Children’s Religious Education Overview

Our Religious Education (RE) program is grounded in the UU Seven Principles, which are used to promote a sense of social justice and responsibility, tolerance, identity, and spiritual growth. Our purpose is to involve children in a religious community in which they develop a spiritual sense of themselves, their connection to others, and their connection to the world as a whole.

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We have approximately 75 youth participating in our Sunday morning program, with an average attendance of 35 each Sunday. We also have 25 adults teaching in our classrooms, with about 12 others serving as classroom aides and Service Sunday helpers.

We ask that parents register their children for Religious Education classes by completing our online registration form.

Besides our Sunday School classes, we have several other offerings for our church families and friends:

  • We offer monthly activities and events.  Some of which are intergenerational, for the entire church, and some are just for youth and their families.
  • Our Jr. Youth Group (6th-8th grades) has social gatherings, works together on service projects, and participates in other monthly activities.
  • Our YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists) high school program meets Sunday after service to have discussions, host workshops and guest speakers, participate in service projects, and enjoy fun outings together. 

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Our Religious Education Philosophy

At the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, you will find a flexible and growing experience-oriented approach to religious education. We define the role of religious education as nurturing the spiritual and intellectual growth of children, as well as developing connections to others in our church family. We believe that an experience is religious when it awakens the child to wondering, questioning, searching and discovering.

Our religious education curriculum does not aim at indoctrinating, but at awakening; not at dogmatism, but at creative development; not at supernatural interpretations, but at natural acceptance. Our lessons help lead parents and children into new experiences and discoveries together, and they encourage the life-affirming and world-accepting philosophy that is most congenial to religious liberalism. 

We invite you to join us any Sunday!

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Our Sunday School Classes

We offer children’s religious education classes at both 9 and 11 a.m. on most Sundays. The children join their parents in the Sanctuary for the first 10-15 minutes of the worship service and are then led to their classes in the Lower Level by their teachers. The classes are described below.

There are no R.E. classes once a month when we have multi-generational worship services. On those Sundays, the children are invited to be with their parents/guardians in the Sanctuary the entire time.

On all Sundays we offer free nursery care for infants to 3-year-olds from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

9 a.m. Sunday School

On Feb. 5, 2017 we began offering religious education at 9 a.m. in addition to the traditional 11 a.m. classes. The curriculum, called “Spirit Play,” is based on a Montessori approach to learning that encourages self-directed exploration and allows children to engage deeply with their own religious education in a way that meets their own individual needs and interests. This semester, we have one mixed-aged class, most appropriate for children ages 3-9. Read more.

11 a.m. Sunday School

We offer the following classes at 11 a.m.:

Class Ages 2016-2017 Curriculum
Barnum (Nursery) 4 mos. – 3-year-old  
Potter (Pre-School) 3-year-old* – Pre-K Chalice Children
Schweitzer Kindergarten – 2nd Grade World of Wonder
Thoreau 3th – 5th Grades URUU: A UU Identity Curriculum
YUUTS 6th – 8th Grades Crossing Paths: A Neighboring Faiths Curriculum

* Potty-trained 3-year-olds are invited to attend the Potter Class.

In collaboration with the Social Action Team, the Religious Education Team has implemented a social justice curriculum for 11 a.m. classes during the 2016-2017 Sunday School year. This curriculum is online (see links above) and allows us to put social justice projects into action, be greener in our impact on the environment through online materials, and allows parents online access to topics, questions and resources relating to Sunday School activities.

Classes end at 12:15 p.m. Pre-school through 3rd Grade children will await pickup by their parents or guardians while older children are dismissed to join their families on their own at that time.

In addition to our regular Sunday School curriculum, our program provides opportunities for our children and youth to become better acquainted with our community as well.  Our youth participate in Service Sunday on a monthly basis, performing service projects of various sorts.


Our spacious and well-equipped nursery is available for use at no charge during the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services. Our nursery serves children from 4 months through pre-potty-trained 3-year-olds. Our nursery aides are contracted to have full responsibility for no more than three children each. Two aides work each Sunday. Parents and others are strongly encouraged to assist with care when there are more than six children in the nursery.

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RE Staff and Team

Our Director of Religious Education (DRE) is Jamila Batchelder.

Tracey Milarsky serves as chair of the Religious Education Team. Other members are the DRE and Amie Burling, Anja Eick, Andrew Eick, Corinne Mann, Becky Scott, and Lindsey Smith. The team meets in the Centering Room at 12:30 p.m. on the first Sunday each month.

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