Thursday, February 8, 2018

February 7, 2018
First Unitarian Church of Worcester
Faith Development for Children and Youth

This Week...

February 11
9:15-10:15am Our Whole Lives K-1 Parent Q&A

Multigenerational Service in the Sanctuary

11:45am Coffee Social Valentine Card Making

12:00pm COA Mentor Meeting



Coming up...

February 18
Children's Chapel - begin in the Sanctuary

BYKOTA Outing - SkyZone

February 25
12:00-2:30 PM Our Whole Lives Orientation 
March 2
BYKOTA Sleepover



Faith Development  
Leadership Update: 
Week of February 7

Thank you to everyone who attended two listening sessions held in the last month regarding our Faith Development transitions. This week I want to share with you some of the vision for Faith Development, articulated by faith development leaders within the congregation in 2011 and 2017. Next week I'll share some of the observations I heard at our two recent listening sessions.
 
In 2011, church leaders articulated a vision and goals for faith development. They were:
 
  • Strong foundational programs for Unitarian Universalist children and youth.
  • Vibrant educational programs appropriate for all stages and ages of spiritual development.
  • Meaningful opportunities for people of all ages to engage in "faith in action" projects highlighting social justice, leadership development, and mentoring.
  • Spiritual exploration programs for adults, including covenant groups that explore religious, spiritual, historic, and value themes.
  • Engaging multigenerational programs that nurture the spiritual development of UU families.
 
In 2017, teachers and parents affirmed this vision and identified more specific goals for faith development at First Unitarian Church:
 
Greater integration with church community: Break down "silos" of separated communities within church; More interaction between children and non-parent adults; Continue classroom friends from all areas of church (not just parents); Offer mentorship through Coming of Age program.
Quality of religious education: Ensure trajectory of education across ages; Request for curriculum map; Increase training for teachers (formal process); Increase recruitment of teachers from all areas of church.
Opportunities for Leadership: Request for Faith Development committee or advisory board; Representation of Faith Development in greater church leadership; Parents to serve in leadership roles outside of Faith Development.
 
Some of these goals have been achieved. A Coming of Age program with a mentorship component began this year for 8th and 9th grade students. Abby Hannaford-Ricardi has developed a curriculum map for children and youth. A Faith Development committee has been meeting since last spring. Parents serve in leadership areas beyond faith development. Other goals remain for our community to work toward.
 
After reviewing the vision and goals, participants in recent listening sessions shared what they loved about our faith development ministries, and what they would like to see strengthened. I'll share those results next week.
 
Rev. Sarah Stewart
Coming of Age Update

Hello COA youth, parents and mentors!  

This Sunday's church service is for people of all ages, and on the very important topic of neuro-diversity.  This means there are no classes, and all COA youth are asked to attend the service.

At noon we have our next Mentor class downstairs in the classroom area.  The youth have been discussing themes of power, privilege, and resistance movements as part of our focus on social justice. Mentors will get an overview of what the youth have been working on. We will use the Credo section of their journal, "To This I Give My Heart" to guide the discussion. Mentors and youth can review that portion of the journal ahead of time if they wish. We will provide pizza and salad for lunch.  
 
Also, starting on Feb 25th in class, the youth will be working with church member and artist Lynn Simmons on an art project that will help them explore who they are what they believe.  They will have the opportunity to work on the project during class time (10:45-11:45) for several of the following Sundays.  This will be an activity just for the youth, but they will show their mentors their work. The whole congregation will get to see their projects during their church service in June. More to come on this project soon!  
Youth Group UpdatesSkyzone

BYKOTA - Our 2/18 outing will be to SkyZone!  We'll leave after church, more details to come, including cost (assistance available).  Please pack a light lunch.  This trip requires an additional permission slip.  Well done to Vera and Evan for facilitating our group decision-making process!  Everyone who wants to go to SkyZone must RSVP by 2/14 (mbeal@firstunitarian.com).  

Don't forget that our sleepover is Friday, March 2nd.

YRU2 - This week - more fun with painting - this time with brushes!  Please wear paint clothes and shoes.  

Mark your calendars for a service trip to Boston April 13-15. More details to come.

Our Whole Lives

This spring we are offering Our Whole Lives for our Kindergarten and first graders. 8 classes will run will run on Sunday mornings from 9:15 to 10:15, beginning March 4th and ending May 6th. 

OWL is the comprehensive lifespan sexuality education curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, and is offered here at First Unitarian Church every other year for early elementary, late elementary, and high school age children and youth. It is a rich and affirming program that provides accurate, factual information that emphasizes healthy bodies, healthy relationships, and healthy decision making.
Stay Informed! 

Looking for the class schedule?  Click here!

Friday, February 2, 2018

JANUARY 31, 2018
First Unitarian Church of Worcester
Faith Development for Children and Youth

This Week...

February 4
9:15-10:15am BYKOTA

Regular Classes - COA class starts in classroom, not sanctuary (see below)

12:15 Church-wide meeting about Faith Development in Unity Hall
6:00-8:00pm YRU2 - Maybe? (see below)



Coming up...

