What is CRE?
CRE is Children’s Religious Education. That’s what we call Sunday classes for children at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara (USSB).
Who Teaches CRE?
All of our classes are taught by professional staff assisted by a volunteer church member.
When do classes take place?
Children’s religious education takes place concurrent with both of our worship service at 9:15 and at 11:15.
Why do we do CRE?
Our children are taught progressive Unitarian Universalist values, character, ethics and are encouraged in a lifelong spiritual search for truth and meaning. We also believe in religious literacy, that children should be familiarized with the spiritual and religious practices of the world’s great faiths.
We provide children and youth with an environment that is nurturing and supportive; one that encourages personal exploration and grounds them in our Unitarian Universalist faith. We are committed to providing an environment that encourages and empowers children to seek and to learn.
How do we do CRE?
The CRE Church Year begins after Labor Day and continues through mid-June. During this time, worship services take place at 9:15 and at 11:15. Children are encouraged to attend worship with their families.
About fifteen minutes into the service, our ministers lead a Time for All Ages after which children may leave the sanctuary for classes, programs or playtime.
Religious Education Classes During Our 9:15 Service
CRE classes begin once the children leave the first service, usually at 9:30.
- Preschool – Starr King Preschool
- Kinder to Second Grades – Room D, Blake Building
- Third to Fifth Grades – Room C, Blake Building
- Middle School (Sixth to Eighth Grades) – Room B, Blake Building
CRE classes end at 10:30, fifteen minutes after the end of our first worship service. and teachers bring the children to a play space in our main courtyard. Our staff and volunteers escort the children to social time in Parrish Hall and the Courtyard and reunite them with their families. This allows parents a few moments to enjoy coffee and conversation before their children arrive.
Religious Education Classes During Our 11:15 Service
All children meet together in an all-ages class in Jefferson Hall. The lesson is identical to the 9:15 lesson with activities formatted to fit an all-ages class.
High School Youth Group
Our high school meet every Sunday morning from 12:30-2:00 in the Blake Lounge. Youth Group is both social and social justice oriented. A paid Youth Coordinator leads the group along with volunteer church members.
Social Justice Sundays
Social Justice Sundays occur once a month and provide an opportunity for children and youth to “put legs on their faith” by doing good works for the community. Activities will usually be linked to the monthly organization the church is sharing our collection with. One Sunday we might sell lemonade to benefit Showers of Blessing for the homeless while another Sunday we might make stuffed animals for Cottage Hospital. Social Justice Sundays are All-Community projects that take place during our middle hour, between 10:15 and 11:15. This allows families and congregants to work together.
What do my children learn in CRE?
At USSB, we follow a theme based ministry. The themes are explored in worship, in children and adult classes and in small group study. In addition, resources are available to help parents, a child’s primary religious educator, extend the themes at home.
For 2018-2019 our themes include:
- September: Vision
- October: Sanctuary
- November: Memory
- December: Mystery
- January: Possibility
- February: Trust
- March: Journey
- April: Wholeness
- May: Curiosity
- June: Beauty
Classes begin with a welcome and review of our class covenant, the agreement that we make about how to be together. After lighting the chalice, the symbol of our Unitarian Universalist faith, the theme is introduced. Then the theme is explored through a variety of activities that may include reading, games and crafts. Finally our theme is summarized, the chalice is extinguished, and we say goodbye and thank you to our church family until the following week.