September Religious Education Open House

20180701_105546Hey folks, wait till you see the new program space, wow!
Here’s some info forthe next two open house weeks at church. If you can all step in to help at least once this month, that would be really huge, as facilitator teams are still being filled/ teacher training is still in the works– Even if you can’t commit to a volunteer team this year, try to think of September as a chance to see what’s in the works by signing up for a shift! There are specific details about each offering below as well. See you soon!

We Return to 2 services September 16th!!! 9am or 11am. If you come at 10, we can hang out till church starts at 11!

September RE Open House: (click on any of the links below to sign up to help)

Nursery: will be open for babies from 6months-age 4. The Nursery is staffed each week, but if you are interested in volunteering once or twice a month, please reach out!

Spirit Play: A Montessori-based program for preK and Kinder students. A Parent/ or caretaker shouldbe planning to come to class with your child during worship on one of the next 2 Sundays (Sept. 16 or Sept 23) for the parent/child orientation. Simply head downstairs with your child after the story for all ages. It is a sweet way to start the year and to share with you how the classroom format works. No need to sign up as an attendant, but if you’d like to help facilitate the program, here’s the volunteer link:

1st-5th grade theme workshops: Students will explore the Open House work stations during service  on the next 2 Sundays (Sept. 16 or Sept 23) and Parents should plan to join us during social hour so your child can guide you through the family open house info which will reinforce what they’ve explored in the workshop offerings!  We still need help during worship for the workshop program, so please sign up!

6th-7th grade Service Learning Year: the program will begin on September 30th, but the theme workshops are designed to include this age group- they are welcome downstairs on the 16th and the 23rd!

8th grade Coming of Age–  Family orientation (youth and parent) is scheduled on September 21st. Please contact me if you have not gotten information on this!

Senior Youth Orientation and overnight: Saturday, September 22nd. Please reach out if you have not received information on this!

2018-19 Year Long Calendar– It’s online, click to see the plan for the WHOLE program, for the WHOLE year…. (it’s impressive!)

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September ’18 nUUs from Religious Education

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SO CLOSE! We are almost ready to move back downstairs at church!

Greetings Everyone!!

This is such a full moment for all of us- back to school rituals, new sleep schedules, college kids heading off. Some of us are finding odd moments of quiet for the first time in a while, and most of us are feeling like there is too much to do and not enough time to do it! So much of this stuff is wonderful, so don’t forget to see the magic in it all. We are growing and learning and moving forward in our lives together. I can’t wait to see you all and hear about the new adventures.

As for church, we’ve been pretty busy, too. The entire downstairs of our sanctuary has been under renovation this summer and ITS ALMOST READY TO MOVE BACK IN!!!! We should be able to use real bathrooms at the water in-gathering on September 9th!! Cat Lyons and I are really excited for how this year is looking, and we can’t wait to get you all involved and see your kids! I really need you all to sign up on a volunteer team, which you can do through the online registration process. I will provide training and support, and you get to deepen your own faith while building connections with some of the children or youth in our community.. it’s a win win!

In this post:

  • It’s time to REGISTER for the 2018-19 church year!
  • Sundays this month:
    • September 2: Last day of our summer balcony program- one service at 10am (scroll down for more info)
    • September 9:  Water In-Gathering worship- last single service- 10am
    • September 16: Return to two services and RE Welcome days in our NEW SPACE! (Two services at 9 and 11 until memorial day…)
    • September 21st Coming of Age Orientation
    • September 22nd- Senior Youth Orientation and overnight
    • September 23: R.E Welcome workshops, Bring your weight in Food Drive, and Immigration worship led by Senior youth and advisors
  • Descriptions of each of our RE programs
  • Family resources for September’s theme: A people of Welcome

More Details on the list above:

Water In-Gathering- worship for all ages (at 10am on September 9th) This annual service includes an opportunity for each of us to bring and share a small amount of water from somewhere meaningful, whether it’s your kitchen sink, or the lake you spend your summers. Join us for this beautiful start to a new year!

R.E on September 16 and 23rd:  Will be ‘open house’ days, serving to help children, parents, and classroom volunteers get a feel for our elementary and Middle school classrooms and the upcoming year in a fun and relaxed way! Check back here in a week or so (and keep an eye on your inbox) as I will be posting more details as we flush them out.

Sept 21st: 8th Grade Coming of Age Orientation- This is for ALL 8th grade students and their parents- even if you are not sure you can participate in the program this year. The gathering is a workshop, overview, and (if you chose to commit) an opening ceremony. Reach out if you have not received a more detailed invitation!

