Chalices of Many Kinds

This past Sunday we reviewed the vocabulary we learned during the construction of our shoe box sanctuaries and we talked about the UU chalice.

The worship leaders for Sunday were two amazing special guests Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway who use music and song to present their stories in a program they call – Deeper Than Skin.  During the Story for All Ages Reggie talked about singing This Little Light of Mine from the time he was little to help him deal with waking up in the morning.  We helped him sing it through a couple of times.

Since our upstairs time was longer than usual I skipped reading the book I planned to use, and instead we made our bodies into chalices!


From there we drew our own chalices using crayons and water color paint.


And with the help of my volunteer, we got everything up on our bulletin board for this colorful presentation.


Since the upstairs worship went over, I told the children to open the games closet and find something to play together.  While they were busy with that I fired up the popcorn maker for a quick snack.  I can tell you this, in the process of deciding which set of Uno rules to follow, they did a lot of UUing all by themselves!






Sanctuary Activity Finale


This past Sunday we learned a new word – chancel – the “stage” where the choir, minister and musician sit.  We were fortunate enough to learn this term from Rev. Steve who spent the morning with us.  Thank you Rev. Steve.

Since not everyone got to finish their sanctuaries and it is time for us to move on to other topics, the children took their boxes home and hopefully a few will return fully renovated.

The UUSA, thanks to Brenda (our Music Director) and Maura (a parent), is encouraging children to be part of the choir officially once per month during out multi-generational services.  Maura will be leading the children’s choir practice after RE on most Sundays.  This is very informal and children are encouraged to come when they can.  You can hear the music here:  The children and the choir will only be singing the first verse:

Hymn 78 in Singing the Living Tradition; words by Mark Belletini; musical arrangement by Grace Lewis McLauren.

Summertime has turned the starwheel, autumn is upon us.

Sweet the angling sun, sweet upon the air the smell of blue mist rising.

Summertime has turned the starwheel, autumn is upon us.

Glorious the trees, glorious the sight of rust leaves falling, falling.

Summertime has turned the starwheel, autumn is upon us.



A Sanctuary is never truly finished?

IMG_5508 This past Sunday we took the time to talk about the different kinds of sanctuaries and then we talked about our sanctuary.  What is in it?  It turns out that “pew” is a pretty funny sounding word that is hard to say without smiling.  I knew better than to keep the discussion going – we had work to do!

And so our sanctuaries are in progress and judging by the thoughtful speed in which the chairs and windows are being built, we just might be working on this project all year.

Below are some photos of sanctuaries that do not look anything like our UUSA’s.


Wishing for a sweet year and Sanctuary

This past Sunday Rev. Steve told a story about a little girl who was challenged to find a red house with no windows, a chimney and a star inside.  Can you guess where she found it?  (See the end of the blog post for the answer.)  Moral – don’t give up on difficult challenges – sometimes you need to look and think really hard!


Downstairs we talked briefly about the Jewish high holiday of Rosh Hashanah and the food that is eaten to welcome a sweet new year – l’shana tova!  May you have a good year!  We thought about how different groups of people celebrate the new year at different times of the year and then we ate apples and honey.

Literally buzzing like bees we zoomed right into our activity for the morning – making small models of sanctuaries.  I decided at the last second not to give too many directions and wouldn’t you know it, the children like diving in without preconceived notions.  Next Sunday we are going to list all the different parts of a sanctuary so they can consider putting more into their spaces and they will get to know terms like: pews, stained glass windows, hymnals, pulpit, etc.  Thanks to Libby, my adult assistant, I compared the project to making a doll house and that took care of all my worries about the kids not understanding scale.

If you have a moment, google UU sanctuary.  The UUA is working very hard to develop different sanctuary movements.  Click here for one example.


**  She found an apple – it looked like a house, the stem looks like a chimney and if you cut the apple in half, it looks like it has a star inside.



Filling OUUr Buckets

This past Sunday we read a book that is apparently a favorite in our area schools because quite a few of our children knew the book.  It is called Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? by Caroline McCloud.  This activity complimented our opening water in-gathering ceremony with the whole congregation – Welcome Back!


