Focus On a Book

Thanks to Susan and her expert children’s librarian skills , our small group of K-4th graders spent the entire 40 minute session reading and talking about this book!  IMG_1851I loved participating with the children and seeing how they thought through what appeared to be a simple book, but which was in fact a pretty complicated story about a mob of little acorn creatures who take and take until… well, I won’t spoil it, but I will say it took a lot of UU caring and sharing to get through to the end.   The pictures are awesome and a good message can be found.  Check it out here on Goodreads.  I’m not exactly sure I agree with the write-up, but go ahead check it out for yourself!  We filled up the whole time with looking at the pictures and talking about the story that we had no time for an activity which I think is a first.  And since it was just a day before our national celebration of MLK, our conversation turned to what MLK’s message was and why it was so important for our nation to hear.  What do you do when the crowd around you is acting on principles you don’t appreciate or believe in?

 

 

 

 

Green Slime and Gratitude

This past Sunday I knew UUSA member Janis Gray was giving the sermon and in it she was going to talk about a green slimy dessert that was a traditional part of her family Thanksgiving dinner.  Can you guess what I decided to do during RE?

Before I answer, I’ll let you know that during Joys and Sorrows we talked about how Thanksgiving is both a time of joy and a time of sorrow.  Many Native Americans call Thanksgiving the Day of Mourning and it is important that we acknowledge how terrible the Pilgrims were to the native people who lived on this continent before they arrived from Europe.  It is also important to remember that not everyone has enough food to eat or a warm place to sleep.  So, while we take the time to share a meal and family, let us not forget our past or our neighbors and friends who may not have enough.

Janis’s funny story about her family’s green dessert gave me the perfect excuse for us to make non-edible green slime!  It turns out green slime is easy to make and not surprisingly, a big hit with the children.  Here is the recipe:  two Tablespoons Corn Starch, one and a half Tablespoons dish soap and a few drops of green food coloring – mix, mix, add more soap, add more starch, keep mixing and kneading until you get the consistency you want.  The more you mix and knead, the better the slime becomes!

Once we got to the point where we could pull our slime and not have it stick to our fingers we took turns reading poems about gratitude in a book called Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes.  The book has beautiful messages and pictures.

Between the slime and the gratitude poems I think the children are set for Thanksgiving!  Parents, you’ll be happy to know that this version of slime dries pretty quickly so you probably won’t be finding it all over your house.

Enjoy the time off school and work and remember, if you need help or support in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

 

Universal Signs of Love

This past Sunday we explored the Second Principle by learning about the Side With Love campaign work that UUs have embraced as integral to our work.

“SIDE WITH LOVE LOVE IS A PUBLIC ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN THAT SEEKS TO HARNESS LOVE’S POWER TO STOP OPPRESSION. IT IS SPONSORED BY THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION AND ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN.”

The Side With Love campaigners wear bright yellow t-shirts when they are out and about and I thought it would be fun for us to make our own.  We had a great time as you will see in the photo gallery below.

Cooking for Lucio

Last Sunday our RE children could tell me which Principles related to cooking for Lucio Perez, a Guatemalan man who has been in sanctuary at the First Congregational Church for the past two years.  In looking to link the corresponding principles I found this on the The First Parish in Lexington (MA) website:

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.

  • Respect the importance and value of each person
  • Offer fair and kind treatment to everyone
  • Yes to spiritual growth and learning together
  • Grow by exploring ideas and finding your own truth
  • Believe in your ideals and voice your vote
  • Insist on justice, freedom and peace for all
  • Value our responsibility in the web of life

The RE children named Principles 1,2,4,5 and 6.

After a very quick explanation we got right to work and divided into three stations – one for salad making, one for lasagna making and one for pie baking.  By the end of 45 minutes all of the children had taken a turn in the three stations and we had three significant dishes for one of our families to take home to bake and deliver on Monday.  Thank you to those who donated the food for us to prepare.  Lucio – we hope you enjoy the food!

UU UNO

This past Sunday was a whole congregation service centered on the UU United Nations Office, the work that the office does and the experiences of Ally (teen) and Kate (adult chaperone) at the past Spring Symposium.  You can check out this year’s Symposium here.  Rev. Rachael reflected on the work that the UUA has done, but also the work that remains to be done.  We were encouraged to take some deep breaths because, yes, there is a lot of work we still have to do.

During the TIME FOR ALL AGES Kate Rice read Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by C. Johnson, L Council, and C. Choi.  I highly recommend this picture book for families interested in talking about how to be good allies. 

Building bridges between our divisions, I 

Reach out to you, will you reach out to me? With

All of our voices and all of our visions,

Friends, we could make such sweet harmony

During the service children had the opportunity to color in a visual Order of Service which had drawings that related to the different sections of the service, including the Gender Unicorn.  The worksheet shown below was included in the regular orders of service.

