Here at the Universalist Church, our children grow up in a kind and loving community that encourages discovery, creativity, and individual expression. Our young people are surrounded by supportive peers and adults who model the Unitarian Universalist values we cherish.
We offer many opportunities for learning, sharing, and service, from our religious education classes to a wide variety of family-friendly activities.
What We Teach
Through a vibrant mix of activities, discussions, and service projects, we encourage our young people to learn, share and connect with each other and the world around us.
Our age-appropriate curriculum is developed by our Religious Education department, working closely with parents and using resource materials from the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Our youngest children focus on treating one another kindly and learning what it means to be part of a Unitarian Universalist community. Older children and teens explore Unitarian Universalism, Judaism, Christianity, and other world religions as they discover their own truths and spirituality.
How We Teach
We believe family is central to the vibrancy of our church school. So while our programming is directed by our Religious Education Department, our classes are led by parents who volunteer as teachers. We work on a rotating schedule that acknowledges our busy lives. Prior teaching experience is not required.
Our teaching extends from the classroom to the community with our “Connections” service projects. Our young people actively support schools and agencies both near and far with books and school supplies, warm clothing, food and more. Parents also play a key role in these activities.
Meet Our Team
Religious Education Coordinator
Dan has served as one of The Universalist Church of West Hartford's senior high youth advisors since 2008. A native of West Hartford, he has attended our church since grade school. Through various life and career changes, participation and leadership in our religious education programs have been a constant for him. He views the opportunity to work as Religious Education Coordinator as a natural extension of his efforts with the Youth Group, and is passionate about programming for young people and the future of Unitarian Universalism. He is a Maine Maritime Academy graduate, and through several careers, both shore side and at sea, the one constant in his life has been a passion for religious education. During his college years he ran a one room church school at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine, ME. After moving back to West Hartford in 2007, he became one of our youth advisors alongside his wife, Marissa. Though she "retired" in 2015, Dan is entering his tenth year with the youth group now, and is excited to expand his role in the Religious Education department at the same time. Dan lives in West Hartford with Marissa, and their two children, Caroline and Philip, who will attend church school this year in kindergarten and preschool.
Melissa S. Virgin
Melissa is a Connecticut native who most recently served as Director of Religious Exploration at Theodore Parker Unitarian Universalist Church in West Roxbury, MA. She previously acted as the Community Minister for Reproductive Justice at Judson Memorial Church in New York City, while also working as the Director of Children and Family Ministries at Grace Church, and teaching Hebrew Bible at Grace Church School. Before beginning her theological studies, she managed educational conferences and grants for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in Washington DC, where she first became passionate about the role religion pays in people's decision-making. She loves to knit, paint, and spend time outdoors. She currently studies at Andover Newton Theological School where she will finish her Masters of Divinity in December of 2016. She holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Education from Smith College.