September 22nd: Senior Youth orientation and overnight (parents too, at 6pm!) We will begin the evening with an orientation for families which will include an overview of the year, a bit of paperwork, and an opportunity for Q & A. The orientation should take about an hour and the youth will remain for an overnight. Please email for more information if you have any questions! a few details:

  • We will have a Saturday evening of getting to know our new group and then those who wish will sleep at the church and we will lead the Bring Your Weight in Food Drive on Sunday morning at church.  It is our first big gathering and social justice event and a good time for everyone.

  • Sept 30th 4-5:30pm is the first regular youth group meeting of the year.  We will meet at 73 Court st. and start getting into our regular rhythm and planning out the year ahead!

September 23rd: Is a busy day! RE Welcome Workshops will continue, and worship will be a reflection on the Border journey our high school youth took last June AND its the annual food drive day, too!…

Bring-Your-Weight-in-Food Drive benefiting Gather; the Seacoast Food Pantry. Our community’s generosity at this strategic time of year makes a big difference in the community. Early donations may be dropped off at the 73 Court street office, during office hours the week prior to Food Drive Sunday. (Tues-Friday, 9-2)

Wondering where you might like to volunteer this year? or looking for more info about the program year for your child?  Here is the 2018-19 Religious Education Program overview (click the program name to read more!)

Family resources for September: ‘We are a community of vision’– one of the wonderful things about theme based church is that there are multiple opportunities for parents and children to explore a specific idea throughout each month. This means there are also lots of opportunities for ideas and inspirations we come across on Sundays at South Church to find their way into our lives throughout the week.

This month, as we explore the theme, think about ways you might take those conversations home to your dinner tables, night time rituals, car drives, and morning routines.  Here’s a small framework to whet your palate, let me know if you have any great family moments!

[From Soul Matters RE Packet:] Playing off our monthly theme question of “What does it mean to be a people of Vision?”, we invite parents to ask “What does it mean to be a parent of Vision” or “What does it mean to be a family of Vision?”

As you use these resources to engage these questions, keep in mind some additional ways to use them with other parents or your church community:  

  • Read it and reflect with those in your family.
  • Share and discuss them with other parents or another family.
  • Use them in a Parent Circle that meets on Sunday afternoon or mid-week.
  • Use them at a Wonderful Wednesday night that includes dinner, spiritual practice and activities on the theme, including times together as families, and separate as kids and adults. Be sure to gather at the end for a goodnight hug and lullaby!

Video:

Resources for Visioning

Book

“In John Hunter’s classroom, students fearlessly tackle global problems and discover surprising solutions by playing his groundbreaking World Peace Game. These kids—from high school all the way down to fourth grade, in schools both well-funded and under resourced—take on the roles of politicians, tribal leaders, diplomats, bankers, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve dozens of complex, seemingly intractable real-world challenges, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare, financial collapse to climate change. In World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements, Hunter shares the wisdom he’s gleaned from over thirty years teaching the World Peace Game.” – Amazon

Articles:

Movies for families about vision

  • World Peace Game “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements is a one-hour documentary on John Hunter, a fourth-grade teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia and his students as they participate in Hunter’s remarkable educational exercise the World Peace Game. The film has played in festivals around the world, has been broadcast in several countries and was aired to over 85% of the US on public television between 2012-2014. It also supports Hunter’s World Peace Game Foundation work, and has had special screenings at the Pentagon, the United Nations, the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festivals, and several universities, educational conferences and schools throughout the world.” – Vimeo
  • Field of Dreams (PG) Baseball film starring Kevin Costner. “Families can talk about dreams. How do you know when to follow a vision that seems crazy or foolish? What thoughts go into weighing the risks of certain choices? Is there a way to know for sure whether an idea is a good one?” – Common Sense Media review
  • Dream Big; Engineering Our World -“Parents need to know that Dream Big: Engineering Our World is a 42-minute STEM-themed IMAX documentary about how engineers are responsible for important technological innovations that propel us into the future. The film highlights working engineers from different backgrounds, most of them women. They work on a variety of projects, from building earthquake-proof structures to foot bridges in developing countries. Viewers will also meet a young engineer whose love of STEM began in an after-school robotics club. The documentary — which is narrated by Jeff Bridges and was produced in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers and presented by the Bechtel Corporation — encourages young viewers to be curious, see how pivotal engineering is to the future, and understand why the world needs more engineers.”  – Common Sense Media

Explore! Enjoy! Share what you learn!!  ~See you soon!

Our monthly church-wide themes this year:
A community of…

September: Vision
October: Sanctuary
November: Memory
December: Mystery
January: Possibility
February: Trust
March: Journey
April: Wholeness
May: Curiosity

Getting ready for a New Church Year!

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Parish hall…. making progress!

