“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?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.