Samhain: A Celtic Service of Remembrance

For the last Sunday in October, the whole congregation called the Directions and created sacred space.  In the sacred space we hung our leaves on the Tree of Life and had a spice cookie and cider communion to remember those loved ones who have gone before us.


In the Celtic tradition, Halloween attire was acceptable and encouraged. Adults and kids came dressed in costume and some brought their carved pumpkins to decorate the sanctuary for the hour.

Special thanks to the teens who met on Saturday night.  The teens helped to cut out all of the leaves and bake the soul cakes!

Don’t Label Me!

This past Sunday we discussed what it means to be prejudiced and also what it means to be tolerant.  We then brainstormed all the labels we could think of and as we brainstormed we wrote the words down on bricks and before we knew it we had covered our drawing person up.  Then we talked about how to get to know people so that we can describe them for who they are instead of trying to sum them up in one word.  For each idea we thought of, we removed one brick till we could see our person.


Following our discussion we watched Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches which led to more discussion about how we label each other and the harms that labels can cause.  Our final discussion centered on what kind of minster the children would like the Ministerial Search Committee to hire.  The children listed some very admirable qualities!



Good at telling stories.

Interested in knowing each person in the congregation.

Good at talking.


An Apple a Day…but which kind tastes best?

In the context of the Human Sexuality and Safer Congregation themes this past Sunday, RE read Just Because I Am by Lauren Murphy.  Just Because I am is a gentle, but comprehensive illustrated picture book about taking care of yourself and others.  It delves into saying yes and no, eating healthy and recognizing your feelings of happiness, sadneIMG_2703ss and anger.  It encourages children to look for comfort and understanding and it invites children of all ages to think about their self-respect.  1st and 2nd Principle!

IMG_2702Following the serious discussion we had some fun tasting the apples Jacy bought at her local farmers market.  After tasting each kind (maybe a few times) we rated them by 1st, 2nd and 3rd best tasting.  Then we did some math to try and figure out what our dots meant!  We talked about how the favorite apple is not found in supermarkets and how we need to take care of our environment and biodiversity, including the diversity of our fruit and vegetable crops – Principle 7!

In the afternoon I spent four hours with Kate and six senior youth building at the North Amherst Habitat for Humanity site.  It was hard work, but very satisfying.  Five out of the six youth hadn’t held a hammer probably more than a few times, but they managed to put up siding on three out of the four sides of an attached shed!  Good job youth! – Principle 2!FullSizeRender


Indigenous People’s Day

Drums_for_sale_at_the_National_Museum_of_the_American_IndianThe Native American Spirit

The Reverend Cynthia A. Frado led the congregation in a celebration of the wisdom of Native American Elders. With Rev. Frado, the congregation consecrated a Medicine Wheel and listened to the sound of the drum.  Rev. Frado hoped “the drum beats would carry people to that place where the heartbeat of nature speaks to your own spirit.”


What’s your 11th Commandment?

What would you say the 11th Commandment should be?  This past Sunday we talked about the Ten Commandments and how they were similar and different from the UU IMG_2604Principles.  Then we read The 11th Commandment which is  filled with children’s ideas and drawings of what they think the 11th Commandment should be.  My group thought it was interesting that the children featured were from many different kinds of faiths, but they were all basically saying the same thing – we should be good to each other.

Our activity was not exactly related, but in the spirit of creativity and reuse and recycle, I gave the children each 8-10 Guest at Your Table boxes that were left over from the past years’ campaigns.  I suggested they could write the Commandments or our Principles or their own thoughts on the sides, but most just wanted to build without guidelines. IMG_2601

There was a lot of glue involved and some colored paper and tape.


Perhaps “Have fun together!” should be the 11th Commandment?

And in the spirit of having fun together, the High School Youth group took a hike up Bear Mountain at the Notch.  We had a heartfelt discussion about how walking and being outside can be a worshipful experience.  We checked in and we talked about things we can do to let our representatives know we don’t agree in nuclear weapons and war.  One of the teens suggested looking online for sites that provide scripts for different topics and representatives’ contact information.

Thanks to all the teens who participated!