Monday, October 26, 2009
If you'd be interested in leading or participating in such a group, please contact Sierra-Marie at 508-757- 27 08 ext. 105 or s mg erfa o@ fir stunit arian .com (please take out all spaces).
- Gospel music
- Sharing the names of our loved ones who have died
- A story and readings
Please as a family select a photo or momento from a loved one who has died to bring for our altar. When possible, parents should give children the opportunity to speak the name of this person at the appropriate point during worship.
We'll need ushers in the 4th-7th grade. These individuals will have a special role in the worship service, so will need to arrive at 10am on the dot on Sunday to be trained.
When children arrive on Sunday, they should pick up a worship workbook on their way into the sanctuary. There will be three workbooks available: one for children in preschool through first grade, one for children in second through fourth grade, and one for children in fourth or fifth grade or older. There will also be a quiet sensory/kinesthetic object that comes with the workbook.
We encourage parents to help their children dress up in dark clothes for this important community ritual.
Additionally, it is helpful to speak ahead of time to your children about what a worship service is like. For very young children, it may be helpful to bring a couple small, totally silent toys or books for them to access as needed, but we hope you will still make an effort to impart the solemnity of the occassion to them.
In addition to talking with Dom, Dan, and Bonnie about their experiences (and thanking them for going), I hope you'll take some time to read about this trip from the perspective of Robin C., the middle and high school youth ministries coordinator at the Holden Street church who also accompanied the youth on this trip:
The group spent their time at Meeting Ground (http://www.meetingground.org/), a "dry" shelter dedicated to homeless families actively trying to get back on their feet. It currently houses 52 people including 26 children.
Among other things, Robin wrote:
"What can we really do for homeless people beyond giving them our time, our coloring books, small bottles of body lotion, toothpaste and shampoo? We carried bags of donated toiletries with us to Maryland, but it did not feel like enough. Our teens painted hallways and the common room. They cleaned up the community garden and fastened new ceilings into trailers that will become additional living space. They played games, gave piggy-backs, and read stories. And our adults took the time to sit down and listen to stressed mothers and lonely fathers. Was that enough? On our long drive back to Massachusetts we wrestled with this question and with our desire to do more. And we came to the realization that what we must do is bring back what we saw. We must spread the word that homeless people were once living in homes; they once were our neighbors." She also recommends that folks check out http://www.onefamilyinc.org/.
Doing puzzles with the Meeting Ground kids.
Who are your neighbors now and what do they need? How can we help each other out?
- YRU2, our high school youth group, and all its adult volunteers who created a very fun fall carnival.
- The many congregants who brough snacks and cakes to the carnival.
- All the folks who attended the carnival and supported Unicef.
- Those who picked up Trick or Treat for Unicef or Guest At Your Table boxes to take home.
A fun time was had, and we raised approximately $250 for Unicef this year.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Regular Choir rehearsal times: SUNDAYS ,
Please email David (firstname.lastname@example.org) ahead of time if you know you will be absent for any rehearsal or a performance.
Schedule of Upcoming Performances and special dates:
Sunday October 25, service
“Everyday People,” David Spanagel director; Matt Johnsen, piano
and “Lean on Me” from the teal supplement, Rebecca Ziegler, director
Sunday November 1
Erik Johnsen will come to talk with us about the Mummer’s Play plans toward the end of our rehearsal (around ). [Sierra-Marie – tell downtown church kids they can come for just this 15 minutes if they want to be informed about the auditions.]
Sunday November 8, service at First Unitarian (
“Everyday People” and “I am the Seed of Peace”
David Spanagel director; Becky Spanagel, piano
NO rehearsal that same afternoon; INSTEAD Erik Johnsen will hold AUDITIONS from
Friday November 13,
Regular Mummer’s Play rehearsals begin Sunday November 15, and continue straight through to December 6, 6-8 pm every Sunday (INCLUDING the Thanksgiving Weekend Sunday November 29 that I had originally said would not have any choir rehearsal)
Monday, October 19, 2009
If you can let Sierra-Marie know ahead of time the general type of food you plan to bring (call 508-757-2708 x. 105 or email s m gerf ao @ fir stunit aria n.com...please take out all spaces), it will help out a lot with the planning and will prevent a last minute panic and run to the grocery store for the event organizers. Thanks so much!
