Lifelong Learning / Religious Education


Welcome to the Unitarian Society of Hartford!  As Unitarian Universalists, we strive to engage in a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”.  A key purpose of our religious education program is to provide a framework for our children as they begin their path of lifespan faith development.  As such, each of our classes is designed to include a wide range of religious and philosophical traditions, and to integrate a variety of learning styles.  We welcome all families and children, including those with special needs, and will make every effort to accommodate all children in our program.

We encourage families to visit our classrooms to determine if our program is a comfortable fit for your belief system.  To arrange a visit, please contact our Director of Religious Education at: or 860-233-9897, x104.


Our Philosophy of Religious Education

Our goal is to help our children and youth:

  • Gain respect and appreciation for themselves, others, all living things and the environment;
  • Become integral parts of our Meeting House community;
  • Develop an awareness of, and appreciation for, our Judeo-Christian heritage and other world religions that influence the formation of our religious beliefs;
  • Experience the joy and inspiration of music and the arts;
  • Become responsible persons who are able to make ethical decisions through which they show their care and concern for all humanity. 

How Our Children are Taught

The 7 principles are taught using a variety of methods based in the sources of our beliefs.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Fostering a continuing sense of wonder using art, science, and social justice projects;
  • Learning about heroes and heroines from UU history and other historical and religious figures who were dedicated to  living fair and just  lives;
  • Discovering the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world’s religions, including our Judeo-Christian heritage;
  • Encouraging the use of logic and reason to discern the answers to life’s questions;
  • Promoting practices that are in harmony with nature, the environment, and the sacred circle of life.

What Our Children Learn

Our children are taught to think for themselves, while receiving guidance on moral and ethical behavior.   We allow their individual beliefs to unfold without any dogma. Our children will learn that all big religious questions have many answers, and that it is their duty to search responsibly for their own truth. Ultimately, we want our children to become mature adults who make their own decisions about what to believe and how to live.

Sunday Schedule

Child Care (Infant-Age 3)

  • Offered at no charge in the nursery during the worship service
  • Drop off  10:15 & pick-up at 11:45am.

Religious Education Classes (Pre-K-2; 3-5; 6-8) and High School Youth Group 

  • Meet during the worship service.
  • Children attend worship with the adults for  A Time for All the beginning of the service
  • Leave for class after about ten minutes
  • Once a month we have a Chapel for Youth and Children in the Payson Miller Chapel where the youth and children learn about and lead the worship before heading off to class.


Contact Information:     Rayla D. Mattson

                                          Director of Religious Education

                                            E-mail:; 860-233-9897 ext. 104

For safety and administrative reasons, the Religious Education Committee asks that you complete this contact form. Only one form is needed per family. Please complete and submit online. If you prefer to hand-write the form, a printable form is available on the USH website, or you can find it at the Welcome Table. Just complete the form and return to the DRE, classroom teacher or mail your completed form to Rayla D. Mattson, Director of Religious Education, USH, 50 Bloomfield Ave, Hartford, CT, 06105. 

Worship ServicesChildren

Most Sundays, prior to classes, the children join the congregation in the sanctuary for the first 10–15 minutes of the service.  This is a time for the children to be part of our spiritual community and to witness the rituals of the liturgical year. A children’s message, or “Time for All Ages,” is offered by our Director of Religious Education and is designed to complement the adult sermon.

Holidays and holy days are often celebrated with a multigenerational service, during which the children are invited to participate in the entire service in lieu of classes. These services speak to both adults and children and reinforce our connection as a spiritual community.

On the first and third Sunday of each month, childcare is available after worship until 1:45 for any children under the age of 10 whose parents wish to participate in meetings, coffee hour, or other post-service offerings.

Chapel for Youth and Children

Once a month the youth and children gather in the chapel instead of the sanctuary before classes. The time allows for exploration of what worship means and allows them to participate in meaningful ways. They sing, light candles, play instruments, dance, and share readings and poems.

Additional Events

In addition to our regularly scheduled classes, we also offer dedication services for infants and children of any age as well as a Coming of Age program for our middle school students.

Once every 4 to 6 weeks we also encourage our children and youth to explore their creative side through one-room activities, which may incorporate drama and the arts, music, learning to respect and cultivate our environment and cooking and crafts.

Family-Friendly Congregation

We are a family-friendly congregation. Most of our events are either appropriate for families of all ages or free childcare is provided. Please look for the “family-friendly” symbol in our Adult & Family Programs catalog.

Our religious education program strives to give children the necessary foundation for this lifelong task by providing a supportive, structured environment that allows them to focus on the 7 Unitarian Universalist principles in an age appropriate fashion.

As Unitarian Universalists, we believe:

  • Each person is important;
  • Be kind in all you do;
  • We’re free to learn together;
  • And search for what is true;
  • All people need a voice;
  • Build a fair and peaceful world;
  • We care for Earth’s lifeboat.