Children & Youth Religious Exploration

Children’s Religious Exploration

Children’s Religious Exploration (CRE) is the Unitarian Universalist Sunday School program. We strive to create a safe, spiritual home for children and youth through creative exploration of our seven principles and sources.

Children’s Religious Exploration Summer Fun 2017

Summer is a great time to join our program for children and youth as we focus in on new discoveries and play together. This year we have two unique programs that have been created because our children asked for more time to explore and learn in these areas. We invite you to come explore and create with us!

Bricktastic FUUN! (All Ages)

“The Lego Fellowship” is a title that some of our youngest participants have used for our program. This summer, we are living up to that name! We have created a Lego “Make Space” curriculum just for Summit. This is an experience where children and youth can really get into exploring all of the creative ways that these components can be put together. There are structured builds, so that they can experience group work, and individual challenges, so that they can build, test, fail and build again.  We start with simple bricks and work towards using gears and engineering concepts. If we can find an EV3 Intelligent Brick to borrow or donated, we may even explore programming with Lego robotics. Science is one of the sources that Unitarian Universalists look to for inspiration so we will be clicking bricks as we explore and discover on our Lego Adventure.

Lego Donations needed – Do you have a bin of old Lego’s in the back of a closet? Are you tired of stepping in small plastic pieces in the dark of the night? Do you want to reduce plastic in the waste cycle? Then we may have new home for your old Lego’s! Donations are now being accepted to build our resources for this program. We are especially interested in the Technics and Mindstorm/EV Intelligence components. Bring them to our Religious Exploration program so that they can continue to be used to expand ideas and creativity. Thanks so much!

FUUN with Food – Nurtured Bodies, Sacred Lives (3rd Grade & Up) – One of my passions is cooking. In my prior life, I was a professional chef. Food is essential to our lives each day, though in our fast moving lives, children and youth rarely know where the food that they eat daily comes from, who made it or how to make it and how foods nurture our bodies and our lives. We are exploring the sources of food, how to prepare and eat simple and complex meals and the importance of eating together with a grateful heart. Each week, the group sets a table together, learns about and creates vegetarian recipes together, and shares in sampling by sitting together with gratitude to “break bread” and the end of each session. The progression will begin with food and kitchen safety, exploring nuts and seeds as the source of edible plants, working with fruits and veggies, vegetable proteins, baking bread and something sweet, making a community soup, learning about herbs, spices and the impact they have had on the world, sharing a mobile snack with team Bricktastic and finally a celebratory feast for the whole family on our last Sunday. Summit Chefs are joining our program, teaching our future chefs. This is a program that offers the opportunity to learn real life skills while practicing gratitude and discovering connection to the gifts of the earth.

With love and joy,

Mary Carter-Vail
Director of Religious Exploration
Summit UU Fellowship

Last year’s program can be seen below.

Children’s Religious Exploration 2016-17 Classes

Our Children’s Religious Exploration year will begin on September 18th. We have been planning all summer to provide a wonderful experience for children and youth at Summit this year. I would like to invite your children and youth to be part of this exciting adventure. 
Summit’s mission statement is: “In spiritual community, we commit ourselves to building a compassionate, just and sustainable world.” This has inspired a theme for our program this year: Compassionate Action. This year, each of our classes will be engaging in some form of age appropriate justice work to make the world a better place. They will have opportunities to explore issues through stories, experiences and engagement in action to create positive change in an age appropriate way.
We need you to register your family for the program using the following form: CRE Registration Form. This form need to be filled out and on file each year so that we have emergency contact information for your family.
You help is needed with snack and other activities. Look through the wonderful experiences that we have planned below and let us know how you want to engage with our children and youth this year.
Questions?  Email me at
Mary Carter-Vail
Director of Religious Exploration
Summit UU Fellowship

Nursery Volunteer Team 
We value all ages at Summit, especially our youngest children. Cathy Young, our incredible Nursery Leader, works with one volunteer each Sunday to provide a loving, caring place for younger children during the service and social time so that parents can engage with the Summit community. There is no formal curriculum, though stories and songs are enjoyed each week.

Pre-Kindergarten to First Grade  – Spirit Play & Chalice Children 
Spirit Play is a Unitarian Universalist, Montessori method, based program that encourages children to question and wonder about their spiritual home and beliefs. Class starts with a story told from a story box using felt pieces, figures and objects that bring the tale to life for the students. After the story, the storyteller asks wondering questions to inspire children to think about what they have heard and to respond from the heart. Children are then encouraged to explore the story in depth using a special activity, worship, art materials, the story, or other stories from previous weeks. This is a child centered, spiritual approach that can be very rewarding for both the child and the adult leaders.

Moral Tales – Second and Third Grade
Every day our children go forth into a complex world where they are often faced with difficult decisions and situations. Moral Tales attempts to provide children with the spiritual and ethical tools they will need to make choices and take actions reflective of their Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values. Stories are woven throughout Moral Tales as a tool to activate and inform children’s learning about how to make moral choices. This year we will be engaging in small social action projects including growing food in our Fellowship garden. This class will also be hosting the first ever Summit Book Swap this year and may work with the older group on age appropriate social justice activities.

Find out more about Moral Tales at:

Harry and UU – 4th-5th Grade and Middle School – Two Teams
This year our Upper Elementary and Middle School youth will get to join Dumbledore’s Army to take action on social issues. They will be learning about and “fighting” several Horcruxes: Illiteracy, Hunger, Poverty, Child Slavery, Sickness, Animal Cruelty, and Environmental Destruction. Each unit will be focused on one of the Horcruxes. The group will learn about the justice issues and engage in making a difference in an age appropriate way. Sprinkled in will be “wizarding” activities and fun that they have some to expect from the magical world. Religious Exploration programs in other congregations who have used this program have made great contributions to justice issues in their local community. It will be exciting to see what happens at Summit!

There will be two age focused teams with slightly different, age appropriate responses to the various issues.

YRUU Youth Group – High School 
Our youth group has made a quantum leap this year with the addition of nine freshmen! This is now one of our biggest groups and they are ready for a big year! This year the group has set a goal to attend the UU General Assembly in New Orleans next June. This will be a Justice GA with a focus on local issues. The group plans to spend the year learning about the issues that will be lifted up at GA while preparing to attend and participate in Youth Caucus.

Additional Programs
This year we are also planning on offering Coming of Age to our 9th-11th grade youth, OWL for elementary ages, UU Religious Emblem to any Scouts who are interested and creating a Pokemon Go Club.

For a Parent Handbook and a Children’s Registration Form click on the following links:

Parent Handbook
Children’s Registration Form

For all programs:

  1. UU Principles guide us in the approach to the materials.
  2. New families are welcome to join at anytime.
  3. Class time is from 10 am to 11:30 am on Sunday mornings.
  4. Parents or Guardians must be on campus during program.
  5. Weekly E-News & Event Info is available to families with registration.

In addition we offer other classes and activities including intergenerational family nights, Our Whole Lives program for elementary, Coming of Age and community service opportunities. To find out more about our current schedule join the CRE weekly E-news list.

For information or to join our email list send your information to Mary at

Mary Carter-Vail
Director of Religious Exploration
Summit UU Fellowship

 Children’s Religious Exploration Committee

Mission Statement:

Our Mission is to create a safe and welcoming spiritual home for children & youth through creative exploration of the Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources. 


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