Monday, December 20, 2010

Church School Classes Sunday, January 2nd

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
On Sunday we will celebrate our existence in a vast and awe-inspiring universe.  Our PreK and Kindergarten classes will hear a story called I Live in the Universe, which takes the children from inside their homes, to their neighborhoods, and cities, and then to the state, country, continent, planet, and eventually the universe.  The 1st and 2nd grade class will hear The Great Story, a story of the universe from its creation through current times. 

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
In our Stepping Stone class we are completing our unit on birth this Sunday.  Our final birth story will be that of the Buddha, which we will look at against the background of the stories of the previous weeks: Jesus' birth stories and our own birth stories. 

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade
This week we will have part 1 of a 2 part series on Joseph, favored son of Jacob in the Hebrew Bible. We'll make "coats" of many colors as we talk about Joseph's interpretation of dreams and his leadership in Egypt.  We'll also hear about Joseph's treatment at the hands of his jealous brothers and consider the timeless theme of family dynamics. 

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
No human religious organization is perfect, as all exist within the limitations and challenges of the real world and our shared humanity.  We will be considering this on Sunday as we discuss changes facing modern Hinduism.  We will also consider the way in which great religions are dynamic and non-monolithic, and participants can expect to understand what that means by the end of class.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
On Tuesday, December 28th, all youth are invited to come paint the youth lounge and then have dinner together!  We hope to see you there!  On Sunday we will not have youth group, and instead all youth are invited to attend worship.  Note: Coming of Age takes place from 12:30pm-2:30pm.

Merry Christmas From the Church School!

From the volunteers and staff of the Church School, Merry Christmas!  We hope you enjoy the holiday on Saturday.  As many of our families expect to be out of town on Sunday, we have canceled classes.  If there are enough children present to gather as a group, we will have some low-key but fun activities to help us get ready to ring in the New Year.  Children in the 6th grade and up are encouraged to attend the worship service. 

Teachers, enjoy the day off!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Church School Classes Sunday, December 19th

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten
This Sunday we will hear the very simplest version of Jesus' birth story.  The story is called "The Miraculously Ordinary Story of a Baby."  The story is told such that it focuses on the very ordinary aspects of Jesus' birth story.  It leads us to questions such as "I wonder if Jesus' parents had any idea how important he would be when he grew up?"  "I wonder if Jesus felt important when he was a child?"

Spirit Play Semi-Advanced and Advanced
1st and 2nd Grades
Our 1st and 2nd grade classes, like prekindergarten and kindergarten, will hear the story of Jesus' birth, but their story will be framed through advent.  The children will be introduced to advent as a time not just of waiting, but of getting our hearts ready for Christmas, a time to make room in our hearts for hope, love, joy, and peace. 

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
Like the younger children's classes, our 3rd and 4th grade class will be looking more closely at Jesus' birth this week.  This story is part of a unit on "creation stories" of individual people.  As we create our own crèches we'll consider the importance of different aspects of Jesus' birth story.  A "Christmas conversation" letter has been sent home with suggestions for family conversations to have this week.

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade
This Sunday in our 5th and 6th grade class we will not only consider Jesus' birth story, but the celebration of Christmas more broadly.  We'll be sharing our own Christmas memories and hearing a couple different versions of Jesus' birth story as we consider why it is that so many Unitarian Universalists celebrate Christmas.  We'll also be making "Christmas miracle" ornaments.

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
We're continuing our exploration of Hinduism in this class this week, in a lesson called "Everyday lives of Hindus."  We will consider various manners of Hindu worship, contrast classical Hinduism and devotional Hinduism, and discuss the possibility of their being a "classical" and "devotional" expression of Unitarian Universalism.  We'll surely also check in and talk about our holiday plans!

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
Our high school youth group meets from 10:00am-12:00pm.  Coming of Age will meet this Sunday from 12:30-2:30pm.  For Coming of Age, we have a panel of guests from the congregation who are "walking the walk" of our religious values.

A Big Christmas Pageant Thank You!

Thank you to the pageant director, cast, singers, crew, parents, and volunteers who carefully drove the icy roads to be here for the pageant!

Thank you to the Jingle Bells Choir for projecting your voices and bringing us your sweet music!

Thank you to the adult choir for tying the pageant worship service together with your songs!

Thank you to the pageant performers who were flexible in trading around roles last minute and for your performance! 

Thank you to the many, many parents who enthusiastically volunteered to pitch in, in every way imaginable from costumes to snacks, supervision, and even clean up!

Thank you for our advent candlelighters who were patient despite our forgetting to invite them up to light the candles!

Thank you to the members of the congregation who braved the roads to be with us!

