Program Overview

The past year or so has been difficult - hasn't it?  Perhaps you are feeling crispy?  Burned out, overwhelmed, scared, anxious, adrift, or all alone?  Yeah, same.  But, I am here to tell you, you aren't all alone.  We know what you've been through this year, and we're here for you.  And, because we love you, we've decided not to add more to your plate this year.  We're just keeping it simple, focusing on compassion, community, and covenant.  One day, I know, we'll be together again.

VIP at Your Seat

Ever Sunday Morning the Church is Open
We have opened our sanctuary for Sunday service with limited attendance (to allow for social distancing)!  As long as the sanctuary remains open, infants, children, and youth are invited to attend with their parents / guardians.  Our VIP Lounge for Very Inquisitive People will not be set up during this time.  But, we will be offering VIP at your Seat.  Outside the sanctuary you will find one of our VIP shelves with grab-n-go worship trays.  Worship tray activities range from finger labyrinths, to color stacking rings, to tangram mandalas - in short, there is something for everyone (even our youngest parishioners)!  If this is something your family is interested in, then you'll need to RSVP to Sunday service every week.  Look to your email for an RSVP link, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us to learn more.  Quick reminder - everyone who is of age, and has the physical ability to wear a face covering, must wear a face covering while inside our building.

VIP at your Seat Front

Sunday Service Childcare

Every Sunday Morning the Church is Open (September 12 - November 28)
Ms. Kymm and Ms. Amber are excited to offer Sunday Service Childcare, focused on fun and friendship, during in-person services September 12 - November 28.  All childcare will take place outside, and will follow the same safety guidelines set out for our summer program, Castaway Cove (see guidelines here).  Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, only children 3 and up are eligible for childcare.  Quick reminder - If this is something your family is interested in, then you'll need to RSVP to Sunday service every week.  Look to your email for an RSVP link, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us to learn more.

Sunday Service Childcare

Youth Group Activities

Various
Junior and Senior High aged youth will enjoy a few off-site Youth Group activities this the fall.  Parents / Guardians of these youth can expect more direct communication about these outings in the coming weeks.  If you would like to ensure you receive communication about these events, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us.

Ight Imma Head Out



Puzzling Postcards

Asynchronous
Puzzling Postcards is a monthly mailer for First Church Families.  Puzzle out your postcards each month and your pride may procure a pizza party with the Grand Poo-Bah, Rev. Connie, and me, Ms. Meredith.  One pizza party planned per month!  Consolation prizes will be passed out to precocious parishioners who puzzled out their postcards, but did not procure a pizza party.  Perplexed?  Additional specifications will be prescribed on the posterior of each postcard. 

Is it the end of September, and has your post not produced a postcard yet?  Or, perhaps, you would like to put a stop to your postcard procurement?  Opt-in / Opt-out here.

Puzzling Postcards

 



Beyond Programming

As we know that not all of our families have the time or energy to engage in special programming, we offer adjunct events and resources throughout the year. Here is an overview of some of those offerings...

Intergenerational Services

While people of all ages are welcome to attend worship, at least three times throughout the year, the worship team collaborates to bring you worship designed specifically for the whole family.



Rites of Passage Events / Ceremonies

At the end of the year we spend an entire month celebrating those students who have mastered one core truth, and will be bridging to the next class come fall. Dates and details about these events / ceremonies will be sent out to parents in the spring.

Other Special Ceremonies

To honor other significant life events, and the commitment of our volunteers, we hold special ceremonies of recognition and celebration throughout the year. One such offering is our child dedications.

Other Special Events

The Family Faith Development Committee, in collaboration with other ministries within the congregation, sponsors several special events through-out the year — this year, we are already looking forward to Breakfast with Santa (May Be Virtual).  Information about these special events can be found on Family Faith Development's home page throughout the year.

F.F.D. Library

Since we can't gather in our church building at this time, F.F.D. has created a free Virtual Library using Epic!. To gain access this fabulous resources, which includes hundreds of ebooks for children 0 - 13 years of age, including curated reading lists centered on our 7 principles, mental health, and social justice issues, just This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Ms. Meredith.  We hope, over the coming months, you will find this to be a helpful resource!

Philosophy


Our Mission

Family Faith Development (F.F.D.) grows lifelong UUs by fostering faith formation in children and youth, supporting families, implementing programming that recognizes important developmental milestones, and advocating for an inclusive and multi-generational church community.

Core Truths

In order to meet our mission, F.F.D. provides programming that is grounded in Core Truths - ultimate truths we wish to instill in our children.  Our Core Truths are...
  • 0 – 2 Years of Age: I know that I am Loved.
  • PreK – Kindergarten: I know that I am a valued member of this UU church.
  • 1st – 3rd Grade: I know about Unitarian Universalism.
  • 4th – 5th Grade: I know about other religions, and how they compare to Unitarian Universalism.
  • Jr. High: I know what I believe.
  • Sr. High: I live my UU identity in my community.

