities to grow in their sense of trust and caring and to develop a self-identity and a sense of connectedness with all of life. They learn about our congregation and religious tradition as they discover and express their own uniqueness.

Kindergarten - 5th Grade (both services)

At 9:15, we have one big class for 1st - 5th graders. At 11:15, we have separate classes for K - 3rd and 4th - 5th.

Elementary-aged children experience workshop rotations. Based on the theory that learning occurs in different ways, children participate in a variety of workshops that relate to our churchwide monthly themes. Each theme is explored through art, games, drama, science, video, nature, music, storytelling, cooking, or language arts.

Our September workshops are centered on the churchwide theme of vision. The elementary-aged children will examine vision in a couple of different ways: scientifically, how our eyes and mind work together; and creatively, from an art perspective. 

Middle School - High School (11:15 service only)

This year, 6th graders will have their own class and use a new UUA curriculum.

7th and 8th graders will gain the knowledge, values, and skills to lead sexually healthy and responsible lives with the help of Our Whole Lives (OWL), a comprehensive sexuality education program. Contact Teresa Putnam, Director of Lifespan Faith Development, for more information. All 7th and 8th grade youth are welcome to attend the first day of class, but parents or guardians must attend a Parent Orientation before the youth may continue to participate. There are two opportunities to attend the OWL Parent Orientation: Sunday, September 13, 12:30 - 3:00 p.m. or Wednesday, September 16, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

On alternating years, the Coming of Age program marks 7th and 8th graders' transition from childhood to youth. 

The high school youth engage throughout each year in learning experiences, worship, community building, social action projects for both the church and the larger community, and fun. They create a much-anticipated worship service each year with the leadership of the Teens on the Committee of UU Leadership (ToCUUL).

From the Senior Minister

When selecting hymns of the month, I told our Director of Music, LB, I thought I could really preach the one we chose, “Woke Up This Morning,” for September’s theme of vision. Vision is that “mind stayed on Jesus,” or “the mind stayed on freedom,” or the mind stayed on our goal or purpose. This was brought home to me in June at General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Portland, Oregon as we celebrated the Supreme Court decision that finally (finally!) provided for marriage equality in this country. This celebration was taking place in the midst of national grief over the racist-motivated shooting of nine people praying in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina. To be among thousands of Unitarian Universalists as we grieved with the country, watching President Obama deliver the eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, hearing the news of the Supreme Court decision and then watching the discussion that led to the eventual removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse… Well, it was powerful. History seemed close, if that makes any sense.

Marriage equality and racial justice are both issues that Unitarian Universalists have cared about and worked toward for generations. Some times over the years, we’ve seemed effective in these efforts, and sometimes we’ve struggled mightily to just show up. But the movement has always inspired the vision. In Portland this last June, I felt the power of that vision which had been cast by those before me. We have to imagine a different world in order to create a better one. And once we’ve got that vision of freedom, or we have our “eyes on the prize,” (to reference another folk song sung in the civil rights movement) we must keep our minds and hearts and bodies focused on the work it will take to create it.

Your Board of Trustees met this last weekend to envision the work ahead for this congregation, as we prepare to move to South Lansing and continue to serve the Greater Lansing area as a liberal religious vision for the world: one where hearts are opened and justice prevails.

We know that the immediate “prize” that we have our eyes on right now is the new campus and property in South Lansing. But the building is not the church; a building is nothing more than the people who occupy it and make it a workshop for our common endeavor, the common purpose of healing hearts and healing the world. That’s why the vision the Board has for this next year is not about the physical move but about a community that is “on the move.” They are keeping their focus on process and communication, both internal and external, so that we can continue to live into the justice we seek in the world, a justice that treats all people as worthy and whole.