It was good to be together for another pageant!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Living Gifts and Living Nativity

Event Notice
First Unitarian Families Encouraged to Attend and Meetup

Saturday, December 11th
  • The Heifer Farm CELEBRATION OF LIVING GIFTS
    11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  216 Wachusett Street in Rutland
    What do you buy the person who has everything? How about a goat, a llama or a water buffalo? At Heifer International's Celebration of Living Gifts, learn how sponsoring animals like these can provide food and income for hungry families. You get a handsome card to give and a hungry family receives hope for a better future. Take pictures with the animals and purchase gifts from around the world in the Heifer (Overlook farm) fair trade shop. Enjoy hot cocoa and cider, make gingerbread animal cookies and warm yourself by a bonfire. Admission is free with the donation of (a) canned good(s) that will be taken to a local food bank. Last year during this event, 450 pounds of canned goods were collected!
  • Mesa Farm LIVING NATIVITY
    5:00 p.m. 67 Muschopauge Road in Rutland
    After attending the Celebration of the Living Gifts at Heifer, come "down the road” for the Living Nativity. This event used to be held at Heifer, but has now been moved to nearby Mesa Farm, owned and operated by former Heifer staff member Dale Perkins. As is tradition, the event is free, but all are asked to bring a plate of cookies to share. The living nativity is essentially a Christmas pageant with real animals. Dress very warmly because it involves sitting in the cold for a while. There are also shows at 6:30 on the same day as well as 5:00 and 6:30 on Saturday (Saturday’s shows will have sign language interpretation). The 5:00 time would be a good time for First Unitarian families to meet up in case a number of us are attending the Celebration of the Living Gifts.

Church School Classes December 12, 2010


All are invited this Sunday to the annual Christmas pageant.  Come one, come all!  There will be nursery care available, but there will not be church school classes or youth group. 

Advent Series: Evolutionary Christianity


In an effort spearheaded by Michael Dowd, a UU evolutionary preacher and teacher, during the season of advent thirty esteemed scientists and inspiring Christian leaders join together for a groundbreaking dialogue on the blessing of an evolutionary lens in Christianity.  This program has been offered as a free teleseries, and you are invited!  The goal is that this dialogue will enrich the life of participants, deepen their faith, and bless the world. 

The series can be heard over the phone or on the internet.  Last night as I was putting my kids to bed, I listened to a conversation between Michael Dowd and Bruce Sanguin, minister of the Canadian Memorial United Church in Vancouver.  It was a fascinating conversation, and I am eager to hear the rest of the series!

To register, go to the Advent of Evolutionary Christianity website.  Once registered, you will receive emails with details about the various programs. 

In Faith,
Sierra-Marie

Christmas Pageant Weekend Schedule


This weekend is not only our final days of preparation for the pageant, but also our pageant itself. The pageant will be presented in the context of the worship service on December 13th.

Below is a basic outline of the schedule for the weekend. Please see your mailbox this week for a more detailed schedule.

Saturday, December 11th, 9 am– 12:00 pm: Rehearsal for all cast members. Angels and shepherds don't need to arrive until 10:00am, but all cast members, please be prompt.

Sunday, December 12th, 8:45 am: This is the morning of the dress rehearsal. All cast members should arrive by 8:45 am sharp to be dressed in costume and ready to rehearse at 9:00 am on the dot!

Sunday, December 12th, 9:45 am: Our “Jingle Bells Choir,” made up of children from our prekindergarten and kindergarten class, will not have another rehearsal until this, our dress rehearsal immediately prior to the performance. Please arrive promptly at 9:45 am on Sunday if your child would like to sing in the choir.

Sunday, December 12th, 10:30 am: The Christmas pageant is the “sermon” portion of the worship service. We begin worship at 10:30 a.m.

See you this weekend, and call Sierra-Marie with any questions at 508-757-2708 ext. 105! Thanks for your participation...this will be a lot of fun!

Pageant Costumes

Jingle Bells Choir and Christmas Pageant cast, below is a rundown of what to wear on pageant Sunday.

Jingle Bells Choir
Just come in whatever lovely clothes your parents ask you to wear. You are most welcome to wear your holiday clothes. Be sure to spend a lot of time practicing nice signing voices for your songs this week, and then please just bring your smiles.

We’ll give you a special garland halo, and we’ll have jingle bells for you to ring at the appropriate time.

Narrators
Dress nicely. If you have any special holiday clothes, you can wear those as well.

Joseph, Innkeeper, Herod, Wise People, Shepherds
Wear lightweight clothing (those robes are hot and heavy). Once you arrive, please wear sandals or slippers on your feet.

Mary, Gabriel, Star, Angels
Wear lightweight clothing. Also make sure your clothing is light in color as you are wearing white or light colored robes. Once you arrive, please wear sandals or slippers on your feet.