This Sunday's story is "Small Fry." In it, Small Fry -- a fish-- gets a glimpse of the world outside of his pond and is forever changed. This story is a yellow promise lesson: yearn to learn about ourselves, each other, and the Spirit of Love and Mystery that some people call God.
As usual, the morning story will be told with props, and the children are invited to make the story their own during worktime. They also may choose to do art, yoga, reading, or other storytelling during worktime. Our preschool teachers will be Kelley and Laura, kindergarten teachers will be Renee and Diane, and first grade teachers will be Amy and Vivian.
Parents, please don't forget to take your children to the bathroom before worship begins in order to minimize class bathroom breaks, which also helps us stay within our Safe Congregation guidelines.
2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): This Sunday, we'll celebrate U.N./Unicef Day. We've chosen to do this lesson today because after worship and classes are over, there will be our annual fall carnival to raise money for Unicef. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe we can work together to change the world. You can learn more about our relationship to the U.N. and to Unicef as Unitarian Universalists here: http://www.uusc.org/. On Sunday, we'll learn more, and we'll even be able to help create a Unicef display for the carnival.
4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): Please join us this Sunday as we continue to ask questions and discover answers about Judaism and Jesus. In particular, we'll continue to find out what Judaism was like at the time that Jesus lived. We may work more on our model ancient Palestinian village, so please be sure to wear clothes you can paint in. See Deuteronomy 6: 4-5.
6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This week we'll be joined by a special guest teacher, the Rev. Thomas Schade as we begin to work on a special class project: the first ever First Unitarian news broadcast!
7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): We've finally finished "Pay it Forward." We'll discuss it during part of our class this Sunday. We learned through a member of the 225th anniversary committee that the idea the boy has in this movie was actually an idea proposed by minister Edward Everett Hale, who became the first minister of a second Unitarian church in Worcester in 1846. Hale wrote the following motto:
"Look up and not down. Look forward and not back. Look out and not in. Lend A Hand."
This was first published in a story printed via magazine (1870) and then in a book, titled Ten Times One is Ten. This "ten times one is ten" idea is almost exactly the same concept as in "Pay it Forward!" Hale's story and motto became the inspiration for the well-known Lend-a-Hand Society which had active chapters across the nation for many years. We had a Lend-a-Hand chapter here at First Unitarian for many years. There is still a "Lend a Hand" chapter in Boston.
We'll also watch some or all of the Halloween favorite: "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown."
7th-8th Grade (Our Whole Lives): Our values-based sex ed class for 7th and 8th graders began last week and will run continually through the begining of April. We normally meet at 12:30pm. This is a closed-enrollment class, and the enrollment period ended last Sunday. This Sunday we will continue to get to know each other and start talking about values.
9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): Teen Choir members will be performing at the Holden St. church worship service at 9am. As promptly as possible, we'll all get to church here at 90 Main Street and work on the Unicef Fall Carnival, which takes a lot of work to set up. Don't forget to bring cakes for the cake walk. The carnival begins immediately after worship, so we'll all need to come ready to pitch in! After the carnival ends, we all help with cleanup.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
- A spirited pianist and singer who enjoys gospel and similar music
- A playful guitarist
- Animated storytellers and lay preachers who relate well to children and who are interested in faith development
- A sports fan who likes to play games and/or a primary grade teacher who is interested in contemporary and creative alternative approaches to education
Perhaps we can form a team that will enhance the children's chapel worship experience for our 2nd-5th graders this year. The commitment would involve occasional planning meetings and participation in a chapel worship service approximately every 4-8 weeks (average 6 weeks) through this current academic year.
We'd be exploring a new (to us) and different way of worshipping with our children, so volunteers should be flexible, playful, and interested in finding what stirs the soul of our community.
Does this peak your interest? If so, contact Sierra-Marie at 508 757-2708 x.105 or s mge rfa o @fir stunit arian.com (please take out all spaces).
I am currently exploring the idea of creating a team of people who can help us work toward the best possible ministry for folks, and in particular children and youth, with "special needs."
