Aligning the Heart – Cynthia Westby, DRE

To what do you align your heart?  Ultimately, that is the quest of religious exploration.  The formation of our children’s spirituality comes through story, art, lessons, wondering, questioning, and discussions.  Exploring their feelings and understandings of UU, their personal expression of this faith, develops and evolves.

Children and youth are accompanied on the journey of spiritual formation and spiritual self-awareness by our RE volunteer teachers and RE staff.  Together we grow and mature our faith.  Relationship building and involvement with the broader church community help our children appreciate Unitarian Universalism, and discover what it means to be a member of a congregation.  How all of us treat our children and youth is a vital facet of their faith experience.

Teaching our children compassion, tolerance, the ways of making wise choices, the importance of social justice and actively supporting the causes and concerns they care about are some of the important ways we support and guide our children to gradually know and articulate their personal UU credo.  Our classes and RE activities build a foundation for our children, so that when they reach ninth grade, they are ready for the year-long coming of age (COA) program.  Spiritual formation has been going on through childhood and now in the COA the youth begin to ask themselves what is meaningful, what are their values and beliefs, and by year’s end they formulate the first draft of their UU credo from the answers they have uncovered.  They are beginning to articulate the personal expression of their UU faith.

Credo literally means “what I set my heart to.”  Our Coming of Age class youth spend a year seeking, questioning, learning, wondering, and beginning to discern what they want to set their heart to, by listening to themselves, their friends, teachers and mentors.  For the first time, they are playing with how they want to be in relationship with themselves, others, the world and the sacred.

We encourage and support our children to engage in spiritual formation and affirm their individual faith statements.  Shaping personal credos, we come to claim what sustains us, what we have faith in, what ultimate meaning to which we will commit our lives.  Helping our children and youth prepare to discover their credo is the aspiration of our religious exploration program.



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