Unity Temple Oak Park

Religious Education

Religious Education for Children and Youth

Know. Feel. Be.

The religious education ministry of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation engages the minds, the hearts and the whole selves of our young people. When they graduate from our program, our young people will be equipped for their life-long journey of learning, integrating this knowledge, these feelings, and these experiences.

Our young people will know:

  • Unitarian Universalist faith, history and heritage
  • The value of sacred stories and leaders from other faith traditions
  • That meaning comes from many sources
  • Their own self-worth, and manifest this in healthy relationships
  • Their actions make a difference in this world

Our young people will feel:

  • Committed to Unitarian Universalism
  • Called to act out of love, not fear
  • Valued and have ownership in their UU community
  • Part of something larger than themselves
  • Hope, beauty and inspiration in our worship

Our young people will be:

  • Able to draw strength and comfort in times of grief from themselves and others
  • Accepting of their own and life’s limitations
  • Open and willing to engage with others in an ongoing quest for truth and meaning
  • Loving, caring and kind
  • Engaged in developing their own ongoing spiritual practice
Our Whole Lives (OWL)

We offer the Our Whole Lives (OWL) program, a values-based sexuality curriculum, which has been developed for various age groups across the life span. UTUUC offers elementary and junior high levels on a regular basis, and other levels (through older adult) as possible. All are taught by trained OWL facilitators.

Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.

The Our Whole Lives values are:

  • Self-Worth
  • Sexual Health
  • Responsibility
  • Justice and Inclusivity

Each level of Our Whole Lives offers:

  • Up-to-date information and honest, age-appropriate answers to all participants’ questions
  • Activities to help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
  • Effective group-building to create a safe and supportive peer group
  • Education about sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment
  • Opportunities to critique media messages about gender and sexuality
  • Acceptance of diversity
  • Encouragement to act for justice
  • A well designed, teacher-friendly leaders’ guide
  • Parent orientation programs that affirm parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children
  • Sexuality and Our Faith, an optional religious component for Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ settings

Developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, Our Whole Lives uses approaches that work. The curricula are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education, and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). Although developed by two religious organizations, Our Whole Lives contains no religious references or doctrine.

For more information on the Our Whole Lives program at Unity Temple, email Rev. Emily Gage, Minister of Faith Development at egage@unitytemple.org.

Adult Religious Enrichment

The Adult Religious Enrichment ministry of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation engages the minds, the hearts and the whole selves of our learners.

With the understanding that the Unitarian Universalist journey is one of an ongoing quest for truth and meaning, participants in our program will:

  • Develop an integrated sense of their own UU identity
  • Find resources for encountering the various stages of their life journey
  • Be empowered to live their beliefs through their actions
  • Cultivate their spiritual deepening and spiritual practices
  • Enrich their understanding of the world around them
  • Build connections with others

Information about current class offerings can be found in our weekly e-bulletin.
Have questions? Contact Rev. Emily Gage, Minister of Faith Development at egage@unitytemple.org.

Volunteering in the Religious Education Program

Our program is almost entirely dependent upon the gifts of our volunteers. Our members and friends are encouraged to donate their time, talent and presence to our collective efforts. We appreciate volunteers, as teachers, assistants and substitutes, on our Religious Education Committee for special projects and in sharing special interests.

Our religious education program is overseen by Rev. Emily Gage, Minister of Faith Development. Please contact her for more information at egage@unitytemple.org. You may also contact Val Ridenour, Religious Education Assistant at vridenour@unitytemple.org