Below, you will find links to each of the RE programs that will be offered in the coming church year. Please click through and read about each of the programs, particularly those in which you have a child participating, or with which you are considering volunteering, and then take a minute to read the welcome message that follows. Finally, parents, please follow the link to register your family for the 2018-19 church year.  

2018-19 Religious Education Program overview (click the program name to read more!)

Hey Folks!  It is August, and the RE program for our NEWLY RENOVATED SPACE is taking shape. All we need now, is volunteers and a bunch of kids to fill up our clean new classrooms with love and curiosity! I am excited to be able to engage with all of you over the coming weeks to collaborate on how we want to live into this new chapter of our congregation. I really need your help, your vision, and yes, your time– but the rewards for that investment are huge. We have the ability to make real change in the world from right here on the seacoast through the time and energy we are giving to the children and youth in our congregation, and with the ways that the vision of our whole faith community radiates out into the larger community and the world. What an empowering truth!I am from I am for

During worship this past Sunday, Reverend Chris shared an invitation to each of us to reflect on two questions:

  • Where are you from?
  • What are you for?

The reflection can become a really beautiful autobiographical poem, and I think it’s a perfect place to start as we prepare to bring our whole-self in to a new year at South Church. Please consider sharing what you create by bringing it to church in September!

♥ Kirsten

Parents: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for the 2018-19 Church Year

Summer nUUs from Religious Education

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8th grade Coming of Age youth, parents, facilitators, and mentors.

Happy Summer Everyone!!!

Well, as we launch into these warmer sunny months, the construction crews are breaking ground in the basement at church. In just a few short months, we are going to be moving back into a newly renovated program space! I want to thank all of you for your flexibility as we have shifted to the balcony program. The transition has been challenging in some ways, but the children have made the shift with such grace and enthusiasm- – It has been inspiring! If you have not yet signed up to volunteer, I encourage you to do so, as it is illuminating. Either way, please read through the summer program outline below so you understand the basics of how it works.

In this post… 

  • South Church Retreat on Star Island
  • RE Summer Program Outline for Parents and RE Volunteers

South Church Retreat on Star Island- Deadline June 30th! Make time for deepening and connecting on beautiful Star Island during the annual South Church Star Island Retreat. 4 days of rest, restoration and reflection starting on Saturday, July 28. Revs Chris and Lauren will facilitate and Cat Lyons, our RE Program Assistant, will be overseeing children’s activities every morning- parents will tag team volunteer duties to help make it happen so everyone can enjoy time relaxing kid free, and also keep our young ones safe and engaged! More information is available at http://starisland.org/program/southchurch/ or by contacting Janis Wolak at janis.wolak@gmail.com Family program questions can be directed to Cat Lyons at Cat@southchurch-uu.org

RE Summer Program Outline- The plan for Religious education for the next few months is all about exploring the gifts of worshiping together as a whole church, while also working together to problem solve some of the challenges that will surely arise.

Logistics: We have created a resource area in the open landing outside the balcony in the sanctuary, where families can come and chose materials that will help their child engage with the topic of the worship.

On Sunday Mornings: families have two options for how they use the balcony space:

  1. Families are welcome to arrive a few minutes before the start of church and go together to the balcony area to choose materials they would like to bring with them down to the sanctuary while they sit together with parents. (the balcony is not supervised during this time, so parents should remain with their children.)
  2. Alternately, children may begin worship with parents in pews as they typically have, listening to the story for all ages, and then join the other children and RE volunteers as they are sung out to the balcony program. During the balcony  where they will then select materials and choose to:
    • Sit in the balcony pews to listen to worship (with or without quiet activities/materials they have chosen). A balcony volunteer will be there to help children follow along with hymns, to remind them to be extra quiet during prayer and meditation, and to make sure they are not leaning on/using the front ledge.
    • Or, for children who do not want to be in worship space, the balcony landing will also offer space to sit and explore, create art, make poems, do some yoga stretches, or set up a pillow in our library area and read a book. Volunteers helping in this area will be able to guide children in finding an activity that interests them, help to remind children to put away materials they are done using, and keeping everyone safe and somewhat quiet.

Resources in the balcony space will change over the course of the experiment, reflecting the worship themes, and keeping fresh options for returning children so that engagement remains high. Throughout the summer, children will have worship journals, specifically theirs, into which they can glue activity pages, respond to provided prompts, reflect on worship experiences, draw, etc.

If you have ideas for a worship activity, we’d love to hear about it! Children are absolutely encouraged to bring something from home if they think it will help them feel engaged as they take in the experience of Sunday worship.