Additional Notes
1. Please don’t spend money on your shoes. For costumed parts, we would prefer you wear slippers, ballet shoes, or sandles, but if you don’t have any, wear something simple or just wear what you have. Please no furry crazy slippers—they are adorable but not for the pageant.

2. All costume-wearing pageant participants were fitted for the pageant at rehearsal last Saturday. If you were not present for the rehearsal last Saturday, please come 15 minutes before your rehearsal time to get fitted. We have only one day for last minute alterations, which will be a tall order for our most gracious costume volunteers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Church School Classes December 5, 2010

Children's choir members please note that choir meets 9-10AM.  This Sunday we will be singing in worship, so prompt attendance is required!

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
Our story in class this week will be from the book The Chanukah Blessing by Penninah Schram.  While the story is a playful take on a "modern" visit received by one family from Elijah the Prophet, it provides children with an introductory lesson on the history and meaning of Chanukah
Note: Both PreKindergarten and Kindergarten will meet at the usual time this week (at dismissal from worship around 10:45) but will end class a little late in order to accomodate a final Jingle Bells Choir rehearsal. 

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
This week's lesson is called "Unique and Wonderful You" and is about the stories of who we are, as individuals, and our own "creation" stories...the stories each of us have of being born.  Children are invited this week to bring a copy of a picture from when they were little (baby pictures or one of the earliest pictures they have of themselves if no baby picture is available).  Some of our children have adoption stories along with birth stories, and there will be a place for all of that in our class.  Parents please note that we do talk in basic terms about "the facts of life" in this class.  Please contact the Faith Development office if you have any particular concerns.

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

Our lesson this week is on Hanukkah.  We will share our own experiences and knowledge about Hanukkah, make clay menorahs, hear a version of the story of Hanukkah, and talk about why some Unitarian Universalists celebrate Hanukkah.  Any child whose family has a menorah is invited to bring the menorah in to show our class

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

This Sunday's lesson is titled "Ahimsa and the Jains."  While a small religion by global standards, Jainism is an important belief for Unitarian Universalists to study, as Jainism split away from a parent church similarly to Unitarian Universalism, and it represents an expression of the first and seventh Unitarian Universalist principles. 

Note: Our Middle School Youth Group, BYKOTA, will have its monthly meeting at 9AM in room seven ("the Bride's Room").  We also need middle school youth to help out younger children with activities at the Hanukkah Party during coffee hour.  Please use the "contact" tab above if your youth can help.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

The youth group will be giving their youth lounge a fresh coat of paint this weekend.  This Sunday, some of our youth will also be singing in the teen choir, which is performing at the Holden Street church at 11AM.  For those who are present for our own youth group meeting, we will have food, discussion, check-in, games, a little business, a chalice lighting and a meaningful discussion.  High school youth are also invited to help out younger children with activities at the Hanukkah Party during coffee hour. Please use the "contact" tab above if you or your youth can help.

UU Mama

"(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)"
e.e. cummings

The UU Mama meetings for December will be on the theme of Spiritual Self-Care.  We think this is a timely topic for the holiday season!  From UU Mama facilitator Joonu: "As mothers we often find ourselves extremely busy with many and often competing commitments while striving to have the time to connect with ourselves and to our source. Not only is spiritual self-care essential for our own well being, but for the well being of our families. As spiritual leaders in our homes, it is also important in that we are models for our children as we are their first and most important teachers."  We'll be exploring the role of spiritual self-care in our lives.

The UU Mama covenant groups are for the purpose of personal reflection, sharing common experience, offering meaningful discussion, building fellowship, and deepening our spiritual practices as Unitarian Universalists, all as these relate to our roles as UU parents.

Our hope is that through the covenant groups we will strengthen our families, which also strengthens our church community.

UU Mama groups currently meet on the second Monday and second Thursday of every month.  We are looking to start a third UU Mama Group in January or February, and possibly a UU Papa group also.  If you are interested in the possibility of participating in UU Mama or UU Papa starting in January or February and going through the spring or summer, please use the "contact" tab above to let the Faith Development office know of your interest.  We'd be happy to get you plugged into a group!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Summer Day Camp?

Summer Day Camp Meeting
Saturday, January 29th from 4-5:30pm

In 2009, we hosted at First Unitarian Church for the first time ever a summer day camp with the hope of offering such a camp every-other-summer.  Thus this coming summer, 2011, is the expected date for our next camp. 

The camp was AWESOME and we definitely want to do it again. 

Our first camp was called "UU Galaxy"
and focused on the joy of our cosmic existence
 In order to hold a camp again we will need several congregational volunteers willing to serve on a Camp Planning Team whose work would span from February 2011 through the date of the camp in June or July. 

