Faith Development September 2021

Welcome to our new Youth & Young Adult Coordinator

Johnny (they/them) is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for self-directed learning, solidarity economies, comparative religion, and warm beverages. After a secular upbringing in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago, Johnny was introduced to Unitarian Universalism by their mother and attended services at the Unitarian Church of Evanston throughout high school. Johnny continued to explore spirituality and religion while a student at Hampshire College, taking a variety of courses on comparative religion in addition to participating in the campus meditation group and in a local Friends (Quaker) meeting.

Upon graduating from Hampshire in 2018, Johnny worked as a camp counselor for Farm & Wilderness, which led them to the realization that they wanted to pursue youth work as a vocational calling. Click here to continue reading

Faith Formation

Embracing Possibility

Our theme this month is Embracing Possibility. This feels like an important message as we try to plan for so much that is unknown and ever-changing. While many of us want to return to how things were, we can't. Instead, we have the opportunity to innovate and create brand new possibilities. We are hoping that our RE programs will offer new and vital ways for children, youth, and adults to engage with who they are and how they live their values.

After a year of so much isolation, we want to offer our students opportunities to engage with each other creatively and constructively. After a year where so much was limited and proscribed by others, we want to allow students to explore their individuality, worth, and leadership potential. After a year of so much injustice, we strive to learn how to make change and resist oppression and environmental destruction. RE at USNF is a chance to practice building Beloved Community, gathering skills to make the world a better place. Register for 21-22 RE Programs here.

Fall Plans

For children and youth programs, we will follow UUA Guidance that our RE Classes be held outside with masks on. We will also offer a Zoom class from 9-9:30 AM for those that prefer this option.

Plans are developing - and ever changing! Share ideas and feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Early Childhood &

Primary Age

Our youngest students will join Emma Gaudreau outside for play, movement, music, stories, and exploration. Each month, they will focus on a different Principle of Unitarian Universalism.

Middle Grades

Each Sunday, students in the middle grades will get to choose their outdoor activities focused on the interdependent web of existence each Sunday. There will be an ongoing climate action mural to paint, nature exploration, and group building games.

Youth Group

This year the USNF Youth Group will collaborate with the UU Society of Amherst's Youth Group for outdoor meetings, hikes, service projects, worship, and more!

Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education

2021-2022 OWL

The Unitarian Society of Northampton & Florence is planning to offer the 7th - 9th grade OWL class this year from Oct thru May, one Saturday per month, 1-5 pm. The parent and caregiver orientation is scheduled for Sunday, Sept 26, from 2-3:30 pm. Sign up for OWL 21-22 here.

Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, sexual health, and behavior. With a holistic approach, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality. While Our Whole Lives is secular, it is not value-free. The program gives clear messages about the following key sexuality issues: self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice and inclusivity.

At this point, we are planning to offer the class to vaccinated youth. We will require masks and meet in a well ventilated space. Drink breaks will take place outside of the communal meeting area and snacks will be eaten outside. 

Our hope is to be able to offer OWL to Grades 4-6, January thru March, and to K-1 & Grades 2-3, March thru May, pending child vaccination availability.

Coming of Age

Coming of Age (COA) is a UU program that marks one step on a path to adulthood. This year, Booker Bush, Peg Johnson, and David Junno will lead our COA program for students in grades 7-9.

Coming of Age is similar to a First Communion or a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and symbolizes growing maturity and developing faith and identity. Throughout the year, participants will be exploring their values, their beliefs, Unitarian Universalism and other faith traditions, and the various ways these all connect. The class will grow as a community and build leadership skills. Each individual will consider their own spirituality and social justice interests, together as a group and with a mentor from our community.

Over the course of the year, the class with engage in meetings, games, discussions, writing, mentorship, community service, field trips, and a culminating worship service. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Family Faith Formation

Practicing UUism at Home

This year we'll be offering seasonal care packages with crafts, service projects, and supplies to practice and learn about Unitarian Universalism together at home.

Fall Package

  • Chalice making supplies
  • Dinner discussion prompts
  • Backpack bling
  • 8 Principles poster
  • Special surprise for support through the school year
  • And more!

Additionally, there will be parent & caregiver groups and family events and workshops.

Register to receive your care package

Adult Offerings

Widening the Circle

"The world around us is different than it was a decade ago. Or even five years ago. The question is, how will our "living tradition" keep up with the times? What choices will we make - or fail to make - and how will that affect the relevancy and the survival of our faith?"

-Widening the Circle of Concern, 2020

The UUA Widening the Circle report presents an exciting opportunity to look at our faith and think about how we want to adapt and evolve in this ever-changing world. We hope you will join the conversation!

Read or listen to this Introductory Chapter on Trends (it will take less than 10 minutes) and come to a listening group at the end of September. FMI: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Small Group Circles

Small Group Circles offer a wonderful opportunity for newcomers and long-time UU members to get to know one another in a deeper way. The meetings are built around quotations and questions addressing a different topic each month and led by a fellow UU. Participants commit to once-a-month meetings, October through June. Sign up by September 26 to be assured a space. Groups for 2021-22 will meet in person at a leader's home, or via Zoom when weather requires. An all-Zoom option is also being offered.

Learn more and sign up:

Monthly Discussion Circles

This year, we will be offering monthly online sessions to discuss monthly themes and sermon topics. These will be offered only on Zoom and offer an opportunity to contemplate worship themes in community.

To find out more or sign up, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.