Especially for youth, church is more than sitting in the pews on Sunday mornings. It’s sharing a meal with friends on Sunday night. It’s rebuilding a Habitat for Humanity home. It’s finding out the special ways God fits into your life. If you’re in 7th through 12th grade, join us to discover a different approach to church.
First United Junior High (FUJI)
FUJI is a vibrant group of junior high students that gather each Sunday evening from 6-8 pm. The group shares a meal together and engages in fun, fellowship, and learning. A highlight is an annual retreat in the spring. The group welcomes members from the community. For more information, contact Alicia Reese, Coordinator of Youth and Children’s Ministry (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
FUSH is an extraordinary community of high school students, united in their care of each other and the world. They meet weekly on Sundays from 6-8 p.m. for dinner, fun, discussion, and community service. An annual highlight is the summer work camp, a mission and community-building experience far away or close to home. They raise money for their trip in a number of ways including baking and selling Christmas cookies. The group, which regularly attracts 40 young people a week, welcomes new members from the community, even those outside of church. Permission forms are needed to participate in FUSH. For more information, contact Alicia Reese (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
O.W.L. is a sexuality education program that First United offers every year to 7th and 8th graders at a lock-in in March. O.W.L. offers honest, accurate information about sexuality changes, dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision-making, and has the potential to save lives. The program recognizes and respects the diversity of participants with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. The activities and language have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this human diversity. First United is hosting training in January for people wishing to become O.W.L. facilitators. Interested adults can apply with this O.W.L. registration form. For more information on the facilitator training or on O.W.L. itself, contact Alicia Reese (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
Quest (Confirmation for 9th graders)
Sundays 9:30-10:45am (Mid-September – Mid-May). Ninth graders explore the possibility of adult membership in the church. It’s a year of learning, questioning, challenging, service projects, and field trips. Lifelong faith is a journey! For information about Quest or to enroll, contact Alicia Reese (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
Senior high, 10th-12th grade
Senior high youth who have completed Quest are welcome and eligible to teach church school themselves. Contact Lydia Mulkey, Associate Pastor of Christian Education (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 103).
While our junior and senior highs are always welcome and involved in worship, every spring there’s one Sunday when they run the whole show, from music to sermons. What will they do next year? Youth Sunday always stretches the imagination to offer the whole congregation a new way of looking at worship.
Our senior highs take a week every summer for intensive, hands-on mission work. They might be building a house, working out in the field, or getting a summer camp ready for teens from across the world. But there are plenty of opportunities to deepen friendships and most of all — have FUN!
FUJI and FUSH resources
Want to learn more about FUSH and FUJI? Check out our blog and see what’s on the calendar!
Boy Scout troops
Two Boy Scout troops meet regularly at First United. Boy Scout Troop 16, a troop for boys in 5th through 12th grades, celebrated 100 years of its continuous church charter in 2016. Troop 16 meets most Friday nights during the school year and camps once a month year-round. Cub Scout Pack 16, for boys in 1st through 5th grades, was chartered by church members in 2014 and meets most Monday nights. As an Open and Affirming congregation, First United highly values the partnership the units have with Scouts for Equality, a national organization founded to advocate for intentionally inclusive Scouting in all forms, including LGBTQ, faith choice, nationality, or financial resources. We believe in Scouting for all! More information about both troops is available online: Boy Scout Troop 16 (http://www.troop16oakpark.com); and Cub Scout Pack 16 (https://pack16oakpark.org/).