Pride

#8 RE At Home – Pride

Last year on this weekend we had 20+ UUSA people of all ages participate in the Northampton Pride March.  This year, for obvious reasons, the parade was canceled, but the Noho Pride Committee still managed to put together an event on Facebook (which may be up by the time you get this) and provide some links which I thought I would pass on in this RE supplement.  The group’s website is here: http://www.nohopride.org/

One important thing to remember is that our UUSA is a Welcoming Congregation which means that we welcome everyone!    The following information comes from our website:  “Our community is unequivocally dedicated to ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are full members of our faith community.

“Welcome” is a spiritual practice we strive to embody at all times by promoting inclusivity through language and action. We believe in the importance of deepening our understanding of identities that differ from our own. We offer sexuality education for our children and youth that embraces the beauty and reality of difference. Most important, we are dedicated to engaging in justice ministry within our community and in the wider world to ensure the safety and understanding of the wide variety of peoples inherent in our human population.”

Here is a short history video of Pride for children: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=history+of+pride+day+for+kids&docid=608022662773539646&mid=FB3E5E5C800DADE498C1FB3E5E5C800DADE498C1&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

Here’s a short adult article about the Rainbow flag which can be shared with children:https://qz.com/440928/we-needed-something-beautiful-the-fabulous-story-behind-the-rainbow-flag/

Here are a few coloring pages: https://www.interlinkbooks.com/pride-inside/#coloring

Here are a few word searches: https://www.interlinkbooks.com/pride-inside/#searches

 

Social Justice From Home

#7 RE UU At Home – April 27th, 2020

As you all know there are many, many, good causes locally and globally that we can support through financial donations, but in fact, you can give support in many different ways including letter writing and signing petitions.    Thanks to Ashley and Jack we have an social justice activity everyone in the congregation can do to support the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts.

Here are some websites that can give you some background on the Tribe and the latest Federal Decision regarding the Wampanoag Tribe’s land status:

https://mashpeewampanoagtribe-nsn.gov/

https://www.facebook.com/StandwithMashpee-2128189433858526/

https://mashpeewampanoagtribe-nsn.gov/news/2020/3/31/amid-crisis-tribe-files-emergency-injunction-with-dc-court

For adults – take a moment to sign onto MoveOn’s petition : Land is Sacred: Stand With the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/stand-with-the-mashpee

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the very tribe that welcomed the Pilgrims in the 1600s, is at risk of losing what is left of their homelands due to a determination made by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Teach your children how to call their Congress people and government officials. 

Children have a powerful voice! If they resonate with this issue, here are some folks they can contact:

  • Call Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at (202) 224-2551 and urge him to support the forward movement of the two bills.
    • H.R. 312 / S. 2628 — The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act, which effectively reverses the Secretary of the Interior’s termination action.
    • H.R. 375 / S. 2808 — An amendment/update to the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which effectively protects other native nations from similar actions.
  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators (or find your senator here), and urge them to support the above two bills.
  • Call Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt at 202-208-3100 x3 and ask him to stop his efforts to disestablish the Mashpee Wampanoag reservation.

For children – take some time to learn about the Mashpee Wampanoag and draw a picture or write a letter of support.

Look at the websites with an adult.  Think about how the UU Principles guide us to respect all people and to take action.  Writing letters is effective!  Send your letter to your Federal Representatives (look online for their names and addresses) and they will use what you say to guide them in their advocacy work.  Below is the letter Jack sent to his elected officials.

 

Pennies Can Be Magic and Also Very Clean

#6 – UU At Home – Week of April 19th – We Can Do This!

This coming Sunday is Choir Sunday which means the congregation will be singing and playing and listening to music for worship on Zoom.  So, I thought we could sing a little song and do a little dance as we make it through another week of being at home.

The first song that came into my head was “Magic Penny” and I probably should have known this, but I didn’t, it was written and performed by a UU Musician Malvina Reynolds!  We talked about her in our December worship – for those of you with really good memories!

