Harvest and Memory

img_0027Saturday night five youth helped to decorate the sanctuary and bake the soul cakes the congregation enjoyed during service on Sunday morning.  Thank you youth and our baking expert, Rachel.  What are soul cakes?  Well, this is the explanation given along with the recipe we used:  Soul cakes were the original trick-or-treat goody. Irish peasants would go door-to door on All Hallows Eve begging homeowners for food to celebrate the occasion. Soul cakes were given to them. This ensured the homeowner would be free from a curse or prank; instead, the receivers would offer prayers for them that would help them get into heaven.  This morning, during the service led by Rev. Cindy, we took several minutes to think about those who have passed on to the “other side” and we wrote their names on paper leaves which we hung on a bare oak in the sanctuary.  After we hung the leaves, we each took a cup of cider and a soul cake and when everyone had hung their leaf and taken their cake, we ate and drank together.

Mindfulness on Care


Lesley Smith led the children through a mindfulness session on caring and being cared for. The lists show some of the people and things that the children thought about during the exercise.  At the end of the session, Lesley left them with the encouragement to continue to notice actual moments of care in their daily lives.

Lesley states, “The intention of this contemplative practice is to develop habits of mind that recall the feeling of being cared for.  By helping children learn to recognize and to be open to the stable sources of care as well as the many moments of connection in their lives we foster and reinforce a sense of safety and security.  Research shows that this will ultimately promote growth and learning and ultimately care and concern for others.”

The framework Lesley is using comes from the Sustainable Compassionate Education.  (http://courageofcare.org/programs/initiatives2/initiative-1/)

The children also practiced singing three songs for the solstice service:

This Longest Night (Solstice Round)  by unknown

Great Big Star (traditional Appacchian)

Thank You  by Burchie Green

Chalice Light and Diwali

This past Sunday the children learned about Diwali, the Hindu celebration of the inner light which protects us from spiritual darkness.


And then we got our hands dirty and spent our time making clay chalices to take home. The flaming chalice is the primary symbol of the UU faith and the UUSA children have their own ideas about what it symbolizes.  Take a moment to reflect on what the chalice means to you and what it can mean for your family.


Indigenous Peoples Day

This past Suimg_5866nday was a multi-generational worship centered on Indigenous Peoples Day. Thank you ARMS students!  It was a service filled with calls for peace, for justice and for paying attention.  It was a service filled with music and with sharing of joys and concerns.  It was a service with dancing!  When the service was over we gathered in the social hall and we signed a beautiful statement of support for the people who are protesting the pipeline project in North Dakota.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  For those who didn’t make it, I encourage you to go online.  There are many ways to show your support.


Radical Hospitality

Sunday we talked about what it means to be hospitable.  Upstairs the adults listened to what it meant to be radicallyIMG_5786.JPG hospitable.  In our version of the discussion, “Grandmother” came to visit and she was treated very well by her family.  She was offered drinks, stories, and some kind of fancy souffle that almost set the kitchen on fire!  We also worked on our NOT boxes – they are coming along very nicely indeed and finally, Jacy taught us a little about Rosh Hashanah and the ritual of Tashlich.  With this ritual in mind, we each wrote or drew something that we wanted to wash away for the coming year.  The symbolism of using a sponge on our feelings and actions, we shouldn’t necessarily be carrying around, was very powerful.