This past Sunday I took the day off and let two wonderful volunteers lead the RE elementary program in preparing for social hour and discussing how our social hour after service is part of the Sunday morning worship experience. Thank you to Susan and Sue.
This past Sunday the youth did a great job pulling together a worthy worship on the topic of Change! Because of time constraints I set up the worship and then assigned different parts to each youth who could make it. During the reflection time they each read a short piece on their thoughts on change. The thoughts, no surprise, were varied and insightful. Our elementary RE children did a great job sitting through the service too!
(Order of Service drawing by Rosie)
This past Sunday we concentrated on the Jewish holiday of Passover. I had three things planned besides check in and conversation and we got to all three, but let me tell you it was a high energy day! During check in one child announced she had a song stuck in her head which prompted two more to start to sing it and then on top of that two of our youngest UU members were having a rough day in the preschool so there was a lot of anxious crying to be heard. Such is life. Before moving over to the craft table I read them an overview of the Passover story.
From our conversation circle we moved over to the tables where we made our paper Seder plates and filled each of the cupcake liners with play dough versions of the symbolic foods. I realized afterwards that I should have had them put the bitter herbs into two cups because there are SIX cups total and two kinds of bitter herbs. I will give them the sixth next Sunday and make them promise to add it to their plates at home. Note I am Jewish. I am a DRE. And I make mistakes like everyone else. What is so strange is that I didn’t notice even though I was using information from Chabad.org!
Second we played the Fill Your Seder Plate game I found from a Catholic Blogger. While we played we ate our matzoh and the charoset I made using 3 apples, 2 bananas, one orange and some cinnamon. During the game I tried to talk with them about the themes of the Passover tradition, but honestly, it was ENOUGH that they were taking turns rolling the dice, eating, laughing and being together.
To wrap up the morning we had a wild hunt for the afikoman which is always one of the highlights of a passover Seder for the children and adults. You can click here for more information on the tradition.
Honestly, I am not sure what the children took away from today’s lesson, but we will circle round again and again… and again… and eventually some of the facts and feelings will stick. That is my hope.
This Sunday we had a special guest in worship and they told the story Spork. If you haven’t read it – YOU SHOULD! It’s a great story about finding your place in the world, tolerance and how being different is good.
Downstairs we discussed how most things in nature are not perfect and although humans are imperfect, with work and time and love we can turn our blemishes and flaws into strength and beauty. We concentrated on how character traits can be seen as negative and positive and we considered the following words: stubborn, aggressive, bossy and boastful. After our discussion we broke into groups and the children made up skits to show 1) the difference between someone being stubborn and uncooperative and stubborn and refusing to do something bad 2) the difference between being aggressive like a bully and being aggressive in sports and 3) the difference between bossing around your friends and organizing people so they do the right thing.
At the end we remembered last week’s lesson about Jesus Christ and Jesus’s preaching “love your neighbor” and we came back around to our 7 Principles. We concluded that none of the principles have conditions attached to them to exclude people and we ended the morning when one of my youngsters said, “We believe that each and every person is important no matter what!”
This past Sunday I used the Love Will Guide Us Tapestry of Faith lesson on Jesus, but before I get into the lesson let me confess that I shop on Amazon and at some point a few weeks ago I saw a plush Jesus doll and I bought it because, you never know when a Jesus doll is needed. No one asked to hold the doll, but it did become a prop for our discussion.
To start our lesson I used “Meet Jesus” which was adapted by Lynn Tuttle Gunney from Meet Jesus: The Life and Lessons of a Beloved Teacher. As I read through the excerpts of the bible that tells of Jesus’s life we made the connections between what we were hearing and the special holiday we celebrate – Christmas!
Next we talked about what we thought Jesus would think of our Seven Principles. There was consensus that he would have probably been supportive of how we believe people should act. We talked about how Christianity is one of our UU sources and how Jesus is an important religious leader.
Following the discussion I told them the parable of the Mustard Seed and to do this I adapted what I read on several sites including this one: https://sermons4kids.com/parable_mustard_seed.htm.
And to end the day we made Mustard Seed bookmarks using the activity described here. It is truly wonderous that small seeds can grow into important and life sustaining plants and trees for us and for the animals and the Earth.
Sunday, March 4th was a busy full day in RE. Preschool had two babies and four young children and once again Jacy showed skill, patience and incredible ability to juggle every small person’s needs. Believe me, I was there as back-up. This first Sunday of March was the start of “hospital” play. It is cool how long small people can concentrate on pi-petting colored water – I mean “medicine.” Following circle time the preschoolers created their own baby hospital.
Over in the elementary RE space Lesley Smith took another Sunday to explore mindfulness with our kindergarten – fifth graders. Lesley helped the children take time to notice the role models and helpful people in their lives and also identify what sustains them. Children did a silhouette art activity in which they filled their silhouette with drawings and words to represent what they believe they need to live well.
This week Lesley Smith led the children in a mindfulness activity which brought their attention to the interconnections between people and all living things – several of our principles address the importance of our connections! We played a game with yarn that demonstrated interdependence and in the process we created a yarn web. Lesley then introduced a contemplative practice that focused on connection.
You know the song, Magic Penny? For our final activity we drew positive symbols on dot stickers which we then stuck to pennies, with the intention of passing the messages of hearts, smiley faces and peace signs on to people we know and leaving them around for people we don’t know to find.
Preschool was downstairs with Augusta and a parent volunteer. Preschoolers continued their exploration of African culture, African American heritage and how both enrich the culture in the United States. The activity of the day was making a fruit salad using fruits that are grown on the African continent.
This past Sunday the children had a great time with special guest and RE mother Maura. Maura brought her guitar and a series of songs to help us celebrate Black History Month. To go with the theme of freedom and celebration of black achievement we read the book Our Children Can Soar which is a wonderful book about famous, strong, smart, creative African Americans who have helped to pave the way for future generations.
This past Sunday we had our annual break out service and once again we showed that worship can be “done” in many ways. People of all ages came together around the theme of love. At the end of the service we came back together and one person from each group gave a short summary of their break out group’s work. The music group sang two songs “Dear World” and “I’m in Love with A Big Blue Frog.” Many thanks to our two elementary age ukulele players who accompanied the choir!
Worship through Music – Brenda Miller & Alyson Miller – (Sanctuary)
Is it any wonder that nearly all of the music ever composed is about, or inspired by, LOVE? Love and music are universal languages. Whether sung or instrumental, music carries with it the often unspoken emotions of the composer and the interpreter. Led by some of our very youngest, we will learn a song called “Dear World” and hopefully a second song which speaks of love across the color spectrum – a humorous song with a social message. Come, let us sing! Prior experience not necessary!
Worship through Service – Rebecca Fricke & Adrian (Craig’s Doors) – (Conference Room)
Giving of our time and resources is a large part of who we are as UUs. This morning we will be sorting our hygiene donations for clients of Craig’s Doors as well as talking about how we can be part of the change. In learning about the needs of our community we grow intellectually and in acting on our principles we grow spiritually.
Worship through Art – Susan Rice – (Classrooms A and B)
Our First Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person will be our starting point for today’s activities. Taking care of each other requires patience, love and hard work. During this session we will be making Valentine Cards for the guests at Craig’s Doors.
Worship through Conversation – Cindy Frado & Jade Lovett – (Willie Eaton Social Hall)
There are many different kinds of love, but each of them requires a certain amount of attentiveness and proper care if they are to blossom into something of lasting beauty and endurance. Today in worshipful conversation, we will explore and lift-up the many facets of love.