“There is no one way to be interfaith, you choose how to live your own interfaith life. I came to realize that being interfaith is being able to appreciate, understand, and live as a part of your family in a way that makes up your infinitely personal religious identity.” –Maya Schindler, Coming of Age Class Member, 2019

7th Grade Coming of Age Prep: Religion: What’s It To Me?

The theme of “loving neighbor, loving self” is interwoven throughout the year.

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The students look at:

  • Who they are in relation to themselves and others
  • How conflicts are or are not resolved
  • How we can each “pay it forward” by doing good works in the world while also taking care of and being good to ourselves

We create a safe environment to discuss:

  • Their personal definitions of religion
  • What it means to be interfaith
  • How faith and religion fit into their lives

Ropes Course: The IFFP COA Prep Class begins the year by going on a day long ropes course adventure that provides the students with a community-building opportunity as they embark on their two year Coming of Age journey.

Goal: Our goal is for the class to have a connection to others, to understand their faith journeys, and to be ready to seriously contemplate their own faith journeys.

Discussion: The class will be primarily discussion based, with speakers, books, films, newspaper articles and personal journals to inform our opinions.

Service Project: The year culminates in a community service project, created by the COA Prep students.

Sunday Morning Retreat: At the end of the year, the class visits a retreat center where they participate in various spiritual practices (walking a labyrinth, for example).

8th Grade Coming of Age: Questions and Decisions

IFFP COA students spend the year thinking through important existential questions.

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Class Components:

  •   Ponder five important life-long questions with their mentors and classmates.
  • As a class, they do a significant community service project that includes a thoughtful analysis of their chosen topic.
  • Visit the Holocaust Museum and discuss it with an IFFP member whose father and grandfather were both survivors.
  • Participate in a “wilderness experience” in which they spend three hours alone in a safe, wooded area finding their internal “thunder” (spirit, self, divine spark).

COA Ceremony:

  • Toward the end of the year, they work with their COA Teachers and the IFFP Spiritual Director to create a Coming of Age Ceremony that both reflects their accomplishments and highlights their values.
  • Each student works with his/her mentor to create a presentation about their beliefs and their journey throughout the year. It can be either an oral, musical, dramatic or video presentation.
  • The COA Ceremony is a wonderfully inspiring event. The COA student is celebrated and blessed by his/her parents, mentor, the community and IFFP clergy. It is both a fitting ending to the students’ IFFP Sunday School experience and a marker in their continuing spiritual journeys.
Watch a Coming of Age Ceremony presentation.