We Are Committed to Families at Beacon!
We consistently ask ourselves, “How can the congregation build relationships with families that are relevant, useful, and spiritually-fulfilling?” We use the philosophy of Think Orange. Orange is used to symbolize the partnership we believe can exist between parents and Beacon. When you combine the light from the faith community (yellow) with the heart of a caring family (red), you get (orange) and exponentially expand your potential to make a difference in the life of a child. These two combined influences will make a greater impact than either influence alone. Family Ministry truly begins when parents know they do not have to parent alone.
We build relationships with families through worship, fun social opportunities, children’s small groups, social justice programming, family support offerings, and more!
Worship with Children
Children are spiritual beings, and we honor that by welcoming them into our worship service at any age. When we welcome our children into worship, we acknowledge that they are part of our religious community. Our preschool/Kindergarten/1st grade children generally spend the first 20 minutes in our service followed by a sung recessional that welcomes them to their small groups. Our 2nd-5th grade children have fewer small groups throughout the year to allow them to spend more time in worship with their families. In fact, our children are also active worship leaders from time to time, serving as chalice lighters, song leaders, and junior liturgists.
Family Experience (FX) Events
We love socializing with our families–and want to ensure they have ample opportunity to socialize with each other–so we offer events for the whole family!
Each September and January, we offer a Family Breakfast on Sunday morning during both services. This is a great time for families to share a warm meal, reconnect and foster new connections. The fall breakfast offers a tangible tool for families to bring their Unitarian Universalist faith home, while the winter breakfast centers a social justice project such a creating lunches for Bridges Outreach via a relay race! Register here for the January 13th breakfast.
Families also need time to get away from it all, and this is where our Winter Family Retreat comes in! We travel to Frost Valley in the Catskill Mountains for a weekend of snow tubing, cross country skiing, hiking, crafting, and just fun, meaningful time with each other.
Children’s Small Groups
On Sunday mornings, our families with children begin together in the sanctuary at 9:30 AM and 11 AM. Children then attend small, age-appropriate groups with trained adult facilitators. Our groups are grounded in building relationships – both with their peers and their adult teachers. A nurturing environment, using games, arts-based activities, and stories invites children to question, reflect, and explore.
We have nursery for infants and waddlers; a preschool group for 3-5 years olds, and small groups for K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 grades.
All of our adults are trained volunteers, many of whom are professional teachers. We take our children’s safety seriously, maintaining regular background checks, teaching first aid and fire regulations.
You can register for our Children’s Groups here.
Our programs and curricula are selected by our staff, Laura Beth Brown and the Family Ministry Team. Curricula are chosen and mapped out over a 3 to 5 year period, so that children in the program engage with stories, lessons, ideas and crafts from four main areas of study: Jewish & Christian history, Unitarian Universalism, World Religions and Social Action.