This would require participation from two types of individuals:
1. People who don't want to prepare classes and teach in our children's ministry but who would be willing to participate in our program on a half-time basis in a non-teaching assistant role. We would train these folks to be classroom "buddies" (1:1 assistants) for children who need additional assistance in the classroom. These volunteers would complete an application process (with interview), background check, and screening just as our volunteer teachers and advisors do. However, it is a highly meaningful ministry that some of you may be able to offer others here are First Unitarian Church. Would you consider it?
2. People who are willing to participate in a study-group through this current academic year. This group would do a needs assessment of our ministry in terms of how we serve families with special needs, would create a set of recommendations for how we can move forward, ever-closer to the best possible ministry for these families, and would do some initial planning and legwork to help us start the journey. This would be a seven or eight month commitment only.
If you think either of the above might be part of your own ministry here at First Unitarian, please contact me at 508 757-2708 x. 105 or s mg erfa o@ fir stunita rian.com (take out all spaces).
I look forward to speaking with you,
Sierra-Marie (Director of Religious Ed.)
We also have our monthly "business meeting" on the 1st, at 9:00am. Please be sure to save the date, as it will be a full day. You should have received your Corn Maze permission form in the mail. If you have not received it, please let us know. Please also be sure to RSVP right away, as we need an accurate count to purchase discounted tickets in bulk.
Thanks for your help, and see you on the 1st!
Update October 19th: The RSVP date for discounted tickets has passed, but it is not to late to get in on this fun afternoon. Please get in touch with us soon so we can make sure we have enough seatbelts for transport.
Dear Parents of 7th and 8th Graders,
The Our Whole Lives (OWL) values-based sexuality education curriculum has something unique and critical to offer our children in an age of values-confusion, technological access, and media exposure. It is far more than children get in their school curricula. For a brief description of OWL, please see our original parent orientation invitation post.
If you missed the orientation on October 4th, or if you know of someone who is interested, there is still an opportunity to enroll kids. We will have a makeup parent orientation within the week. Any parent of a 7th or 8th grader would be most welcome at the orientation. It is tentatively planned for Wednesday evening, October 14th 7:00-9:00pm. Please RSVP ASAP, even if you can't make it (we may switch the day/time of the orientation if folks want to come but can't make it on Wednesday).
This will be the last opportunity to get more information about this program before enrollment closes. While the orientation is a no-obligation event, any parent who enrolls a child must have attended the orientation.
Will we see you Wednesday?
**P.S. Note for parents who did attend the orientation: The decision on the time slot is 12:30-2:00pm. Please let us know ASAP if you plan for your child to participate.
Parents, please don't forget to take your children to the bathroom before worship begins in order to minimize class bathroom breaks, which also helps us stay within our Safe Congregation guidelines.
7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): We'll finish watching and discussing the movie "Pay it Forward" this week. We learned through a member of the 225th anniversary committee that the idea the boy has in this movie was actually an idea proposed by minister Edward Everett Hale, who became the first minister of a second Unitarian church in Worcester in 1846.
Hale wrote the following motto:
Look up and not down.
Look forward and not back.
Look out and not in.
Lend A Hand.
This was first published in a story printed via magazine (1870) and then in a book, titled Ten Times One is Ten. This "ten times one is ten" idea is almost exactly the same concept as in "Pay it Forward"! Hale's story and motto became the inspiration for the well-known Lend-a-Hand Society which had active chapters across the nation for many years. We had a Lend-a-Hand chapter here at First Unitarian for many years. There is still a "Lend a Hand" chapter in Boston.
9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): Let's get ready for the fall carnival to benefit UNICEF, which is happening exactly one week from Sunday! Come plan the games, inventory our supplies, make fortune-telling schemes (or not) and more.
Parents/Guardians and youth, please keep in mind that we'll be asking for cakes for the cake walk for the carnival.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Please let Sierra-Marie know at 508 -75 7- 2708 x. 105 or s mge rfao @ fir stunitari an.com (take out all spaces) if your family would like to be one of our advent candle lighters this year.
- 1st-4th graders may sign up to be either angels or shepherds.
- 5th and 6th graders may sign up for Mary, Joseph, Innkeeper, Angel Gabriel, King Herod, Star of the East, or Wisepeople parts. Younger children may sign up if any of these parts remain open after the 5th and 6th graders have signed up.
