Feeling the Spirit through Music

The 2018 Summer Program for 7-year-olds and Older

This summer our second grade (7 years) and older will have the opportunity to experience our “feeling the spirit through music” program. Each Sunday we will bring in a musician to lead the children in music, song and/or story. Each Sunday will be a unique session where children and adults will have the opportunity to experience the sounds that connect us to something deeper within ourselves. No prior musical experience is necessary. At heart, we are all musicians! Your child is encouraged to bring their own instrument if they have one. Otherwise, instruments and materials for participation will be provided. Here is the summer lineup:

6/24: Drumming with Karen Smith and Janet Haas

7/01: Flute with Meg Ryan and Kris Alutius

7/08: Guitar with Emily Joy Goldberg and Sharon Mafuru

7/15: Drumming with Karen Smith and Janet Haas

7/22: Flute with Meg Ryan and Kris Alutius

7/29: Guitar with Emily Joy Goldberg and Sharon Mafuru

8/05: Drumming with Karen Smith and Janet Haas

8/12: Guitar with Emily Joy Goldberg and Sharon Mafuru

8/19: Flute with Meg Ryan and Kris Alutius

8/26: Drumming with Karen Smith and Kira Baker-Doyle


Additional information for Flute Sundays: The flute group will not focus on traditional western classical flutes – we will start with funky recorders and also explore everyday objects that act like flutes, make our own instruments, and listen to flute music from all over the world — Ireland, India, the Americas, Japan, plus funk, soul, and jazz. Woohoo!

Additional information for the Drumming Sundays: The drumming/rhythms group will focus on self-expression, learning the instrument’s orient, finding the rhythm within yourself and transferring to the instrument, performing as an ensemble. Understanding that Music is medicine and universal.

Additional information for the Guitar Sundays: The guitar group will explore these string instruments through making our own paper plate guitars, hearing stories, exploring the ukulele and singing along to guitar accompaniment.  

Summer of Arts and Crafts

Summer CSD Program for Ages 6 and Younger

This summer our first grade (6 years) and younger can participate in our “summer of art and craft” program. Each Sunday children will have the opportunity to make unique arts and crafts. Each session will feature a craft that your child will be able to take home with them. If your child is not feeling very “artsy,” no problem. During each session, children are free to explore the many books, puzzles, blocks and other toys that will be available during craft time.

Session leaders:

  • 6/24: Jennifer Bright & Amira Parker
  • 7/01: Jennifer Bright & Amira Parker
  • 7/08: Jennifer Bright & Amira Parker
  • 7/15: Jennifer Bright & Ben Smith
  • 7/22: Martha Eberbach & Ben Smith
  • 7/29: Jennifer Bright & Amira Parker
  • 8/05: Jennifer Bright & Ben Smith
  • 8/12: Jennifer Bright & Ben Smith
  • 8/19: Jennifer Bright & Ben Smith
  • 8/26: Jennifer Bright & Ben Smith


Child Spirit Development at USG

To register your child or youth for Child Spiritual Development at USG click here.

The Mission of our Children’s Spiritual Development (CSD) program is to:

  • Provide developmentally appropriate education that supports the lifelong process of learning to cultivate goodness, compassion, empathy, and love for oneself and others.
  • Offer safe and caring spaces for introspective work, connecting to Nature, and building right-relationships in community across generations.
  • Put into practice hands on, experiential education for children, teachers and parents that cultivates respect, stewardship, service, mindfulness, responsibility, justice, and the search for truth and beauty.
  • To welcome young people into the UU community, help them find their way into becoming active members, and provide them opportunities to learn the rich history and guiding principles of UU.

We believe if the mission of CSD is fulfilled it will contribute greatly to fulfilling our overarching mission at USG of: Building beloved community with service, compassion and empowerment.

CSD Logistics

All Sunday morning classes meet at 10:30am during regular church service. Youth Group, and OWL (Our Whole Lives) for the high school youth meets from 6-8pm on Sunday night.

On a typical Sunday morning, everyone (except children in the nursery) will attend the beginning of the church service. After the first 15 minutes, children, youth and teachers are excused to their classes. The classes and curricula are listed below.

There are several intergenerational services throughout the year where everyone, including children and youth, stay for the duration of the service. Please visit: This Week in Sunday School for details about an upcoming Sunday (generally updated on Thursdays.)

