Summer Childcare Schedule at the UUSA

Our certified preschool teacher, Jacy Armenti, will be providing child care during the hours of service on the following dates: 7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 8/13, 8/20, 8/27, 9/3. There will be activities and games available for all ages, including structured investigations and questions to solve every week.  Every child will have their voice heard, be part of the community and have fun! If there is no childcare, fidget toys and art supplies are available for children to use during the service.

On 6/18 and 7/30 there is a congregational pancake breakfast.  There will not be childcare offered on these Sundays, but families are welcome to come.

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Go Ahead and Pick a Flower!

This past Sunday we celebrated Flower Communion – perhaps the most colorful and best smelling service we have all year.

The Flower Ceremony, sometimes referred to as Flower Communion or Flower Festival, is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community.  Originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia, the Flower Ceremony was introduced to the United States by Rev. Maya Capek, Norbert’s widow. In this ceremony, everyone in the congregation brings a flower. Each person places a flower on the altar or in a shared vase. The congregation and minister bless the flowers, and they’re redistributed. Each person brings home a different flower than the one they brought. – UUA

We also celebrated our many new members.  Each new member received a certificate, a pin and a rose.  Welcome to our new members!

And finally, because we are following our Safer Congregation policies we always have two adults in a room with youth and children, this means we need a lot of volunteers.  Thank you to everyone who helped make RE possible:  Tom, Lesley, Ashley, Louise, Susan, Kate, Ben, Chaz, Maura, Karen, Karen, Jim, Alysson, Lisa, Jason, Mary, and Amy.

For the children in the congregation – nice job sitting through the service and helping with the flowers!

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Graduation and Bridging

Think about it – everyone is on their own path in life and we all cross different kinds of bridges.  This past Sunday we celebrated our two five year olds who graduated from preschool and will be joining the elementary program next year.  To celebrate all of the children sang the UU Principle Song and Magic Penny.

In the second part of worship we had a Bridging Ceremony for our high school seniors. The ceremony included handing them each a rose with thorns (because life can be pretty thorny at times), gardening gloves (because our congregation wants these young adults to know we are there for them), books (and bookmarks) to go along with each of their interests and hand painted mini chalices for them to take on their upcoming journeys.   Each senior took a few moments to tell the congregation where they are headed this summer and next year.

Thanks to all who helped to make this day special.

 

 

 

Memories and Swinging

images.jpgThis past Sunday the children walked to War Memorial Park to share memories of the year, memories of those people and pets who have died and also to have fun together.  Thank you to the chaperones who accompanied the children and I just want to say how amazing our Preschool Teacher – Jacy is as a teacher, friend and leader!

 

 

 

From Scrap to Sculpture and Coming of Age

The preschool class has been discussing the 7th principle this month. With the help of some older classmates (K-2), we recycled some “beautiful junk” into statues, animals, and buildings of our owIMG_0981n design!

While this creative business was happening downstairs, upstairs we had 15 Coming of Age youth (7th-9th graders) go through a moving ceremony with the congregation and parents and relatives. The highlight of this ceremony for me is when each youth reads their “I believe” statements.  The tearful moments come when the parents hand their youth back their childhood toy and then gives a coming of age present.  The presents ranged from sweet to serious to silly.  All beautiful!

 

 

Thank you to all who helped to make the youth feel welcome and taken care of.  And thank you to the older elementary youth who stayed upstairs to listen.

 

Benefactor Practice

Last week Lesley Smith led our last contemplative session for the year.  Children explored a kind of mindfulness called a “benefactor practice”.   Exploration included a theater game, and will engage in a simple contemplative practice where they chose a photo of mostly famous benefactors and copied their poses.

 

 

During the second part of the morning the children honored a special benefactor by tracing their hands, cutting them out and then decorating them.  The hands were traced on folded paper so when you open them you see a heart.  I am pretty sure every child gave their hand art to their mother.  Happy Mother’s Day!

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Worship Through Song

This past Sunday Jason came down and shared his singing and guitar talents with the group.  We sang a whole variety of songs and while we did so we talked about how music is used in worship.  What is a hymn?  Why do we sing?  Do we only sing when we are happy?  How IMG_0849do the words make us feel?  How can we make meaning of the words of songs in the context of the UU beliefs and principles?  Of course we fit in some silly dancing!  Thank you to Jason for sharing his time and talent!

Mindfulness Through Taste

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Lesley continued to help the children with their mindfulness practice.  Children focused on the present moment using their sense of taste and tried a simple mindful eating experience.

The lesson concluded with the children making fruit kabobs for the congregational social after the worship service.  Generosity and mindfulness – what a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

 

Dancing Into Spring

First the UUSA Religious Education program – kids young and old, parents old and older – gathered to share pizza (five food groups in one dish), games and to build our strength for what was soon to come.

Then we set aside our fears and hesitance and we went upstairs to learn to Contra Dance!  What a great time was had by all!  Thank you to the Grossleins and Anne Louise White for playing and calling.  When my teen wanted to leave, I asked her, do you have something better to do than this?  She had to admit that no, the dancing was fun and she stayed and partnered up with the six year old who was pulling at her to join in to dance with her again.  It is hard not to smile during the dances.  I smiled so much my face hurt by the end of the night.  And it is good the dance steps repeat themselves over and over until everyone has had a turn.  I figured by the sixth repetition I generally knew what was going on, until then, well that’s what smiling is for!  That same six year old told her mother that she didn’t want the dancing to end.  She wanted it to go on forever and ever.

But wait, that was Saturday night and I’m really supposed to be writing about Sunday.  Sunday wIMG_0646e talked about how food is an important part of religion.  I found some websites, including 9 Religious Foods with Religious Symbolism and an Australian Food and Culture Educational resource to rely on for some of my information, but we spent most of our time talking about what the children knew and can you guess what we ended up eating?

MATZAH!

Between bites we discussed why we were talking about IMG_0647Passover when we were worshiping in a UU and they all agreed that people come to the UUSA because people of all faiths are welcome and it is fun to celebrate different holidays.  We ended our morning taking turns hiding and looking for the Afikomen.  Next Sunday we will celebrate Easter!