Theme-Based Ministry

Theme-based ministry is an engaging way of unifying and focusing congregational life. Among its benefits, theme-based ministry weaves a central thread throughout all church programming, creates multigenerational connections, extends faith development beyond Sunday, and deepens one’s faith development.

2020 - 2021 is our "Year of Discovery." Throughout this year, we'll explore these three questions...
  • How do we want to be together?
  • How do we hold one another?
  • How do we sustain ourselves?

Components of Faith Formation

We utilize four areas of faith formation when designing programs around our ‘Core Truths’ and monthly themes. These four areas, otherwise known as the 4 Cs, are:
  • Content - WHAT the children are learning. This includes curriculum, both implicit and explicit.
  • Community – WHO our children are learning from. This includes not only classroom teachers, but anyone the child might have a relationship with.
  • Covenant – HOW we behave in community. This is not only about how we treat each other, but it’s also about our duty to our faith.
  • Context / Calling – WHY we are here. This is about our purpose in our community as an individual and as the church.


Policies

For the safety and well-being of everyone in our program, F.F.D. has the following policies in place...

Commitment to Inclusion

No child participating in our programs will ever be intentionally hurt, left out, or discriminated against based on their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, economic status, or family structure. When unintentional harm is inflicted, we will follow the steps outlined in our Right Relations Guidelines.  F.F.D. volunteers and staff strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment to all.  

Communicable Disease Policy

Due to the threat of Covid-19, we are currently not meeting in person. However, if and when we resume in-person gatherings, please note the following Communicable Disease Policy will be in effect: After every gathering, our staff and volunteers make an effort to clean and sterilize their workspace. However, when children congregate, there is always the chance that viruses will spread. In a collaborative effort to stem the spread of communicable disease in our church, we ask that parents do not bring their child to church if their child has had a fever in the past 24 hours, anyone in the household is experiencing Covid-19 like symptoms, or the child has been diagnosed with a communicable disease. Thank you for your continued support!

Classroom Discipline Policy

We are a covenantal faith. We are brought together not by creed or dogma, but by our shared commitment to each other and our respective spiritual journeys. At the beginning of every year, Family Faith Development classes explore this concept by creating covenants of their own. It is explained to them that their covenant is a list of promises of how they will treat one another in the coming year. Once children understand this, they are invited to affirm their commitment to each other by pledging to follow the covenant. Throughout the rest of the year, your child's teacher will refer to the class covenant in times of conflict.

Food Policy

Due to the threat of Covid-19, we are currently not meeting in person. However, if and when we resume in-person gatherings, please note the following Food Policy will be in effect: Family Faith Development’s space is a nut-free zone. Additionally, snack is not served regularly in any of our classes, except our Infant / Toddler class. However, occasionally, food will be served as part of a lesson. At these times, the Director of Lifespan Faith Development, Meredith Plummer, will notify families with known food allergies. Our teachers are trained to identify the signs of anaphylaxis and to notify parents as soon as any of these signs appear. For their part, parents of children with food allergies are asked to carry an epi-pen with them at all times and to administer medication if anaphylaxis were to occur (other arrangements are made on field trips). If you have a child with a food allergy, please email the Director of Lifespan Faith Development immediately.

Photo Release Policy

While we do our best to obtain prior permission to use you and your child’s photos in our publications, you should know that First Church’s current photo release policy is an opt-out policy. In short, you or your child’s photo may be used without your consent unless you contact the Director of Lifespan Development and state that you do not want us to use your photos.

Safe Congregation

As detailed by our Safe Congregation guidelines, the following volunteer requirements are in place...
  • Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older (youth and preteens may volunteer as a 2nd assistant).
  • Volunteer assistants must have been attending First Church for 6 months.
  • Volunteer teachers must have been attending First Church for 1 year.
  • All volunteers must be willing to submit to a background check.
  • All volunteers must obtain training regularly.
  • All volunteers must complete a knowledge check.
  • There must be 2 adults in every classroom, except Jr. and Sr. High.
The majority of our in-person programming is staffed by volunteers.  However, First Church does employ paid classroom leaders.  Please note, for their part, our paid classroom leaders must undergo several interviews, provide references, and pass a fingerprint background check before they are hired.  Additionally, once they are hired, they must submit to a background check every few years.

Registration

Registration is required of all children who participate in F.F.D. programming Children and youth are considered registered in the program once a parent or guardian completes the registration form. Registration is important because it provides emergency contact information, helps the Director of Lifespan Faith Development track class size, and informs us of any special needs your child may have. In addition, it ensures you continue to receive updates on F.F.D. programming through this year (including if and when program offerings change).

There is no registration fee. However, parents are asked to support the program once they feel that First Church is their home by volunteering their time and pledging regularly.


Register Now by "Opting-In" to our Puzzling Postcard Program!

Welcome to Family Faith Development at First Unitarian Church! 