Here’s my challenge of the week:

Listen to the Magic Penny song here, then learn it and come up with a family dance routine!  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=malvina+reynolds+magic+penny&view=detail&mid=5B6C8C430A9BE98C85055B6C8C430A9BE98C8505&FORM=VIRE0&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3dmalvina%2breynolds%2bmagic%2bpenny%26FORM%3dQSRE

For those of you not inclined to do family choreography, here’s a penny activity that is sure to be a big hit – cleaning pennies!!  The link below shows how to use several different ingredients to clean pennies – this could turn into a very fun science experiment.  I remember doing this with my kids and they cleaned every penny I could find in the house and it took them a really long time.  This might be the kind of activity we all could use just about now and I guarantee clean hands, besides clean pennies, will be a final result!!

https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Pennies

And finally, during this difficult time people are in desperate need of assistance and if you can help financially, it will be much appreciated.  Talk with your children about how important it is to manage your money – spend, save and donate.  Decide as a family where you should send your next donation.  There are plenty of ways to donate locally, including to the UUSA Ministerial Discretionary Fund which is money set aside for people who come to Rev. Rachael asking for financial help.

 

Three Pennies for Your Hopes and Dreams

During the Time for All Ages Rev. Rachael spoke to the children about two important African Americans.

Francis Ellen Watkins Harper was a Abolitionist and Universalist who freed slaves through the Underground Railroad, wrote novels and poetry and lectured about slavery and women’s rights.

James Weldon Johnson wrote Lift Every Voice and Sing which was originally sung by school children in Jacksonville, FL in 1900 to celebrate President Lincoln’s birthday.

Downstairs we talked about how the adults in the congregation were kicking off the annual canvass and how keeping the UUSA requires members and friends to give money.  I asked the children to list things they thought we should consider raising money  for and what kinds of things we could do together that would not cost money, but would help bring us together.  I gave them pennies to incorporate into their artwork and we wrapped up by playing pass the penny guessing game.

 

  

 

 

Packing Love and a Whole Lot More

On February 9th we had a whole congregation worship service that was a special “break out” service organized by the UUSA Religious Education Ministry.  The original breakout was designed about five years ago after RE went to a training and learned about the many ways we can worship beyond the traditional Sunday Sanctuary experience.  RE Ministry has been experimenting with different types of services ever since.

In the past RE asked people to choose between music, conversation, art and action and they heard people say, “It is so hard to choose!”  This year RE Ministry set up the breakout groups in a way so that they didn’t have to choose because each group had a little bit of conversation, did a small amount of art, some action and some music.  This system encouraged a good mixing of people.  Many people in the congregation say they  want to get to know each other and this was one small step towards helping people mix and mingle.

Four weeks before the service we began collecting items for a backpack project supported and run by A Project of St John’s Episcopal Church in Ashfield & the Franklin and the County Transition from Jail to Community Task Force (TJC).

Here are some of the highlights of the program that were told to the breakout groups in our congregation:

It’s difficult when women are released, because there are waiting lists for low-income and subsidized housing, and it can be hard to find work.  The women often leave jail with nothing but the clothes on their back.  

The organizers asked women being released from jail for ideas about what would help the most if included in the backpack. The list has developed from their ideas.  35 packs were given out the first year and 45 were given out last year.  

A member of the organizational committee is quoted as saying “The program continues to grow and evolve every day…” “We want to expand, but we need the help of others. This little church (the St. Johns Episcapal Church) with a big heart does a lot, but we can’t do everything. We’ll be doing some outreach to other churches this next year.”

The UUSA collected and packed 16 backpacks and an additional five or six boxes of items that could be used by the group to pack more packs!

Below is a photo of Brenda Miller leading the congregation in singing How Could Anyone.  After we sang together we blessed the packs with backpack charms we had made for our own Back Pack service in the fall.

backpacks

 

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!