In 2009 we hosted the camp as a weeklong venture in partnership with four area Unitarian Universalist churches, and we are in conversation with these churches about doing so again.  Thus our congregation's Camp Planning Team can expect to be working with volunteers or staff from one to three other churches. 

The more the merrier!  There is plenty of work to be done, but it is a lot of fun, and now that we have done it once before, we have some templates to assist us in the work.

If you are interested in this project, please consider coming to an initial meeting on Saturday, January 29th from 4-5:30pm.  Light refreshments will be provided, and while there is no obligation, we are hoping at this meeting that we will get a planning effort going for the camp. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Schedule Notations for Families With Children

Families, please take note of the following:

Saturday, December 4th: This is the date of our first pageant rehearsal.  Those children who are narrators or primary roles should be present from 9AM-12PM.  Angels and shepherds attend 10AM-12PM.

Sunday, December 5th: On this Sunday, we will have Church School as usual.  BYKOTA (middle school youth group) will have their monthly meeting.  PreK and Kindergarten kids will rehearse their pageant songs during class time as one combined group (both classes will come together).  Both those classes will start at 10:30 rather than the usual start time on this date to accommodate the rehearsal.  After classes dismiss at 11:40 there will be a Hanukkah party in Unity Hall during coffee hour.

Saturday, December 11th: This is the second and final pageant rehearsal.  Those children who are narrators or primary roles should be present from 9AM-12PM.  Angels and shepherds attend 10AM-12PM.

Sunday, December 12th: This is our Christmas Pageant worship service (no classes).  Children in the pageant will come early on this morning for dress rehearsal.  After the pageant, all are invited to coffee hour and then a lunch.  Please bring donations of food for the soup and sandwiches meal.  Following lunch, all are invited to the annual Green Christmas fair in Unity Hall.  BYKOTA (the middle school youth group) will have its annual trip to the Little Store to help sort, organize, or wrap Christmas gift donations for children.  YRU2 (the high school youth group) will go Christmas caroling with youth from the Holden Street Church.

Sunday, December 19th: We will have Church School as usual on this date.  Coming of Age will meet 12:30-2:30PM.

Friday, December 24th: All ages are invited to our annual Christmas Eve worship services at 4PM and 5:30PM.  These music-rich services both end with a candlelit round of "Silent Night."

Sunday, December 26th: To Be Announced!  We will probably have a low-key post-Christmas holiday party.  Some classes may meet.  Please stay tuned, and use the "contact" tab above to let the Faith Development office know if you can help.  We’d like to get a feel for how many folks will be in town and plan to be at church before finalizing any plans, so keep in touch about whether you plan to be present. 

Sunday January 2nd and January 9th: We are planning to have Church School as usual on this date, so please plan to join us if you can for some very interesting classes.  On January 2nd, Coming of Age will meet 12:30-2:30. 

Worship Activity Bags?

Over the next several months, I will be placing a couple boxes of crayons and a couple pads of paper in each pew box for children who have an easier time listening when their hands are busy.  Children should feel free to use these during their time in the sanctuary each Sunday or during all-ages worship services such as the one this coming Sunday.

Can you volunteer to check the pew boxes once per month and restock these supplies as needed?

Another thing we might consider is creating worship activity bags.  For information or examples of churches using the concept, see the following links:
To do this, we would need a team of volunteers to create the bags:
  1. Donations of small bags such as those sold by the Oriental Trading company or simple draw-string bags made by a volunteer or two would be necessary.
  2. Donations of small items to go in the bags would be needed.  For older kids, these might include "fidgets," legos, small clipboards, and some paper and colored pencils or crayons.  For babies and toddlers the bags might include soft books and toys.
  3. Volunteers would be needed to fill the bags with the donated items.
  4. Volunteers would be needed to check the bags and keep them stocked on a monthly basis. 
In Faith,
Sierra-Marie

Church School Classes November 28, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving!  There will not be church school classes or youth group on Sunday, November 28th.

Instead, we will have a special Bread Communion worship service for all ages. The service will include a participatory ritual of communion.  A worship service packet will be provided to the children, as well as a small "fidget" item.  Please bring silent toys or books for young children for whom you think such would be helpful.  If the children need to move around or become fussy, as always, the service can be heard on speaker in the narthex as well as downstairs in the "Bride's Room" (room seven).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Pageant Sign-Up Has Begun!

Christmas Pageant sign-up has begun.  The sign up table is currently located between the Dining and Bancroft rooms.  The Pageant is a treasured annual tradition here at First Unitarian Church of Worcester!
Children in the prekindergarten and first grades take part in our "Jingle Bells Choir," which has its rehearsals during Sunday School. Other children are invited to sign up as follows:

  • 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 12th, so rehearsals will be on Saturday morning the 4th and Saturday morning the 11th.  Rehearsals take place 9:00AM-12:00PM.  Angels and Shepherds come at 10AM rather than 9AM. 

