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!
What to Expect on Sunday Morning
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. Every Sunday at 9:30 and 11:00, we begin together as one community of faith, experiencing worship in our sanctuary with ritual, song, and a Time for All Ages that invites congregants young and old into engagement with the theme of the month. Following the story, children, youth, and our Small Group Leaders are invited to participate in one of our experiential small groups for the next part of the morning. Children are also welcome to remain in worship. Whole congregational worship services where children worship with the larger congregation for the full worship hour take place 5-6 times throughout the year as well.
Children’s Small Groups
Nursery: (Infants and waddlers) Babies are always welcome to stay with parents in the service. We also offer nursery care for the entirety of both services.
Preschool (Chalice Children): (3-5 year-olds) Early childhood is filled with curiosity and wonder. In a group setting with loving senior youth and adult guides, young children engage in spiritual seeking, develop their openness to sharing, and experience the benefit of a supportive community. Their time in Chalice Children can set a pattern for the rest of their lives and bring lasting benefits.
Choose Your Own Adventure: (Kind-5th grades) Children have a choice on Sunday mornings where they would like to spend their time. We offer a rotation of 3 of the following workshops each week:
- Helping Hands: (all ages welcome) In this space, we put our faith into action, partnering with members of Beacon engaged in service within our walls and in the wider community.
- Reflection Room: (all ages welcome) This is our space for engaging in mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga.
- Sacred Arts: (all ages welcome) An array of different art forms are explored in this space and led by Beacon members. The arts are given context with the monthly theme.
- Story and Spirit: (particularly well-suited for K-2nd; all ages welcome) In this space, we offer a story that explores the theme of the month followed by a time of group reflection. The children then engage with self-directed art-making in response to the story.
- Learning Lab: (particularly well-suited for 3rd-5th; all ages welcome) Here we offer a format that offers opportunities for deeper reflection for those who enjoy creating meaning in conversation with others, as well as hands-on projects and activities that help make concepts more concrete.
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.
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!
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.