Upcoming Themes (2018-2019 Church Year):

What Does It Mean to be a People of…
September:  Vision
October:  Sanctuary
November:  Memory
December:  Mystery
January:  Possibility
February:  Trust
March:  Journey
April:  Wholeness
May:  Curiosity
June:  Beauty

May nUUs from Religious Education

A community of Creativity

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Hi again!

If you are wondering about upcoming construction at South Church, and how our programming for children and youth will be impacted, click HERE.

In this post… 

  • Family resources for this month’s theme of Creativity: scroll to the last part of this newsletter, enjoy, share what your family discovers together!
  • Facility update for Parents and RE Volunteers-  Sunday, May 6 from 10-11. (congregational meeting with even more info, 12:30-2pm)
  • Sparks and Flames final gathering..(5th-6th and 7th-8th grade social groups)  Friday, May 4th, at 7-9pm
  • Final Families Tuugether – May 12th- A fun night for kids and some inspired free time for parents!
  • Mother’s Day Flower Sale! Sunday, May 13th. Hanging baskets (beautiful gifts!) from Wentworth gardens to benefit the Senior Youth Immigration Justice trip.
  • Save the dates: 
    • June 3rd: is our annual Bridging service. All of our children and youth participate in this special worship, and we also take some time to celebrate our graduating high school seniors. You don’t want to miss it!
    • June 10th: Coming of Age worship. Our 8th grade Coming of Age students will be sharing their faith statements, created from this year long exploratory program. It is at once an inspiring and deeply meaningful worship, illuminating the complexity of faith formation in our UU community.
  • Religious Education this month- 
    • Children’s Chapel will be offered for children age 4 years through 5th grade this Sunday, May 6th.
    • 6th-7th grade Religious Exploration class is visiting the Greek Orthodox church this week. RSVP if your child plans to attend the field trip!
    • Beginning May 13th, all children and youth are invited to engage with our new Summer format- Read all about it here.
    • Sign up here  -to help with the outer balcony, or to help supervise worship in the balcony at 9 or 11am beginning May 13th.

Read More… 

Facility update- a meeting for Parents and RE Volunteers-  Sunday, May 6 from 10-11. This informational meeting is taking the place of our scheduled theme talk. I will be sharing details about the upcoming changes to our facility, and laying out our program plan. A great place to ask questions, share concerns, and offer ideas! There is a congregational meeting from 12:30-2pm which will be led by our Board of Trustees, as well, with lots more details about the overall facility improvement plan, but not as much on the topic of Religious Education specifically.

Sparks and Flames final gathering ( 5th-6th and 7th-8th grade social groups)  Friday, May 4th, at 7-9pm. End of year celebration with a few rounds of everyone’s favorite game! Bring a water bottle, a favorite snack, and wear sneakers. Please RSVP so I know you’re child is coming! Still need one more parent volunteer as well!

Families Tuugether – May 12th- 4:30-8pm  Open to children 8 months through Sixth grade, Families Tuugether is a popular program for families of young kids; an opportunity for parents to reconnect and to recharge. Offered monthly during the church year, children are dropped off at South Church at 4:30pm with a potluck dish to share (Ready to serve, please.), and parents head up to the sanctuary for a short group gathering before heading out to enjoy some quite time. Children will strengthen friendships, enjoy a movie, and play fun games. Parents return to get their child no later than 8pmPlease note: Families MUST RSVP (kirsten@southchurch-uu.org)  if they plan to come to this event, so that we are able to meet the staffing needs. Program is be closed after 25 children register, to ensure we have a safe and fun event.

Family resources for the month of May: ‘We are a community of creativity’  

One of the wonderful things about theme based church is that there are multiple opportunities for parents and children to explore a specific idea throughout each month. [From Soul Matters RE Packet:] These resources support parents as they try to live out and engage our themes with their children. We can ask “What does it mean to be a parent of Balance” or “What does it mean to be a family of Balance?” As you use these resources to engage these questions, keep in mind some additional ways to use them with other parents or your church community:  [Pssss…. The secret word to enter the book giveaway this month is: teamwork!- mention it to Kirsten to have your family entered to win!]  

  • Reflect with those in your family.
  • Share and discuss them with other parents or another family.
  • Use them in a Parent Circle that meets on Sunday afternoon or mid-week.
Create an Exhibit on Family Diversity:

Family Diversity Projects has created seven award-winning traveling photo-text exhibits that tour communities nationwide and internationally.  YOU CAN BRING one or more of the easy-to-display exhibitions to your community venue: school (K-12), college, house of worship, library, workplace, corporate headquarters, conference, etc.