Jingle Bells 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 12th for a dress rehearsal before the performance.

Church School Classes November 21, 2010

Children's choir members please note that choir meets 9-10AM.  As we are getting close to performing, faithful attendance is crucial!

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades

This Sunday we have our Bread Communion liturgical lesson.  This lesson takes place this week in preparation for next week's all ages Bread Communion worship service after Thanksgiving (November 28th).  As this lesson involves the Guest at Your Table boxes, please be sure to get these out at home.  Extra boxes are still available for those who need one.

Note: PreKindergarten class meets at 10:30 this week to accomodate Jingle Bells Choir rehearsal.  They will dismiss at the usual time.  Kindergarten meets at the usual time (at dismissal from worship around 10:45) but will end class at 11:50 in order to accomodate the Jingle Bells Choir rehearsal. 

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade

This will be the last week of creation stories for our class.  Our final creation story is from the Haida of British Columbia.  We will study images of totems and make a symbol for our own Stepping Stone Year class. 

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

Our biblical figure of the week is Jacob, grandson of Abraham and Sarah, son of Isaac and Rebekah, and brother of Esau.  We'll watch a video clip on Jacob, explore the trouble between siblings Jacob and Esau, and consider the concept of blessings as we write personal blessings of our own in our doodle books.

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

This is a week of class not to be missed!  We'll be learning about and doing yoga as we continue our studies of the Hindu religious tradition.  We will have some "resident experts" joining us for this class, to lead us in the yoga.  Wear comfortable clothing in which you can freely move.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

The youth group will be giving their youth lounge a fresh coat of paint this week.  Our time in youth group this week will also include check-in, hanging out and eating yummy food, playing some games together, a little business, a chalice lighting and a meaningful discussion. 

Please note that the Coming of Age group will be meeting in the youth lounge from 12:30-2:30PM.  Coming of agers, please be sure to bring some lunch to church on Sunday so you can eat in between youth group and the Coming of Age session.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Upcoming in the Youth Ministries

The following are upcoming events for BYKOTA (middle school) and YRU2 (high school) youth groups.  Youth and families, please mark your calendars:

BYKOTA
  • Sunday, November 28th: Youth possibly lead collection of gifts, hats, or mittens for the mitten and giving trees during the intergenerational Bread Communion worship service.
  • Sunday, December 5th: The monthly BYKOTA business meeting will take place 9-10AM.
  • Sunday, December 5th: Youth are invited to help the younger children with activities at the Hanukkah party. Please sign up to help!
  • Sunday, December 12th: After Church School class is dismissed, we'll go over to the Little Store on Chandler Street to help sort or wrap gift donations for folks experiencing financial difficulty.
  • Sunday, December 26th: Youth are invited to attend the worship service, which may be "Returning Student Sunday" with the young adults.


    YRU2
  • Sunday, November 21st: The teen choir sings during worship (at our own church).  There will also be youth group on this day.
  • Sunday, November 21st: Coming of Age will meet 12:30-2:00PM.
  • Sunday, November 28th: Youth possibly lead collection of gifts, hats, or mittens for the mitten and giving trees during the intergenerational Bread Communion worship service.
  • Sunday, December 5th: The teen choir sings at 11AM during worship at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester at 90 Holden Street.  There will also be youth group on this day.
  • Sunday, December 5th: Youth are invited to help the younger children with activities at the Hanukkah party.  Please sign up to help!
  • Sunday, December 12th: The teen choir may sing a song or two in the Christmas pageant.  Also, we'll eat lunch together and then go Christmas caroling as a group with the youth from the church on Holden Street from 1-3:30PM.
  • Sunday, December 19th: Coming of Age will meet 12:30-2:00PM.
  • Friday, December 24th: Youth will be the candlelighters for "Silent Night" at both Christmas Eve worship services (4:00 and 5:30).  Please sign up for one or the other if you can help.
  • Sunday, December 26th: Youth are invited to attend the worship service, which may be "Returning Student Sunday" with the young adults.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Church School Classes November 14, 2010

Children's choir members please note that choir meets 9-10AM.  As we are getting close to performing, faithful attendance is crucial!

After a couple weeks off for intergenerational worship, we are eager to get back to class!  Here is what we have going on this week in class:

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten

This Sunday we have a story that is both a "promise story" and a "source story."  It is a green promise story.  The "green promise" is the value we share, as Unitarian Universalists, in the search for what is true and right in life.  We call this our green promise because we "grow by searching for what is true and right in life."  This story also comes from nature, one of the sources of our faith.  It is called "The Little Red House, With No Windows, No Doors, and a Star Inside."  (Note: the link is not the exact version of this story that we are using, but similar.)

