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.
This past Sunday some of the Sanctuary Keepers, their families and I went to the top of Mt. Orient in Pelham. When we got to the good view a few kids realized that we were not at the top and I even though I told them the top did not really feel like a top, I agreed to take them while the others settled in for lunch. Another 100 feet on the two explorers agreed that the top was “just trees” and we could go back.
Sometimes when you get to the top of something you realize that the “best” spot or moment was actually found on the way up…
Have a wonderful summer everyone!
This past Sunday we had our annual youth worship and the UUSA youth stepped up and did a great job. Our theme was “letters” of all kinds. During the time when we typically asked people to meditate/pray/contemplate we gave out stationary and asked people to begin a letter they’ve been meaning to write. We got a lot of compliments and the youth should be very proud of the letters they wrote to share with the congregation. The letter two youth wrote to Jacy, our Preschool teacher, was a big lovely surprise and serves as an example of how a letter can make someone feel loved and appreciated. Our Dedicated Offering went to DIAL/SELF which is an organization in our area that serves homeless youth. I am happy to say we raised almost $1000 dollars for their new building project.
On Sunday, December 16th we had a parent led Christmas Pageant during our regular worship time. The Pageant was complete with angels, sheep, baby doll Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the three Wise Men. The Christmas story was narrated by Rev. Steve and myself and the young actors were shepherded through the play by middle and high school youth.
Thank you to Ashley for making it happen, thank you to all who sewed the costumes a few years ago (they held up really well!) and to Brenda and Rev. Steve for going with the flow.
I wish you all a very happy holiday season and… Happy New Year!
This past Sunday we had our traditional Flower Communion and we also wished our three seniors well as they move from high school on to college in a ceremony called Bridging. The Flower Communion involves members of the congregation bringing in flowers for collective vases and then at the end of the service the flowers are redistributed so that every person walks away with a different bloom. The children did a wonderful job parading the vases in and distributing the blossoms out to the full room.
At the UUSA Bridging involves rubber gloves, roses with thorns (can you see where this is going?), a book that we (and the parents) think the youth would like and a quick update from the youth on where they are going next.
At this service we also said goodbye to our Interim Minister, Cindy Frado. We wish her well.
This summer we will be offering childcare on most of the Sundays except when Pancake Breakfasts are scheduled. This coming Sunday the UUSA will be closed. Please check the website for updates.
Have a wonderful summer everyone!
Good luck seniors!
This past Sunday we took time in our service to thank all of the adults who have volunteered with our Religious Education. For those who helped out downstairs once or twice (or four or five times) we gave candles. Fort those who helped facilitate OWL and Neighboring Faiths and served on the RE Ministry we gave potted flowers. Please see below for excerpts of my email to the volunteers.
Downstairs parent volunteers led a (not so) secret thank you project going on in the Preschool and Elementary rooms for me – thank you for MY thank you posters everyone! And in Classroom A with the Kate’s help we met with three youth to talk about next year. Thank you to the youth for helping me paint the senior chalice gifts and for giving us lots of good ideas for next year.
Thank you everyone,
This is what I wrote in my email to all of our volunteers:
I am writing to thank you for helping the UUSA RE Program. The program was successful because of the time and the effort you put into volunteering and as the DRE, I can tell you that your dedication is essential to the children and youths’ spiritual development as well as their connection to the UUSA congregation…This Sunday I am hoping you can attend the Sunday Service because there will be a short ceremony to recognize both the people who volunteered downstairs during Sunday mornings and those of you who have helped to facilitate OWL, Neighboring Faiths and Youth Group… Again, I am so appreciative of your time and support and I hope that you will help me and the RE Ministry recruit others to become part of our RE programming. The more people we bring “downstairs,” the more the children will feel part of upstairs and the more adults will realize that RE is integral to who we are as a congregation.
This past Sunday our Neighboring Faiths group pulled off a thoughtful service that filled the congregation with a sense of purpose, pride, love and appreciation. Thank you to all of the youth for their dedication throughout the year and to the facilitators for helping to make the program happen. I hope that the RE elementary children could picture themselves up in the pulpit in a few short years and that the high school youth could think back on their time in the program and realize how much they have changed since they participated in the program. I hope all the adults in the room realized that one of our missions is to help our children develop their faith and feel a sense of belonging in our congregation.
5-20-18 NF Order of Service.docx
This past Sunday the youth did a great job pulling together a worthy worship on the topic of Change! Because of time constraints I set up the worship and then assigned different parts to each youth who could make it. During the reflection time they each read a short piece on their thoughts on change. The thoughts, no surprise, were varied and insightful. Our elementary RE children did a great job sitting through the service too!
(Order of Service drawing by Rosie)
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, sadness 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!
Following 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!
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 Principles. 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.
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!