RE At Home – Memories and Memorials

#10 RE At Home – Memories and Memorials

Memorial Day is celebrated to honor and remember all of the men and women who died fighting for our country.

  • Memorial Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday in May.
  • The original name for Memorial Day is Decoration Day.  Decoration Day was started on May 5th 1868 by General John A Logan commander of the Grand Army of the Republic to honor union soldiers who died in the Civil War.  Families decorated soldiers’ graves with flowers and ribbons on Decoration Day.
  • Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day on May 11 1950 .
  • Red poppies are often shown and used on Memorial Day.

Unitarian Universalists do not have a set position on war.  UUs seem to acknowledge that some fights are more justified than others.  Here is an article you can read if you would like to talk with your children.  It is from 2003, but it raises some interesting ideas such as can you support troops, but be opposed to the war they are fighting?  Is there such a thing as a justified war?  How many countries have to believe the war is justified before it becomes “right”?  https://www.uuworld.org/articles/uu-war-questions

Think about your own family.  Are there people in your family that have fought in a war?  Is it possible to talk to them?  Ask them what it was like.  Why did they sign up? How do they view their service?  What did they do? Please try not to share your ideas unless they ask.   It is very important to just listen and thank them for sharing.

Do you have a memory you would like to memorialize?  Your memory could be of a person or animal who is no longer in your life or an event or place.  What could you make that would help you remember this person, place or thing?  Look online for different kinds of monuments.  Can you design and build one in your backyard or one small enough to fit on your shelf?  The picture here shows a temporary monument made out of blocks that someone made at the UUSA in RE for the 2016 Memorial Day.

 

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

 

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.

 

Earth Day – From Our Homes

Hi there everyone – hope you are all finding a way to cope with this new way of being together.  Isn’t it strange that we are helping each other by staying away from each other?  I think so.  Earth Day is all about recognizing what we can and need to do to help our Earth stay clean and safe – not just for us, but for every living and not living thing that lives here.

Here is my RE from Home Ideas: #5 RE Earth Day Recyled Art

During service today I am going to be showing part of Kid President’s video in which he says – we can all make a difference.  Enjoy.  Thanks Kid President!

 

It is time to Zoom for the safety of All

Families and Friends,

We are in a time of uncertainty.  We are afraid.  We feel no control.  But we have each other.  The past two Sundays, thanks to Rev. Rachael, Lea our Office Administrator, Brenda our Musician (and myself) we are meeting as a congregation online.  This past Sunday we had four full screens of people logging in to worship!  We will support each other through this terrible time and we will come out stronger.

I am a parent of two daughters in their late teens.  They can drive and entertain themselves for long periods of time.  Even so, there is more to do.  More cooking, cleaning and checking in.  I can only imagine how hard this is for parents of small children!  Please please ask for help and if there is some way I can support you, I WILL!

I do not want to put our Zoom links up in this public space.  Please contact me and I will be happy to share them.  At this point we have several ongoing zoom meet-ups set up:  Thursday nights is parent check in, Sunday worship is at 10:30, Sunday Children’s Joys and Concerns is at 12 noon and Coming of Age is at 9:30 on designated Sunday mornings.

Take care everyone!

Rebecca

Here is the RE at home sheet I made up for this week – the gist of it is – you can make a chalice at home.  Try it!  #1 – UU at Home

Working Together Towards a Safer Congregation

This past Sunday all of the children started upstairs with their parents because part of worship on being a Safer Congregation was having a fire drill.  Rev. Rachael gave us instructions and once the alarm was pulled it took us one and a half minutes to leave the building – A+!!  Lucky for us it was a nice day and good for us, our building is in good shape.  We are all up to date on our inspections and our signage.  This spring we will have a fire drill practice for the children in RE.

We are a Safer Congregation which means we have policies we can turn to when we have safety issues.  You can see the Policy Book here:  http://www.uusocietyamherst.org/safer-congregation/

Thanks everyone for your cooperation,

Rebecca

fire drill

 

 

Mindfulness – Focus on Democracy

eyes-in-various-colors-clipart__k9247522This past Sunday Lesley led us through several mindfulness activities that helped us focus on the moment and each other and she related this to our UU Fifth principle which states that everyone should have the right to use the democratic process in our faith communities and in society at large.  It takes practice to really see each other, and practice we did.

First we played Dance, Dance, Freeze using Bob Marley’s famous Get Up Stand Up reggae song.  We all agreed it was hard to think of other things when trying to pay attention to when the music was going to stop.

Next we got comfortable on the floor and tried to be mindful by listening to a singing bowl chime.  Following that we got really comfortable and listened to our surroundings for 20 seconds.  We practiced this several times and we heard all kinds of noises we hadn’t heard before!

Following the listening we took turns looking into each other eyes and saying, “Hello, I see your eyes are __________(color).  We were all surprised by each other’s eyes because, well, most of us don’t notice eye color on a regular basis.  It took some getting used to looking that carefully and closely into someone’s face.

Last, but not least we played, “Step into the Circle if…”  Some of the questions related to eye color, if we had siblings, etc.

Happy March Everyone!

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