Note: Information about the Jingle Bells Choir will arrive in your mailbox this week.  For the next two weeks, the PreKindergarten class meets at 10:30 to accomodate Jingle Bells Choir rehearsal.  They will dismiss at the usual time.  Kindergarten meets at the usual time (at dismissal from worship around 10:45) but will end class at 11:50 in order to accomodate the Jingle Bells Choir rehearsal. 

Spirit Play, Semi-Advanced and Advanced
1st and 2nd Grades 

This Sunday we have a story that is both a "promise story" and a "source story."  It is a green promise story.  The "green promise" is the value we share, as Unitarian Universalists, in the search for what is true and right in life.  We call this our green promise because we "grow by searching for what is true and right in life."  This story also comes from nature, one of the sources of our faith.  It is called "The Greatest Power." 

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade

We have two more lessons in the creation unit of this class before we move onto a short section on the baby Jesus, the baby Buddha, and all of us as babies too.  This week's creation story is from the Maya Indians of the Yucatan.  We'll be creating our own stories in pictures too, maybe even yarn pictures. 

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

This wee we will become familiar with the biblical story of Abraham and creating some related wall art for our classroom.  Abraham is an especially important biblical figure, so this is not a story to miss!   Please note that not this Sunday, but the following Sunday we will be making special blessing posters for which the kids will be asked to bring in pictures.  They will receive information about this at class this week.

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
Like many religions, Hinduism has a notion of eternal soul, or atman.  Unlike many other religions, Hinduism indicates that there are many paths that the sould can take on its search for god.  We'll explore that and the four permissable goals in Hindu life this week, and we'll even play a game of Jeopardy!

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

After two weeks without youth group, the youth are eager to have a little time to reconnect with one another.  Our time in youth group this week will thus include check-in, hanging out and eating yummy food, playing some games together, a little business, a chalice lighting and a meaningful discussion. 

Please note that the Coming of Age group will be gathering at Rutland State Park from 1:00-4:00PM, and the teen choir meets 5:45-6:45PM at 90 Holden Street.

UU Mama

UU Mama groups are now meeting! 

The UU Mama covenant groups are for the purpose of personal reflection, sharing common experience, offering meaningful discussion, building fellowship, and deepening our spiritual practice as Unitarian Universalists, all as these relate to our roles as UU parents.

Our hope is that through the covenant groups we will strengthen our families, which also strengthens our church community.

Both of the UU Mama groups running at this time meet once per month.  One is held on a Monday evening and one on a Thursday evening.   Childcare is currently available on Monday. 

If you might be interested in joining a UU Mama group, please use the "contact" tab above to let the Faith Development Office know of your interest.  We're looking for some men who would like to start a UU Papa group too!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanks From YRU2

Thanks to all who contributed food and also to all who participated in the fun and games at the fall carnival to benefit UNICEF this Halloween.  Cakes were won, games were played, costumes were complimented and lots of goodies found their way into bellies.  As a result, we now have approximately $279 to send to UNICEF.  The money UNICEF collects from donations such as ours go to help children around the world through education, health care, nutrition, and access to clean and safe water. 

If you took home a Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF box to collect more money, don't forget to let them know when you send it in whether you would like to receive confirmation of your gift or other mailings.  Opting out puts more money where it is most needed.

If you took home a Guest at Your Table box, you can find Guest at Your Table materials and information at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee website or by clicking the link above.  You can convert that money to a check in December to send in yourself, or bring it to the church and we'll send it in for you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Church School Classes November 7, 2010

There will not be church school classes on Sunday, November 7th.

Instead, we will have a special All Souls Sunday worship service for all ages.  This is also a "music Sunday."  The service will include a participatory ritual and a chance to share photos and momentos of loved ones who have died!  More information will be posted this week about the service and specifically about the sharing of photos and momentos.  Please plan to bring them with you on Sunday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Church School Classes October 31, 2010

There will not be church school classes on Sunday, October 31st.

Instead, we will have a worship service for all ages.  The service will include a children's costume parade, so kids, come in your costume!

After worship the youth group will be hosting the annual fall UNICEF carnival.  All activities are $0.25-1.00, so please bring quarters. 

We still need Halloween or fall-themed coffee hour goodies for our carnival coffee hour spread, so make a contribution if you can.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Church School Classes October 24, 2010

This week's classes are not to miss!  Very cool and interesting stuff in all grades.

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades

The interplay between religion and the seasonal rhythms in regions throughout the world is an ancient one.  This Sunday's lesson is an introduction to that interplay for our children.  The story will be new to all our children, and will be a "circle of the year" as we experience in the Northern Hemisphere and specifically in the Northeaster region of the United States.  The circle will move through the equinoxes and solstices as lengths of day and night change. 