Resources for staying creative in UU about racism

https://medium.com/embrace-race/using-splcs-10-ways-to-fight-hate-in-the-classroom-18bc23e8202   “My co-teacher and I are moving from 5th grade to 3rd grade, and although our students will be younger and even more literal in their thinking and understanding, we will continue to talk about current events. We don’t have a choice. This work is too important to stop because it is scary, uncomfortable, or difficult.”

Book for Parents:
  • Bored and Brilliant, by Manoush Zomorodi (Author) “In 2015 Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s popular podcast and radio show Note to Self, led tens of thousands of listeners through an experiment to help them unplug from their devices, get bored, jump-start their creativity, and change their lives. Bored and Brilliant builds on that experiment to show us how to rethink our gadget use to live better and smarter in this new digital ecosystem. Manoush explains the connection between boredom and original thinking, exploring how we can harness boredom’s hidden benefits to become our most productive and creative selves without totally abandoning our gadgets in the process.” – Amazon
Articles
  • 10 Ways to Teach Your Kids to be Problem Solvers “Kids of all ages learn most in the context of play. Make sure their play involves enough challenge and requires imagination…” – from the article.
  • The Vital Obstacles in the Creative Process, by Parker Palmer “Artistry” is not confined to folks who create verbal, visual, or musical forms of beauty. I know people who are artists at parenting, friendship, gardening, manual labor, teaching, leadership, problem-solving, care-giving, peace-making, or just plain living!” – Palmer
  • Celebrating All Who Mother (for Mother’s Day), UU World article by Michelle Richards
  • Divine Questions (about God), UU World Article by Michelle Richards
  • Remembering Liberation on Memorial Day The very first Memorial Day, the story goes, was originated by newly freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, who gathered May 5, 1865, to express their gratitude to the Union soldiers who had perished in an open-air Confederate prison.
  • How Adults Can Encourage Kids to Be Original Thinkers The author, Adam Grant “writes about the importance of getting kids to take risks, to embrace their own curiosity and to be confident in where their minds wander. So how can adults create spaces and cultures of originality to breed these new ideas?”
  • The Arts and Creative Problem Solving  “Engagement in the arts offers a wonderful starting point for parents who want to develop and exercise their children’s creative problem-solving skills. It might seem counterintuitive to think of the arts as a place for critical thinking and problem solving, as we typically associate softer qualities such as appreciation of beauty, encouragement of personal expression, and nurturing talent with artistic pursuits.”
Movies for families about Creativity
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs  “Based loosely on the popular children’s book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this animated adventure takes the book’s story about a town where weather provides fully cooked meals and turns it into a 3-D fantasy about Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), a young inventor who creates a device that transforms water into food.” – Common Sense Media
  • Mary Poppins– is one creative problem solver!
  • Hugo (PG)  Best for 8+. “In this 1930s-set adaptation of Brian Selznick’s Caldecott-winning novel, 12-year-old HUGO (Asa Butterfield) is an orphan who lives in a Paris train station. His prized possession is an automaton (mechanical man) that his late father rescued from museum archives before his death. Hugo steals from the various shops at the train station to get by, but when he attempts to swipe a wind-up mouse from eccentric toy seller Georges (Ben Kingsley), he embarks on an adventure that leads him to uncover exactly what the automaton is and why it’s important.” – Common Sense Media
Fun Cell phone Apps!
  • Mac, Izzy and Friends  “Parents need to know that Mac, Izzy & Friends is a collection of activities designed to encourage creative exploration and expression. Kids can explore videos, stories, and drawing tools; they can also manipulate audio recordings and visuals, create and put together puzzles, and more. Once kids get the hang of how to navigate the app, they can play on their own, but this is also a really great app for parents and kids to play together, on- and off-screen. Free.” – Common Sense Media review
  •  Toontastic 3D “Toontastic 3D has all the fun features of the original, but the developer has partnered with Google, and this updated version has new scenes and 3D characters. Kids choose a scene and characters — or design their own — and are then given some basic guidance on constructing their own animated stories.” – Common Sense Media review
Videos

Upcoming Themes (2018-2019 Church Year):

What Does It Mean to be a People of…
September:  Vision
October:  Sanctuary
November:  Memory
December:  Mystery
January:  Possibility
February:  Trust
March:  Journey
April:  Wholeness
May:  Curiosity
June:  Beauty

Special Update from Religious Education

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OK Folks, the neck of the funnel is here!

For quite some time now, I’ve been talking about preparing for the trickiest part of our facility improvements, a period of time when the space available to our congregation for programming is most scarce. That moment is upon us, it seems. It’s a bit sooner than expected, but as the news of the new schedule for construction has settled in for me, I grow increasingly excited, not just for getting it done (that is really fun to think about!), but also for the opportunity it will afford us for the next few months as we all slide over to make room for everyone in the space we still have.

