Children and Youth

We offer nursery care for young children during our Sunday worship services.

Currently we offer a monthly Souljourning event on Sundays after worship for young people 1-18 and their parents. See the schedule HERE!

SOULJOURNING is a new interfaith, inter-spiritual community of parents and children aged 0-18 hosted by UCC Simi, promoting the spiritual nurture of young people.  There is mounting scientific evidence showing that spirituality is a natural developmental process which, if supported, results in positive life-outcomes.  Souljourning serves the large and growing population of parents who may not be affiliated with any religion, but recognize the importance of encouraging this process in their children.


Souljourning’s resources and events are rooted in secular mindfulness meditation, featuring practices from world faith traditions and non-religious sources. 


Souljourning offers a free 2x/month e-news/blog and conversation among parents about ways to encourage the spiritual growth of their children.  It holds a free monthly event at 11:00 – 12:30 (after 10 am worship) at UCC Simi, gathering parents and their children.  Families of any or no faith background are encouraged to participate, without any expectation of formal affiliation.  Each month’s event offers different experiences:  making sand mandalas, story-telling, making home altars, learning meditative chants of the world’s religions.  A simple lunch is served at  each session.  Sign up for the enews and event announcements by emailing . 


UCC Simi is a progressive Christian congregation.  This form of the faith is focused on compassion rather than on dogma, and it embraces the wisdom and spirituality of other religions. 


Souljourning is directed by Rev. Jim Burklo, UCC Simi’s pastor, and by Colleen Briner-Schmidt, a beloved elementary teacher in the Conejo Unified School District and a member of UCC Simi.  An interfaith educator, Jim Burklo retired as the Senior Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Southern California in 2022.  He is a co-founder of, a campus-wide initiative training students and staff in mindfulness meditation practice.  He is ordained in the national United Church of Christ denomination. 



Resources by Jim Burklo:



Awe-Inspiring Activities for Young People and their Families:


Interfaith Prayer Beads


Make a Sand Mandala


Hold a “Campfire”


Ask People Big Questions


Commit Microaffections


Make Magic Mudballs


Sanctify Your Smartphones


Retell Your Story


Convene a Clearness Campfire


Convene a Dream Campfire


By Heart: Memorizing Scripture Treasures (Jewish/Christian)


Jim Burklo’s Stories for Young People:


Elephant Eggs (fun – for ages 4-12)


From Seeds and Stardust (an awesome “genesis” story for ages 4-12)


The Clay Bird (a Muslim/Christian story for ages 12 and over)


The Tumbleweeds (fun – for ages 4-12)


Breaking Free (for ages 4-12)


Jim Burklo’s Interfaith Novel, SOULJOURN (for teens/young adults): Souljourn (e-book)


What is Souljourning? – For Parents and Older Youth:


The Four Spiritual Awes (an invitation to Souljourning)


The Science of Natural Spirituality


An Invitation to the Quest


Seven Principles of Interfaith Engagement


Holy Jealousy: how other faiths can inspire us


What Muslims Do When They Lose Their Keys: a meditation on interfaith relationships


Interfaith Etiquette


The Varieties of God: how Ultimate Reality is seen from different viewpoints


The Power of Religious Myth


Spiritual Practices for Youth and Families:


Jim Burklo’s videos: Introduction to Mindfulness


Ten Ways to Meet God (or Ultimate Reality)


Awexercise – how to cultivate awe


God’s Dye: immersing ourselves in spiritual practice


Contemplatio: an interfaith version of a Christian practice


On Creating Rituals


The Ladder of Souls


Jim Burklo’s Book of Common Prayer (for Christians)


Jim Burklo’s New Words for Old Hymns (for Christians)


Good Questions (Can Change the World)


Write Your Own Ten Commandments


Periodic Table of Prayer


Dream Analysis


Cultivating Attention


Looking at Your Unknowns


How to Start a “Gathering”


Making Voting a Ritual


Jim Burklo’s Books:


Tenderly Calling: An Invitation to the Way of Jesus (2021)


Souljourn (an interfaith novel for teens/young adults)


Mindful Christianity


Hitchhiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service (interfaith)


Deeper Love: Faithful Rhetoric for Progressive Social Change (interfaith)


Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians


Open Christianity: Home by Another Road



External Resources:



Learning about Natural Spirituality:


Souljourning is grounded in recent scientific discoveries about natural spiritual development in young people. For an overview of these findings, read The Spiritual Child by Dr Lisa Miller, Founder of the Spirituality, Mind, Body Institute at Columbia University.


Learning About The World’s Religions and Spiritual Traditions:


Tanenbaum – Multi-Faith Education For more than 15 years, Tanenbaum has expanded multicultural education to include religious diversity. As an educator, parent, or student, use our practical tools to reduce and eliminate bullying and malice. Many Tanenbaum resources address or are aligned with Common Core Standards.


Interfaith Calendar Dates of holidays of the world’s religions, years into the future – with definitions/descriptions.


BBC – Religion Brief introductions to the religions of the world.


Pluralism Project – click on Religions In-depth articles introducing the religions of the world.


Interfaith Youth Core – Interfaith America – Building the next generation of interfaith leaders on campus and beyond.


Links to Spiritual Education Curricula:


Godly Play – a method of Christian education for children, with roots in Montessori education and in Jungian Sand Play therapy. Presents the biblical stories as myths which children can creatively engage.


Amar Chitra Katha – Books/magazines/etc – Hindu folktales, fables, legends, and lore for children


Golden Rule Interfaith Poster – “do unto others as you would have them do to you” – the equivalent in the world’s religions.


Links to Faith/Spiritual Organizations that share Souljourning’s commitments:


Muslims for Progressive Values At Muslims for Progressive Values, we advocate for human rights, social justice and inclusion in the United States and around the world. “I follow the Way of Love, and where Love’s caravan takes its path, there is my religion, my faith.” — Ibn Arabia


Sadhana Since 2011, Sadhana has been building a progressive Hindu movement. We practice our sadhana, or faith in action, by advocating for those social justice principles we believe are at the heart of Hinduism. Offers thoughtful and practical resources for individuals, families, and communities to explore and affect progressive Christianity, spirituality, community life, social and environmental justice.


Jewish Emergent Network A network of Jewish communities with devotion to revitalizing the field of Jewish engagement, a commitment to approaches both traditionally rooted and creative, and a demonstrated success in attracting unaffiliated and disengaged Jews to a rich and meaningful Jewish practice.