Image result for gender unicorn transstudent.org

Stained Glass and RE Votes for our NEW Minister Rachael Hayes

This past weekend was very exciting.  Friday night RE sponsored a sign making, pizza party and Meet Rachael party for all those who were in support of the UUSA marching in the Northampton Pride Parade.  Many signs were made, pizza was eaten, Rachael was able to mingle and meet most of our families and allies.

 

 

Saturday, May 4th we gathered, mingled with the Northampton UU and marched about a mile to the fairgrounds.  It was pretty incredible to be part of such a large group of people all feeling the pride, the love and support of each other.  At one point the marchers were funneled into a mass of people and for a moment you couldn’t tell who was marching and who was standing still.  My favorite moment was when someone yelled, “We love UUs.  You are so reasonable!”  After we finished marching the Northampton and Amherst UUs sponsored a table at the fairgrounds and we handed out UU literature to interested people.

Sunday, May 5th Rachael Hayes was in the pulpit.  During her story for all ages she asked the children about our Tiffany window The Angel of the Lilies.  I think it might have been the first time some of the children really looked at the window.  Downstairs we made our own stained glass out of tissue and construction paper and some children chose to color in a black and white I made from a photo of our window.  We talked a little about the window and I asked the children about angels.  We didn’t get very far with that discussion so we’ll have to get back to it.

And we voted!!  I asked the children to vote with markers and if they wanted to list why they were voting yes or no for Rachael to become our settled minister they could.  The result was a unanimous yes!  And upstairs it was a YES too – so – welcome Rachael Hayes!  Go to the UUSA Facebook page to see the post and all of the celebratory photos.

 

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Break Out 2019!

For the fourth year in a row we have held an RE Break Out Service around Valentine’s Day.  This year we kept the same theme.

Here is our Order of Service:  Breakout 2019 OOS

The multi-age groups self selected and tackled their tasks with gusto!  And when the half hour was up we came back to sing and show and tell.  Several people asked that we do more services like this one.  If you liked the non-traditional format please let people who weren’t there know what you liked about it.

Rebecca

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

This past Sunday I told the Parable of the Good Samaritan and I UUified a bible lesson I found online.  We talked about how UUs have six sources, one of them being Christianity and I used my Jesus plush doll to introduce Jesus and his teachings.

After I read the story I asked the children a series of questions about what happened in the parable and specifically how we could think about the story using UU language.  “At the UUSA, what term do we often use instead of God?”

LOVE

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What UU Priniciples can we reference when we hear the parable?  There are a couple toimg_6718  chose from!  The children thought of the most obvious and well known, Principle 1.  Then we talked about how we can be good Samaritans for the earth which brought up Principle 7.  We acknowledged that “neighbor” could apply to many more people and living things than those just in our immediate neighborhood.

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  1. 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

For our activity we drew comic strips with stories based on the Good Samaritan and we shared them with each other.

Mindfulness – Flame Gazing

This Sunday morning during the time for all ages Rev. Steve read Bagels From Benny which is a sweet story about a little boy who thinks he is thanking God by giving God bagels, but discovers that he is in fact feeding a homeless man.  Benny’s grandfather helps Benny see that by helping to make the world a kinder place he is in fact thanking God.  Rev. Steve connected the book to the UUSA Wednesday morning breakfast and urged families to come help during the holidays.

After the upstairs portion of the service the children had a mindfulness session with Lesley that was focused on a candle flame.  We are now half way through the year and the children are now much calmer and more focused in their mindfulness practice.  And they are so thoughtful when it comes to describing their experiences!  We gazed at the candle in the light and then with the lights off.

Following the quiet reflection time we talked about how this mindfulness practice connects with our UU Principles and then we just about had enough time to make lumenarie out of shiny red holiday paper.  The paper was hard to hole punch through, but the children persevered and each went home with a small electric candle.

Chalices of Many Kinds

This past Sunday we reviewed the vocabulary we learned during the construction of our shoe box sanctuaries and we talked about the UU chalice.

The worship leaders for Sunday were two amazing special guests Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway who use music and song to present their stories in a program they call – Deeper Than Skin.  During the Story for All Ages Reggie talked about singing This Little Light of Mine from the time he was little to help him deal with waking up in the morning.  We helped him sing it through a couple of times.

Since our upstairs time was longer than usual I skipped reading the book I planned to use, and instead we made our bodies into chalices!

 

From there we drew our own chalices using crayons and water color paint.

 

And with the help of my volunteer, we got everything up on our bulletin board for this colorful presentation.

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Since the upstairs worship went over, I told the children to open the games closet and find something to play together.  While they were busy with that I fired up the popcorn maker for a quick snack.  I can tell you this, in the process of deciding which set of Uno rules to follow, they did a lot of UUing all by themselves!

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