I have no doubt that some of you are going to hear this news and consider skipping church for the next few months. I hope you don’t! Hop aboard for a congregational experiment that will help us move out into our new space with new ideas of who we want to be as a whole community! 

What’s happening?

I will return to this post and update details if they change. They have changed A LOT in the past two weeks… and I think it’s helpful for you to be able to find current info, so consider this a place to keep up with goings on! (If you have questions that aren’t addressed, feel free to reach out!)

[As of Tuesday, May 20th, 2018]- 

  • Construction will begin here at church in the downstairs on JUNE 11th (an adjustment that will allow us to first welcome the Con Tutti Concert on June 2nd before closing off the downstairs.)
  • Religious Education programming is now living into our summer balcony plan, which you can read more about below.
  • Between now and June 11th, we will continue to have the nursery open downstairs for families of children up to age 4.
  • Beginning June 11th, the nursery will be moving to Joanne Connolly’s office which is located just through the door near the choir alcove in the sanctuary (the landing of the back staircase)
  • Beginning June 11th, there will be no access to bathrooms in the building until the project is completed. There will be portable toilets located outside the church in the side garden closest to the State St fire. (Our original plan was to have portable trucks- the more civilized option- but the vendors do not have a unit they can spare for the whole summer, so unfortunately, we are going rustic except for a few special event weekends.
  • Construction is expected to be completed by September 1st (or sooner!)
  • (Scroll to the bottom of this post for some additional background on the capital campaign stuff)

What will Religious Education programming look like?  

Start here: I suspect if you have spent much time here at South Church, you’ve noticed that we try to help children and youth feel welcomed and engaged when they are in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings. That is not a new idea, it is a core value of our congregation, and of our religious leaders. Children begin every Sunday in worship at South church, and throughout the year we intentionally program multi-generational services designed for our children to remain in the service for the whole worship. We have activity packs available for children to help keep their hands busy while they take in the sights and sounds of our community in worship together, and during multi-generational services, you might notice a variety of other adjustments: Interactive music (sung in rounds, or incorporating movement), a multi-part story for all ages that offers extra opportunities for children to move, and draws them back into the days lesson in a way that appeals to a range of learning styles. Over the past two years, we have increased the number of times that children and youth have the opportunity to help tell stories, share reflections, play or sing music, and otherwise be a part of creating our worship. All of these strategies help children feel like they belong in our worship space, and there is a lot of evidence to suggest that feeling of belonging is important if we want them to grow up and continue to engage in Unitarian Universalist congregations as adults.

The plan: for Religious education for the next few months is all about exploring the ideas in the paragraph I just shared above. At the end of construction, my hope is that we will have learned a little more about the gifts of worshiping together as a whole church, and that we also will have worked together to problem solve some of the challenges.

Logistics: We will be creating a resource area in the open landing outside the balcony, where families can come and chose materials that will help their child engage with the topic of the worship. Children may choose to bring those materials down to the sanctuary to sit together with parents, or they may choose to come sit in the balcony with other children, parents, and RE volunteers and engage with materials in that space. The resources available will change over the course of the experiment, reflecting the worship themes, and keeping fresh options for returning children so that engagement remains high.

For children who do not want to be in worship space, the balcony landing will also offer space to sit and explore, create art, make poems, do some yoga stretches, or read a book.

Essentially, it’s taking pew packs to the next level!

In September: we will have a whole new program space to move back to, and I think this experiment will inspire lots of ideas about what we want our new page to say!

Orientation For Parents and RE volunteers:  Was held on Sunday, May 6th, between services (10-11am), an informative place to ask questions, raise concerns, and share ideas!  It was followed by a congregational meeting which provided LOTS more details about our whole church. If you would like copies of the materials provided during either of these gatherings, reach out to a staff member!

Orientation for Kids: [now ongoing by balcony volunteers] During the whole class orientations in early may we asked children to share what they like about being in worship in the sanctuary, and what they don’t like so much. I will share that here, just to help underscore how cool I think the next few months will be! Our children are really intuitive, and finding new ways to help them join us in community on Sundays will be a gift to all of us. I need help to do it, but I think it’s gonna be fun!

Kids say about worship...

I will be posting descriptions of volunteer roles, sign up links, and other resources soon. I am always happy to hear thoughts, questions, and especially- Ideas!!

Sending love to all of you!