Children in the 1st and 2nd grades will have a "story extension" so that this lesson will also include the story of the "Moon Goddess" told in China in the autumn. 

NOTE: Parents, please remember to take your children to bathroom before class to minimize the number of disruptions during class for bathroom breaks and help us keep up with "best practices" as a Safe Congregation.

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade

This Sunday we have two creation stories from the Hebrew people.  We'll explore how an important story, like that of Genesis, can arise out of two earlier stories.  We'll start, surprisingly, with a discussion of "Little Red Riding Hood."  If your child has a Bible she or he would like to bring to class for this lesson, she or he would be most welcome to do so!

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

The biblical story of Noah and the flood is a culturally familiar one for most of us.  In this class, we will revisit the idea of covenant and explore whether there is a such thing as "fair punishment" as we ask questions about biblical "truth" and hear Noah's story.  We'll be making animal masks too!

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

We begin our study of Asian religions this week with a look at Classical Hinduism.  We'll take an especially close look at the concept of dharma.  Among other new vocabulary words, we'll learn a word as fun as "henotheism!"  Through all of this we'll be able to ask "are there times when Unitarian Universalists should not follow the dictates of the seven principles?" "Do Unitarian Universalists feel a sacred duty toward anything?"  And "When would it be permissable for a Unitarian Universalist to lie, or even commit crimes in accordance of his or her 'dharma' (if such a concept was accepted)?"

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

After two weeks in a row of guest speakers, the youth are eager to have a little time to reconnect with one another.  Our time together in youth group this week will thus include check-in, hanging out and eating yummy food, playing some games together, a little business, a chalice lighting and a meaningful discussion. 
 
Please note that the teen choir meets 5:45-6:45PM at 90 Holden Street.

NOTE: Parents, if you missed the Parent Informational Meeting on the Coming of Age program but have an interest in this program for high schoolers, please contact the Faith Development Office right away using the "contact" tab above.   Parents who did attend the Parent Informational Meeting please be sure to get in your youth's application form if possible by this coming Sunday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teen Choir!!

Sundays
5:45-6:45PM
90 Holden Street


Teen choir rehearsals have begun.  The rehearsals take place 5:45-6:45 on every Sunday of the month except the first Sunday and performance dates/  High schoolers, why not just give it a try?  No experience necessary.  The choir's first performance will take place in our own church worship service on Sunday, November 21st.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Costume Parade & A Call For Stories

Sunday, October 31st
During Worship

Halloween falls on a Sunday this year!  We will worship together as a community of all ages, and during worship there will be a costume parade.  Children (and any adults who want to dress up in an all ages-friendly costume) are invited to wear their costumes to worship.  We need three parent helpers for the parade, so please use the "contact" tab above to get in touch with the Faith Development office if you can help.
Also, if any of you have great personal stories of Halloween adventures and experiences, please use the "contact" tab above to get in touch with Sierra-Marie.  These stories may become a part of the worship service.

Treats for the Fall Carnival

Sunday, October 31st
11:30AM

On Sunday, October 31st, we will have our annual fall carnival to benefit UNICEF, hosted by the YRU2 high school youth group.  The carnival takes place after worship at 11:30AM.  Games and activities are each $0.25-$1.00, so please bring quarters.  Invite friends and family!  This is always a fantastically fun Sunday.

The carnival is also "coffee hour."  We need lots of folks to bring in fall treats and Halloween goodies!  Can you bring in a "coffee hour" item to share?
Note: There will not be classes on Sunday, October 31st.  Instead, we will worship together as a community of all ages.  Worship will include a costume parade.

Children's Choir Has Begun!

Sundays
9:00AM-10:00AM

Children's choir rehearsals began last Sunday, and we would like to have our full group gathered this coming Sunday.  Rehearsals will take place weekly at 9:00AM in Diane Mirick Room (room 1).  For this first session of choir, Noel Cary will direct and Cindy Bizzarro will accompany on piano.  If you have not signed your child up to participate, but your child would like to be involved, please use the "contact" tab above to contact the Faith Development office as soon as possible.

The teen choir also has begun rehearsing.  The teen choir is a joint choir of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester.  This choir will rehearse Sunday evenings at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester. 