I invited the children and my RE volunteer to help me read the book and then I passed out little white metal buckets and glass “jewels” to represent actions and sayings that are bucket fillers.  If you try this at home be prepared for some loud clinking!  The message of the book in a jewel size is this, we can all do and say nice things for each other.  Every nice thing said and done not only fills our own “bucket” (sense of worth and happiness) but also the recipient of our kindness.  Go ahead and try it – a full bucket isn’t heavy, I promise.

After handing out the jewels we practiced by walking around the room complimenting each other and trading jewels.  I asked the children to go home and see if they can count their kind words and deeds for the day using their jewels and their buckets as props.

Following the bucket filling we colored in pieces of a large puzzle.  Note to self.  Mark which side the children should draw on before handing out the puzzle pieces!!


The Sunday Before

This past Sunday we had our little RE class on the sidewalk in the sunshine and the shadows.  We spent the time drawing and riding a little wooden scooter down the slope of the walkway between the UU and the stores next door.  I am looking forward to meeting our new group of children this coming week.  I hope you had a wonderful summer and are rejuvenated for fall and all that the season brings.

Flower Communion and Bridging

This past Sunday we had our traditional Flower Communion and we also wished our three seniors well as they move from high school on to college in a ceremony called Bridging.  The Flower Communion involves members of the congregation bringing in flowers for collective vases and then at the end of the service the flowers are redistributed so that every person walks away with a different bloom.  The children did a wonderful job parading the vases in and distributing the blossoms out to the full room.

At the UUSA Bridging involves rubber gloves, roses with thorns (can you see where this is going?), a book that we (and the parents) think the youth would like and a quick update from the youth on where they are going next.



At this service we also said goodbye to our Interim Minister, Cindy Frado.  We wish her well.

This summer we will be offering childcare on most of the Sundays except when Pancake Breakfasts are scheduled.  This coming Sunday the UUSA will be closed.  Please check the website for updates.

Have a wonderful summer everyone!


Good luck seniors!

It is nice to be thanked!

This past Sunday we took time in our service to thank all of the adults who have volunteered with our Religious Education.  For those who helped out downstairs once or twice (or four or five times) we gave candles.  Fort those who helped facilitate OWL and Neighboring Faiths and served on the RE Ministry we gave potted flowers.   Please see below for excerpts of my email to the volunteers.

Downstairs parent volunteers led a (not so) secret thank you project going on in the Preschool and Elementary rooms for me – thank you for MY thank you posters everyone!  And in Classroom A with the Kate’s help we met with three youth to talk about next year.  Thank you to the youth for helping me paint the senior chalice gifts and for giving us lots of good ideas for next year.

Thank you everyone,


This is what I wrote in my email to all of our volunteers:

 I am writing to thank you for helping the UUSA RE Program.  The program was successful because of the time and the effort you put into volunteering and as the DRE, I can tell you that your dedication is essential to the children and youths’ spiritual development as well as their connection to the UUSA congregation…This Sunday I am hoping you can attend the Sunday Service because there will be a short ceremony to recognize both the people who volunteered downstairs during Sunday mornings and those of you who have helped to facilitate OWL,  Neighboring Faiths and Youth Group… Again, I am so appreciative of your time and support and I hope that you will help me and the RE Ministry recruit others to become part of our RE programming.  The more people we bring “downstairs,” the more the children will feel part of upstairs and the more adults will realize that RE is integral to who we are as a congregation.


Memorial Day – Block Monuments

This past Sunday our amazing Preschool Teacher Jacy set up stations for the children to move between.  One of the favorites was the block monument construction zone and the other was snack!  Check out the monuments that included gems and candles.  The watermelon was a sign of summer to come.  The children did a beautiful job of working together and respecting each other’s space and ideas.

Thank you all.

Neighboring Faiths

This past Sunday our Neighboring Faiths group pulled off a thoughtful service that filled the congregation with a sense of purpose, pride, love and appreciation.  Thank you to all of the youth for their dedication throughout the year and to the facilitators for helping to make the program happen.  I hope that the RE elementary children could picture themselves up in the pulpit in a few short years and that the high school youth could think back on their time in the program and realize how much they have changed since they participated in the program.  I hope all the adults in the room realized that one of our missions is to help our children develop their faith and feel a sense of belonging in our congregation.

Thank YoUU!


5-20-18 NF Order of Service.docx