 

Some other details on the current construction project (for those who feel out of the loop):

  • Our original capital improvement plan to renovate Karnan house (our former building across the street that provided a significant portion of our church programming space) did not go as expected, and the decision was made some time last fall to sell Karnan and re-envision our plan- in large part because the building at #73 Court St became available, offering a different set of opportunities for our community.
  • The decision was made to purchase the building at #73 Court St early this year
  • Karnan House was sold this winter.
  • Originally, our plan was to renovate #73 Court, making it accessible as a second event space, and creating offices and meeting space on the first floor. Then, after that project, the plan was to move the staff down to #73 and begin renovations here at 292 State, transforming what is now office space into three additional program spaces, as well as to beautify/update the social hall, create storage for chairs, and adjust the restroom facilities.
  • Due to a variety of complications, which the board will lay out this coming Sunday at the congregational meeting, the renovations at #73 Court need to be put on hold for the moment. However, details are basically all in place to allow us to begin renovations here at the church, so we’re getting ready to do just that!
  • Staff offices will be moving down to #73 Court, to set up in the building ‘as is’ (We just can’t use that building as an event space until the second floor is reinforced).

 

 

April nUUs from Religious Education

A community of Emergence

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Senior Youth (packed into Kirsten’s living room) for immigration justice movie/discussion as they prepare to travel west to learn more about the border crisis this June.

Hello all,

I am delighted to share with you the outcome of our shared plate collection in Children’s Chapel this past Sunday! As you know, our whole congregation has recently navigated the process of nominating and then voting on which organizations will be the recipients of our shared plate collection for the coming year. We extend that process to our children by letting them choose one of the 10 chosen organizations.  I’ve counted the ballots, and the kids chose Footprints Food Pantry! Stay tuned to hear what our year’s worth of children’s chapel collections yields, as well as a plan for a kid service project to further help the great work at FFP!

In this post…

  • Family resources for this month’s theme of Emergence: scroll to the last part of this newsletter, enjoy, share what your family discovers together!
  • Families Tuugether – April 14th- A fun night for kids and some inspired free time for parents! Scroll to ‘read more’ below.
  • Sparks and Flames final gathering..( 5th-6th and 7th-8th grade social groups)  Friday, May 4th, at 7pm- End of year celebration with a few rounds of everyone’s favorite game! Scroll to ‘read more’ below.
  • May theme talk  Scroll to ‘read more’ below.
    • Online: wear your pj’s and join from home on your computer! SIGN UP
    • In-Person: Sunday, May 6th b/w srvcs (10:15-10:55). Child care in nursery! SIGN UP
  • Sunday RE happenings: 
    • April 15: Spirit Play at 9am, Theme workshops at 9 and 11 explore emergence of ideas, Coming of Age meets at DPC @ 11am, 6th-7th grade meet at 11 in the Spirit Play room. OWL 7 will Meet at 4pm in the main office, Senior youth meet off-site (see your email for details!)
    • April 22nd: Emergence and the Earth- holiday week all ages workshop hosted by the green sanctuary team! No COA, OWL, or Senior youth this week.
    • April 29th: Spirit Play at 9am, Theme workshop at 9 and 11 explore emergence of awareness, Coming of Age meets at DPC @ 11am, 6th-7th grade meet at 11 in the Spirit Play room. OWL 7 will Meet at 4pm in the main office, Senior youth meet at 4pm in the ladies parlour.
    • May 6th: Children’s Chapel– introduces the theme of Creativity!

[“Normal RE program day”: Both services include Spirit Play and Theme workshops for grades 1-5. 11am worship also included: 6-7th grade religious exploration and Coming of Age for 8th grade. OWL for 7th grade and Senior Youth meet on Sunday evenings at 4-5:30 pm.]

Read More… 

Families Tuugether – April 14th- 4:30-8pm  Open to children 8 months through Sixth grade, Families Tuugether is a popular program for families of young kids; an opportunity for parents to reconnect and to recharge. Offered monthly during the church year, children are dropped off at South Church at 4:30pm with a potluck dish to share (Ready to serve, please.), and parents head up to the sanctuary for a short group gathering before heading out to enjoy some quite time. Children will strengthen friendships, enjoy a movie, and play fun games. Parents return to get their child no later than 8pmPlease note: Families MUST RSVP (kirsten@southchurch-uu.org)  if they plan to come to this event, so that we are able to meet the staffing needs. Program is be closed after 25 children register, to ensure we have a safe and fun event.

Sparks and Flames final gathering ( 5th-6th and 7th-8th grade social groups)  Friday, May 4th, at 7-9pm. End of year celebration with a few rounds of everyone’s favorite game! Bring a water bottle, a favorite snack, and wear sneakers. Please RSVP so I know you’re child is coming!

