Eggcelent Sunday!

We thought we had 60 eggs hidden, so we weren’t sure what to do when we found 62.  One little one said that the Easter Bunny hides the eggs because if the chickens hid them it would be too messy, you know, because chickens don’t have hands.  We knew wisdom when we heard it.  We also discovered that Easter Eggs and glitter go together.  As one child said, “Glitter goes with everything!”  Which is true.

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While Alison was preaching upstairs about resurrection.  Downstairs we talked about what Easter meant to the children.  Love was the number one reply, love and spring – bulbs and baby animals.  Things like Easter eggs and the Passover matzoh called the afikomen can be hidden and found.  Spring finds us just when we are most in need of sunlight and warmth and color.

Thank UU

We’ve only just begun to grow!

As humans we are all changing in physical size and age, but more importantly, our brain is constantly developing which is why life-span religious education is so important.  It is also why it is vital that we engage our entire congregation in helping to educate our children and our youth.  The best way to learn anything is to teach and every single one of us has something to teach.   I’m hoping that our congregation embraces religious education as everyone’s mission and not just something that happens downstairs.

Some of us have been coming to the UUSA or another UU for decades, others for a few years and practically every Sunday we have new people walking through our doors.  What do they see and hear when they are in the sanctuary and at social hour?  What do we assume when they are in these places?  When a person who has never been to a church or to our society comes in we ask them to do a long list of new things starting from the moment they walk through the door when we strangers greet them with smiles and instructions.  We ask them to sit and listen.  We ask them if they are willing and able to sing unfamiliar songs.  Sometimes we ask them to read out loud, we ask them to hear music and wrestle with novel terms, interpret a sermon, listen to poetry, pass an offering basket (and hopefully put something in it) and close by holding hands and singing with strangers.  That’s a lot to ask a person of any age!  Coming to a religious institution or society of any kind requires practice and good models.

Adults and children face the same challenges and it is probably easier for the children.  Even though we ask them to separate from their parents or guardians, they come down to a smaller space where adults and peers explain every single stage of the morning starting with our circle of joys and concerns.  We ask questions and we encourage questioning and then there is always an activity that we hope will help to reinforce Sunday’s sermon theme.

And what about the rest of us who are used to the building, the culture and our guiding principles?  Are we finished?  No!  We are all on our own paths trying to discover truth and meaning.   We need each other to talk, to listen and discuss our concerns and our experiences.  Let’s use UU as a verb.  Let’s UU together no matter how old we are or where we are – upstairs, downstairs, or out in the community.  Our faith takes practice and everyone who has ever been on a team knows that it is always more fun training with others.  Let’s UU together sitting down, standing up, singing, serving, talking and being quiet.

Disclaimer:  In February I participated in an amazing Religious Education Training called the Philosophy of Religious Education.  For two whole days I worked to better understand the purpose of RE with eleven other DREs from around the US.  As part of the training I was asked to read Essex Conversations – Visions for Lifespan Religious Education and I have come away inspired by the essays and my interactions with the group as well as our very own Karen Fisk who led us through the days as a demanding, but gentle and supportive guide.  Get ready UUSA – I’m ready to help us all better understand and embrace Religious Education!

Let’s UU,

Rebecca Fricke

Faith in Action -Many Ways We Hunger

“We are all on our own paths trying to discover truth and meaning.   We need each other to talk, to listen and discuss our concerns and our experiences.  Let’s use UU as a verb.  Let’s UU together no matter how old we are or where we are – upstairs, downstairs, or out in the community.  Our faith takes practice and everyone who has ever been on a team knows that it is always more fun training with others.  Let’s UU together sitting down, standing up, singing, serving, talking and being quiet.” – Rebecca Fricke

This past Sunday – March 6th – the UUSA congregants stepped out of the box and broke down barriers and walls!  Everyone – young and older – chose how they wanted to worship and for the next half hour the building was brimming with all different kinds of energy.   The RE Ministry has set a bold example and hopefully we will see more of these kinds of services in the future.  These were the options everyone had:

 

Worship through music – Brenda Miller, Fran Plumer, Susan Rice – Sanctuary – The power of music and song fills our hunger for connection and community with others.  Through song, we express love, sorrow, joy, compassion, social justice, and even loss.  After examining the place that loss holds in our lives, we will share in a simple and lovely song that will open our hearts to the gifts that come from loss.

Worship through service – Rebecca Fricke and Ashley Carter – Willie Eaton Social Hall – Many of us hunger to help heal the world and this morning we will be sorting our food donations for the Amherst Survival Center as well as talking about how we can be part of the change.  Giving of our time and resources is a large part of who we are as UUs.  In learning about the needs of our community, our nation and the world we grow intellectually and in acting on our principles we grow spiritually.

Worship through art and poetry – Mary Ann Gunderson and Kate Rice – Classroom A and B – Often our dreams can feed our hunger for change.  We’ll join dreamers from all over the world who, as part of the Dream Flag Project, have captured their dreams as words, images, and poems on small cotton flags. We’ll be inspired by the words of Langston Hughes and we’ll literally “let our dreams fly”.

Worship through conversation – Alison Wohler and Ben Brau – Conference Room – There are many ways to feed our hunger, but that’s because we have many different kinds of hunger.  Knowing what these hungers are is an important part of understanding our human nature, and our inborn religious and spiritual impulses.  Our conversation will start with the hungers and then focus on the means of mind and body, and all our human senses, that we use to feed our hungers.

Below UUSA congregants young and older talk about Food Insecurity.

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The Principled Puppet Improv Extravaganza

 

Sometimes when you’re working on an art project it can be hard to call the work finished.  For our puppets, there were more eyes to be glued on, a few more strands of hair two be braided, a row of stripes or a pompom to be added.  It was hard to tell the children that we had to stop, but the calendar forced us to finish and act on our principles!

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In the end we divided into four groups.  Each group picked a principle and the challenge was to create a skit that didn’t use the words from our prinicple poster so that the audience could guess which principle the puppet show was trying to promote.

The results were awesome (be kind, respect others and take care of the earth were the most chosen principles) and I am sorry the adults did not get to see them, but the experience, as is often the case, was more the sum of the parts than the final performance. Hopefully your child’s sock will continue to entertain at home.

This coming week we will be having a whole congregation worship which should be a lot of fun for everyone.

Thank yoUU for sharing yoUUr children,

Rebecca