Febrary 11
9:15-10:15 AM Our Whole Lives K-1 Parent Q&A

12:00pm COA Mentor Meeting
February 18
BYKOTA Outing - TBD
February 25
12:00-2:30 PM Our Whole Lives Orientation 
March 2
BYKOTA Sleepover



Faith Development  
Leadership Update: 
Week of January 31

Hiring the right permanent Director of Faith Development means having the right conversations with all members who participate in our faith development ministries. In selecting a search committee, and updating the job description, I want to gather as many people as possible together for those important conversations.
 
There is another opportunity for anyone in the congregation to share their perspective on our faith development goals on Sun. Feb. 4 at 12:15 in Unity Hall. You will have a chance to share what you love about our faith development programs, and what you would like to see change, as well as to recommend members for a search committee. This meeting will be led by myself, Jay Lavelle, and Laura Melnick. This will be an especially valuable opportunity for parents, teachers, faith development volunteers, people interested in adult faith development, or people who hope to be part of our faith development program in the future. All are welcome.
 
I will be meeting with YRU2 and BYKOTA in the coming months to have some of these same conversations. I am working with Abby Hannaford-Ricardi to include our younger children in this process. Next steps will be working with the Prudential Committee to leaders to serve on the search committee. In the meantime, your Interim Director of Faith Development search committee has received applications and is interviewing candidates.
 
Rev. Sarah Stewart
COA
Coming of Age Update

COA youth and families - just  a reminder, we have our COA class on Sunday. We  have an exciting class planned this week and need some extra time. So rather than go to the service, please go straight to our COA classroom at 10:30. Also, our next Mentor meeting is Sunday February 11th after services at noon. 

Looking forward to seeing everyone at class!
Sincerely,
The COA Team
Youth Group Updates

BYKOTA - We have a meeting this Sunday, February 4th (9:15-10:15).  During this meeting, we will plan for two upcoming events: 1) Our next fun outing on Sunday, February 18th, and 2) our annual sleepover, coming up on Friday, March 2nd. 
YRU2

YRU2 - We know the Super Bowl is on Sunday, so we want to make sure that youth are planning to come to YRU2.  Plans were made at our 1/28 meeting to paint the Youth Room this week, but we just want to double check. If you're planning to come to YRU2 this week, please email Mandy (mbeal@firstunitarian.com).

Our Whole Lives

This spring we are offering Our Whole Lives for our Kindergarten and first graders. 8 classes will run will run on Sunday mornings from 9:15 to 10:15, beginning March 4th and ending May 6th. 

OWL is the comprehensive lifespan sexuality education curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, and is offered here at First Unitarian Church every other year for early elementary, late elementary, and high school age children and youth. It is a rich and affirming program that provides accurate, factual information that emphasizes healthy bodies, healthy relationships, and healthy decision making.
Stay Informed! 

Looking for the class schedule?  Click here!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

JANUARY 17, 2018
First Unitarian Church of Worcester
Faith Development for Children and Youth

This Week...

January 21
Regular Classes

COA youth and mentors will be making sandwiches during the service and deliver to Worcester Common at 12:30. Return to church for 1 PM pickup.

12:00-1:00pm BYKOTA and YRU2 Advisor Meeting

6:00-8:00pm YRU2



Coming up...

January 28
Annual Meeting following the service (childcare is provided)

4:00pm-7:00pm Worcester Pride Pasta Supper
February 11
9:15-10:15 AM Our Whole Lives K-1 Parent Q & A 
February 25
12:00-2:30 PM Our Whole Lives Orientation 



Our Whole Lives

This spring we are offering Our Whole Lives for our Kindergarten and first graders. 8 classes will run will run on Sunday mornings from 9:15 to 10:15, beginning March 4th and ending May 6th. 

OWL is the comprehensive lifespan sexuality education curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, and is offered here at First Unitarian Church every other year for early elementary, late elementary, and high school age children and youth. It is a rich and affirming program that provides accurate, factual information that emphasizes healthy bodies, healthy relationships, and healthy decision making.
Coming of Age Update

We are looking forward to getting together on Sunday, January 21. We will make sandwiches and deliver them downtown to people who are homeless and gathering for the Woo Church community service.
 
Here are the details:
  1. Youth will make sandwiches during our church service. When children leave the church service and head to their classes at 10:45, we will also leave and head to the kitchen.
  2. Mentors are invited to make the sandwiches as well.
  3. At 12:00 PM, we will meet by the piano in the Bancroft room, and make car pool arrangements to go to the downtown Oval.
  4. When we arrive downtown, we will share the sandwiches before the church service begins, and head back to our church.
  5. At approximately, 12:45-1:00 PM, we will gather back in the Bancroft room for a quick de-briefing.
  6. Parents can pick up their youth at 1:00 PM.
 
Please RSVP to let us know if you are able to come or not.
 
We have updated our COA calendar, which is linked here . Please note that the date for the April Youth/Mentor meeting is Sunday, April 22nd after church.
 
Thank you!
 
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
 
The COA Team

Youth Group Updates

BYKOTA - The results of our Sleepover Survey are in, and our annual sleepover will be Friday, March 2nd!  There are no more BYKOTA meetings or events this month.  Our next meeting will be February 4th (9:15-10:15).  

YRU2 - This week, we'll spend some time thinking and talking about current events.  There's a lot going on, and putting things into perspective with our UU Principles and values can be really helpful.  Worship this week will be led by Mason and Xavier.