Classes and Curricula for 2017-18

PreK – Kindergarten (3-5 years old): Our Houses, Our Homes
Our Houses, Our Homes uses home as a metaphor to explore aspects of life around us, our families, things we love, community, birth, life and death. By exploring being at home in church, we hope children will experience the spirituality of family and a larger understanding of community. The curriculum is broken into units, each one encompassing a theme. We also encourage an “open classroom” concept through “creation stations” and other available play areas, so children can make choices. Parents provide essential support by assisting in the classroom throughout the year.

1st – 2nd Grade (6-7 years old): Free to Believe
Free to Believe is an experiential program designed to nurture the emotional, social, and spiritual life of children. The first two-thirds of the program uses the Unitarian Universalist principles as starting points for exploring values, beliefs, and what it means to be Unitarian Universalist. These are explored through hands-on-activities, stories, games, songs, and discussions. The last third of the program examines some “big questions” – such as questions about life and death, spirit and God, and the beginnings of world and life – through the perspective of our Unitarian Universalist sources.

3rd – 5th Grade (8-10 years old): Sing to the Power
Sing to the Power uses a metaphor of the four elements – earth, air, fire and water – as a framework to explore different forms of power and the ways we can exercise our power in the world. For example, the first unit “earth” looks at the kinds of power associated with it: connection, roots, growth and place. This program also has a Faith in Action component where students will choose social justice projects to work on throughout the course of the year. Sing to the Power affirms our Unitarian Universalist heritage of confronting “powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love” in a developmentally appropriate way using lessons, games, discussions and experiential activities.

6th – 8th Grade (11-13 years old): Building Bridges
Building Bridges is a world religions program to deepen youth’s understanding of the dynamic, fascinating, and varied world in which they live. It seeks to broaden their knowledge of humanity and embolden their spiritual search. Building Bridges is a series of workshops that attempts to lovingly and reverently examine some of the closest kept treasures of the human heart. This exploration nurtures participants’ positive outlook toward other faiths and the people who follow them. This program provides youth a unique opportunity to engage the world’s diversity of faiths in a safe, affirming atmosphere that is grounded in Unitarian Universalist faith. During the course of the year we will visit churches, temples, mosques as well as other sacred religious sites and places that draw inspiration toward the transcendent. Parent’s participation as drivers and chaperones to these sites is key to making this program a success.

9th – 12th Grade (14-18 years old)
Youth Group and Coming of Age (9th and 10th grades)

Coming of Age (COA) every other year, will be offered 2018-19
9th and 10th Grades
Most Sunday mornings 10:30-11:30am

Coming of Age is a Rites of Passage program. It is our community’s way of marking the passage from childhood into adolescents. It is offered every other year. Throughout the course of the year, students are challenged to deepen their understanding of UUism, the work of USG and their own beliefs. Our Sunday morning meetings invite students to dig deeply into the ideas and ideals that are central to their lives. It helps them engage our third UU Principle: “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” Facilitators engage youth through inquiry, helping them to navigate the identity creation process in which COA youth are engaged. The COA year includes opportunities for service, fellowship, fun and adventure. Activities on both Sunday mornings and at other times engage youth in a process that culminates in the creation of personal credos (from the Latin: “what I set my heart to”). In the spring, a special youth-led service celebrates a unique threshold in their spiritual journey, when youth are ready to share their own credos with the larger congregation. Youth are expected to attend each weekly class. This program requires a high level of commitment by parents and youth and regular participation is essential. If your youth is interested in joining this class, please contact lead teacher, Treva Burger, trevawb@gmail.com.

Youth Group is a co-ed Sunday evening program from 6-8pm that offers high school youth a safe and welcoming space for social interaction and spiritual development. It is a place where youth deepen relationships with one another, build community and establish life-long friendships. Youth Group is primarily youth-led, as they design and facilitate most activities. The program balances service learning, social action, youth-led worship, inquiry into important issues and good old fashioned fun.

These programs complement each other and will have many of the same youth participating, thus they the meeting times for each group alternate from week-to-week. Youth can decide to participate in one, or both, programs.

Registration and Fees:

Annual Registration for CSD is required. If your child is an existing student in CSD, the Director of Spiritual Development (DSD) will contact you about registration. If your child is new to the program, please follow this link to register online.

There is no registration fee for USG members. Non-members registration fees are as follows: $25 for one child, $45 for two children, $60 for three or more children. To make payment online, click here.

Contact Ryan Hurd, Director of Spiritual Development
for more information about the program.

dsd@usguu.org  215-844-1157