- 7th and 8th graders may sign up as narrators. 5th or 6th graders may be considered for narrators if there are open narrator slots after the 7th and 8th graders have signed up.
The pageant this year will take place during worship on Sunday, December 13th, so rehearsals will be on Saturday morning the 5th and Saturday morning the 12th.
Growing Times choir members do not need to attend the Saturday rehearsals. Angels and shepherds are encouraged to attend both Saturday rehearsals but can also attend just one. Children playing main parts including narrators will need to attend both Saturday rehearsals. All children will arrive early on Sunday, December 13th for a dress rehearsal before the performance.
Parents: We need your help! We will need many of you to sign up for the following:
- Kid Wranglers: These folks attend the dress rehearsal and usher the children through the rehearsals, making sure the children are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there and that the children are able to learn their parts. We need at least FIVE or SIX kid wranglers.
- Crafts and Games Designers and Leaders: Periodically, there will be "downtime" for different groups of children during the rehearsals. We need folks to come in and lead the children through holiday crafts and games during the downtime. We also need folks to design and set up the crafts and games. We will need at least THREE crafts and games leaders and at least THREE crafts and games designers.
- Costumers: These folks help the children get fitted for costumes during rehearsals. For most children, we'll be able to find a costume that fits right "off the rack." A small handful of costumes will need minor alterations, so with simple stitching we take in or let out hems and seams. Occasionally we also make minor repairs to the costumes. Costumers also prepare basic costume accessories such as angel garlands. We will need at least THREE costumers.
- Hair Helpers: This is a simple job involving helping the children with their hair pieces-- using bobby pins-- the morning of the pageant. We will need at least THREE hair helpers.
- Growing Times Choir Leader: We need someone to work with our prekindergarten and kindergarten children for 15-30 minutes during Sunday School for two or three Sundays in November and one in December. We need ONE to TWO Growing Times Choir Leader(s). The choir leaders teach and rehearse the songs "Jingle Bells" and "Away in a Manger" with the children.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
- Veggie trays
- Fruit trays
- Little sandwiches
- Crackers and cheese
- Pumpkin bread or other breads
- Popcorn in-a-cup
- Sushi or vegetable "sushi" rolls
- Cookies, small tarts, or pies cut into slices
- Pretzels, with or without a dip
- Apples with caramel dip
Note: The coffee hour foods are not part of the fundraising. This is "hospitality as usual," but we try to make it an especially big and fun spread!
2nd and 3rd Grade-5th Grade: 2nd-5th graders, please join us this Sunday for a children's chapel worship service. We'll explore the difference between a promise and a wish, extend a hand of friendship, and celebrate the season. We need readers and musicians, so have your parents let Sierra-Marie know (508- 757-27 08 x. 105 or sm ge rfa o@ first uni taria n.com, take out all spaces) if you would like to do either.
6th Grade (Amazing Grace): Have you ever heard of "Pandora's Box"? Come find out what was in that box, and share your ideas about wrong and right, good and evil, sin and virtue. (Note to parents: 6th graders often LOVE to talk about evil and good overcoming evil!) We'll have more opportunities for acting, and we'll begin discussing projects to put our faith in action. Parents, to see this lesson as written in the original curriculum, visit this link. Our teachers will be Bunny and Marcia.
7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): "Helping out is not some special skill," Ram Dass and Paul Gorman write in How Can I Help? "It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part or time of ourselves. We simply heed the call of that caring impulse within and follow where it leads?" We'll continue watching and discussing "Pay it Forward" this Sunday as we examine the act of loving kindness even in conditions of difficulty. Ken and Tim will be leading.
9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): We look forward to seeing you this Sunday for check-in, socializing, a discussion related to "messages in music," and/or initial preparation for the UNICEF carnival. Teen choir will not rehearse this Sunday due to the holiday weekend.
The Peace Vigil hosted by the UU church on Holden Street has been postponed to Oct 17th same time and place: 6:30-7:30pm, 90 Holden Street in Worcester.
Teen Choir members...we will still need your voices on the 17th! There is practice tonight from 5:45 to 6:45pm at Holden Street. New voices WELCOME!! Please give it a try!