May theme talks:

ONLINE – Wednesday, April 18th, 8pm in your living room! This gathering is part deepening, and part an opportunity to learn about how our evolving RE program is designed to better equip parents and our larger congregation to engage with our children and youth. Come if you’re curious, come if you are able to volunteer in May, come if you’re a parent who wants to know more about how to engage with your kids about our shared church community! Click Here to Sign up.

In Person – Sunday, May 6th between services from 10:15-10:55. This gathering is always a sweet opportunity to share a little, make some new connections, and brainstorm some ideas about how our whole community might explore creativity as the month of May unfolds. Childcare is available in the nursery! Join us!!

Family resources for the month of April: ‘We are a community of emergence’ 

[Pssss…. The secret word to enter the book giveaway this month is: tulips!- mention it to Kirsten to have your family entered to win!]  

One of the wonderful things about theme based church is that there are multiple opportunities for parents and children to explore a specific idea throughout each month. [From Soul Matters RE Packet:] These resources support parents as they try to live out and engage our themes with their children. We can ask “What does it mean to be a parent of Balance” or “What does it mean to be a family of Balance?” As you use these resources to engage these questions, keep in mind some additional ways to use them with other parents or your church community:  

  • Reflect with those in your family.
  • Share and discuss them with other parents or another family.
  • Use them in a Parent Circle that meets on Sunday afternoon or mid-week.
Fun Cell phone Apps!
  • Botanicula- a point-and-click adventure game that puts players in control of a quintet of tiny beings that are a cross between insect and plant. Its wordless story — everything is presented through images — begins with one of these creatures encountering a spider-like monster intent on gobbling up the big, beautiful tree. Themes of emergence and environmentalism.
  • Toca Nature- What emerges from a walk in virtual nature? Parents need to know that like all Toca Boca apps, Toca Nature is totally open-ended, allowing for pure creative exploration. Kids can build natural elements — trees, lakes, and mountains — and observe what happens as animals move in and food sources abound. Interaction is slow and calm, just like a peaceful walk in a tranquil forest; kids will need to some patience to quietly observe everything that happens. Unlike a real forest, this one is entirely non-violent: usually omnivorous bears and foxes are content with mushrooms and berries and ignore the cute little bunny rabbits that are hopping around.
Youtube Videos that celebrate the emergence of new life:
Join an Online Conversation as part of the emerging conversation in UU about racism
  • EmbraceRace Community Conversation- An EmbraceRace community conversation online, every 4th Tuesday, starting at 5:30 pm PT, 8:30 pm ET. A free, monthly online series providing information, insights, and resources to caregivers on a range of topics related to race and children. We invite guests with relevant experiences and expertise to join each conversation with the EmbraceRace community.
 Resources for the emerging conversation in UU about racism
Articles for parents:
Movies for families about emergence:
  • The Prince of Egypt (animated, rated PG) for Passover. The story of the emergence of the Jews out of slavery as told in the Book of Exodus. *please note- this movie is based on The Book of Exodus …. There are scenes of slaves being whipped, hit, and verbally and physically abused. There are depictions of babies dropped and thrown into crocodile-infested waters. Moses kills a slave driver. While competing against Rameses in a chariot race, Rameses is on a road above the one Moses is on, and Moses looks up and says “it’s not much of a view” as Rameses’ short uniform exposes his rear. It’s worth mentioning that, unlike almost every Bible story presented on film, the characters in this movie are people of color.” https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-prince-of-egypt
  • The Fox and the Child for Earth Day– The emerging friendship between a girl and a wild fox. Scenes with a bear and wolves might make this film too scary for children under 8. It feels a bit like “The Little Prince.”
  • Lemurs; Island of Madagascar (documentary) for Earth Day- The emergence and evolution of Lemurs in this film appropriate for children and families, 40 min.
  • A Beautiful Planet– Views of Earth from Space, as well as evidence of destruction caused by humans.
  • Boy and the World for Earth Day- Animated award winning Brazilian film about a boy’s emerging journey to find his father from countryside to big city, making it a good film for environmentalism, too.
Reflection on Intention, Perseverance, Balance, Emergence (the past 4 themes):

How has your family responded to each theme during these past few months? The arc of the themes is intentional. In January, you were invited to think about setting an intention. In February, the theme of perseverance gave you a lens with which to keep going on the intention you set. In March, perhaps it was time to balance the intention with real life, as well as balance the challenges of keeping your intention. This month, you are invited to reflect on what has emerged from your intention? Perhaps it is something totally unexpected. One part of emergence is that we can’t control what emerges.  (this observation was offered by Bob Meiss, a UU congregant in Livermore, CA)

Our monthly church-wide themes this year have been:

A community of…

September: Welcome
October: Courage
November: Abundance
December: Hope
January: Intention
February: Perseverence
March: Balance
April: Emergence
May: Creativity