SNEUCC Congregations Embrace Our Whole Lives Sexuality Curriculum

SNEUCC Congregations Embrace Our Whole Lives Sexuality Curriculum

Volunteers from 10 Southern New England UCC congregations joined others from Unitarian Universalist congregations this past November for a weekend of training to become sexuality educators for the teens in their churches. The training was led by Jane Detweiller and Sandra Greenfield, long-time Our Whole Lives trainers in New England.

The main takeaway from the weekend was that if teens do not understand that their faith is involved in the decisions they make about their bodies as they mature, then they are most often left to follow the siren call of their peers and the pressures of popular culture.

Some congregations question why a “sex ed.” course should be offered at church when the public school offers such classes. However, the Our Whole Lives (OWL) program — a nationally-recognized and prized sexuality education program for both secular and church settings — not only provides information about the human body and how it functions, it also integrates values and healthy attitudes into its materials.

Students learn how to make responsible decisions about their sexual health and behaviors through the program's holistic approach. The curriculum materials provide accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality. It also brings God into the conversation, helping the students to recognize that having a relationship with God impacts one’s whole life, including sexuality. 

Offering accurate information about sexuality in a safe, non-judgmental environment, with parental support, gives teens the tools they need to navigate the pressures they experience from the media and secular culture.

The values in the Our Whole Lives program promote self worth, sexual heath, responsibility, respect for others, diversity, and inclusivity. It places sexuality in the context of values and personal responsibility. It supports healthy decision making and strengthens social skills. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, building self-acceptance and self-esteem. It fosters healthy relationships and carries the potential to save lives.

Locate more information about the Our Whole Lives program online at

This webpage offers many resources for congregations and families including: 
Amy Johnson, the national UCC Minister for Sexuality Education and Justice, is also available to answer your questions about OWL.

The Southern New England Conference is committed to assisting its congregations in providing training opportunities for local church volunteers who wish to become trained OWL facilitators for their congregations. Trainings are offered each fall, with the next being offered November 10-12, 2023 at Silver Lake Camp and Conference Center in Sharon, CT.

You are invited to fill out the SNEUCC online OWL interest form if you or your congregation are interested in OWL training.

Our Whole Lives — creating disciples of healthy sexuality.


debbie gline allen cropped.jpg
Debbie Gline Allen

Debbie Gline Allen serves as a Minister of Faith Formation on the Conference’s Faith Formation Ministry Team. She also serves as the administrator of the SNEUCC Faith Formation Leadership Program.  Her passion for ministry is with children and family...

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