If you are new to First Church, I want to extend an extra special welcome. These are difficult times and you are doing holy work. I know… I know… this sure does not feel like holy work. It feels like drudgery, like anxiety, like duty and due diligence. But, friend, who will care for the “interconnected web” if not you? What better time to “learn together,” than now? And, how will our children “build a fair and peaceful world,” if we don’t provide them with a foundation upon which to build? Indeed, you are your child's greatest teacher, and your ministry is needed now, more than ever. I am thankful you are here. Know that we at First Church are committed to partnering with you, to offer programming that not only fits into your busy schedule but that eases your burden as well.

If you would like to learn more about Family Faith Development's philosophy and policies, make sure to check out our overview. To learn more about this year's programming be sure to take a look at our prospectus. Below, you will find a description of what each of our programs will be exploring week-to-week, as well as a list of upcoming events and opportunities.

Please note, to receive connectivity information for our virtual programming, you must register for the year (this helps us ensure we do not fall victim to Zoom bombers).

Please feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. me with any questions you may have. 

In faith and service,

- Meredith Plummer, Director of Lifespan Faith Development 


Fall 2021

  • Infant & Up: We have opened our sanctuary for Sunday service with limited attendance (to allow for social distancing)!  As long as the sanctuary remains open, infants, children, and youth are invited to attend with their parents / guardians.  Our VIP Lounge for Very Inquisitive People will not be set up during this time.  But, we will be offering VIP at your Seat.  Outside the sanctuary you will find one of our VIP shelves with grab-n-go worship trays.  Worship tray activities range from finger labyrinths, to color stacking rings, to tangram mandalas - in short, there is something for everyone (even our youngest parishioners)!  If this is something your family is interested in, then you'll need to RSVP to Sunday service every week.  Look to your email for an RSVP link, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us to learn more.  Quick reminder - everyone who is of age, and has the physical ability to wear a face covering, must wear a face covering while inside our building.
  • 3 YO & Up: Ms. Kymm and Ms. Amber are excited to offer Sunday Service Childcare, focused on fun and friendship, during in-person services September 12 - November 28.  All childcare will take place outside, and will follow the same safety guidelines set out for our summer program, Castaway Cove (see guidelines here).  Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, only children 3 and up are eligible for childcare.  Quick reminder - If this is something your family is interested in, then you'll need to RSVP to Sunday service every week.  Look to your email for an RSVP link, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us to learn more.
  • Jr. High & Sr. High: Junior and Senior High aged youth will enjoy a few off-site Youth Group activities this the fall.  Parents / Guardians of these youth can expect more direct communication about these outings in the coming weeks.  If you would like to ensure you receive communication about these events, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us.
  • Whole Families: Puzzling Postcards is a monthly mailer for First Church Families.  Puzzle out your postcards each month and your pride may procure a pizza party with the Grand Poo-Bah, Rev. Connie, and me, Ms. Meredith.  One pizza party planned per month!  Consolation prizes will be passed out to precocious parishioners who puzzled out their postcards, but did not procure a pizza party.  Perplexed?  Additional specifications will be prescribed on the posterior of each postcard.  Is it the end of September, and has your post not produced a postcard yet?  Or, perhaps, you would like to put a stop to your postcard procurement?  Opt-in / Opt-out here.


 Upcoming and Ongoing Opportunities


Cinema Therapy: Onward

Cinema Therapy is a multigenerational, multiplatform program that offers screenings and discussions of family friendly movies.  In October, we’ll be featuring the Disney Pixar movie "Onward."  Common Sense Media calls “Onward” an “original, heartfelt sibling adventure about love and loss” appropriate for ages 6+.

Join us for an in-person screening on Saturday, October 2nd at 3 PM, and then a follow-up online discussion on Saturday, October 9th at 3 PM.  Or, you may choose to attend just one, or the other, or neither!  Cinema Therapy is designed so you, and those in your household, can (a) enjoy each movie for what it is, and forget about the discussions, (b) get a recap of each movie during each discussion, or (c) enjoy one or both on your own time.  All movies and discussions will be available to view online.  You can currently view “Onward” on Disney+ (a subscription fee may apply), or rent it from the Cincinnati Public Library.

Wish to attend the screening, the discussion, or both?  Registration is required.  Register by Friday, October 1st here.

Please note, seating for in-person screenings is currently limited.  The first 20 pods (family units composed of one to four people) who register for the in-person screening will get to attend.  All others will be asked to view this movie privately.  We'll let you know if your pod makes the cut.

Cinema Therapy Onward

Small Fall Festival

Fall is here!  And, Lifespan Faith Development is excited to lend its support to Community Builders, who is hosting a Small Fall Festival Sunday, October 10, 2021 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM.  Join us in First Church's parking lot for pumpkin painting, bubble chasing, corn hole, community, music & more!  No prep or RSVP required.  All are welcome!

Small Fall Festival