Youth Calendar Updates

The following are upcoming events for BYKOTA (middle school) and YRU2 (high school) youth groups.  Youth and families, please mark your calendars:

BYKOTA
  • Sunday, October 24th: After church, middle schoolers are invited to come downstairs to the classroom level of the building to help the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) move into the Church School classrooms.
  • Sunday, November 7th: The BYKOTA monthly meeting will take place at 9:00AM in the "Bride's Room."  We will also go to the Corn Maze at Davis Farmland Sunday afternoon! 
YRU2
  • Sunday, October 17th: Teen choir rehearsals begin.  Rehearsals take place 5:45-6:45PM at 90 Holden Street.
  • Sunday, October 24th: After church, high schoolers are invited to come downstairs to the classroom level of the building to help the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) move into the Church School classrooms.
  • UPDATED Saturday, October 30th: Cake Bake!  A cake baking and decorating extravaganza for the carnival cake walk.  Also, meal preparation/meal hosting for the Interfaith Hospitalit Network.  12:00PM-7:00PM.
  • Sunday, October 31st: This is the Sunday of our fall carnival, and this year, it happens to also be Halloween!  We will set up the carnival during worship, and the carnival will take place during "coffee hour."  Please plan to arrive by 8:30AM.
  • UPDATED November 5th or 6th: A "bounce party" at Pump It Up!  Day (Friday or Saturday) and time TBA on Tuesday, October 19th.

High School Cake Bake!

Saturday, October 30th
12:00-7:00PM

The high school youth group has decided to have a cake baking and decorating extravaganza on Saturday, October 30th (note that this is a change from the earlier plans to do baking on October 29th and decorating on October 30th).

All cakes will be donated to the cake walk at the fall carnival to benefit UNICEF. 

The event will begin at noon.  In the late afternoon, the group will also be preparing dinner for the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) guests.  The event will end after cleanup at 7:00PM.

Youth please bring two boxes of cake mix, any flavor.  We will provide the eggs, butter, and oil.  We will also need folks to bring in contributions of pasta noodles, pasta sauce, salad fixings, meatballs, bread, and garlic butter spread.  Parents of youth or youth, please use the "contact" tab above to contact the Faith Development office with a dinner item you can bring.

Church School Classes Sunday, October 17th

This post is a placeholder for class descriptions that will be posted on Tuesday, October 12th.  Please check back at that time.

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades

This Sunday our Spirit Play classes will have one of the major lessons of the year: the sources and promises of our faith.  In this lesson, we discover the covenant of the congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, which expresses our faith values.  Though we have modified the language to be more accessible to children, the covenant in the original words can be found at this link.  This same lesson was split into two parts in these classes last year, but as many of the children are now familiar with the material, we will try it in a single lesson.  It will be a slightly longer (non-narrative) story than usual, but the children will be invited to participate in its telling.  Afterward, we will have worktime as always.

NOTE: Parents, please remember to take your children to bathroom before class to minimize the number of disruptions during class for bathroom breaks and help us keep up with "best practices" as a Safe Congregation.

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade

Our story this week will be an early Greek creation story.  This story will center on Gaia, a female-creator Goddess.  We'll appreciate the diversity of human wonderings about creation as we weave on simple homemade hand looms and re-enact parts of the story.

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

This Sunday we will come across and make a news report on a "crime scene" as we uncover the mysteries in the Cain and Abel story of the Hebrew Bible.  This lesson is an opportunity for us to explore the source and nature of evil, and our own understandings about "making right" in our modern world.

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

The 7th-8th graders are sure to be glad to return to our curriculum this week.  Walt Cunningham will visit the class as a "resident expert in statistics."  We'll be taking a look at demographic trends in religion before we move onto specific Asian religious traditions.  This will help us understand the influence of modern religions on the world, and it may even challenge some of our own assumptions based on our American Jewish and Christian heritage.  The following week we will begin our religion-specific studies with Classical Hinduism.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

Our time together in youth group this week will include check-in, hanging out and eating yummy food, playing one game or another, a little business, and two guest speakers.  The guest speakers will be speaking about Judaism from their own personal experiences.  One is a recent convert to Judaism, and the other was raised Jewish. 

Please note that the teen choir will begin meeting also on this date, 5:45-6:45PM at 90 Holden Street.

NOTE: Parents, please don't forget the Parent Informational Meeting on the Coming of Age program.  This meeting will take place from 12-1:00PM in the youth lounge.  Please do not delay at coffee hour...refreshments will be served.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Coming of Age" Parent Meeting

Sunday October, 17th
12:00-1:00PM

Parents of high schoolers are invited to attend a parent meeting from 12:00-1:00PM in the youth lounge.  We will provide information about a new ministry of the church: the Coming of Age rite of passage program.  This is a no-obligation meeting.  Come and find out program goals, scope and sequence, dates, and participant responsibilities and opportunities. 

Church School Classes October 10, 2010

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades

This Sunday we have a meditation and prayer "work" to (re)introduce to the children: the finger labyrinth.  We will talk about journeys, and take a journey with our fingers through the labyrinth.  We'll even try a marble!  And, of course, as with all Sundays, we will have worktime.

NOTE: Parents, please remember to take your children to bathroom before class to minimize the number of disruptions during class for bathroom breaks and help us keep up with "best practices" as a Safe Congregation.

Stepping Stone Year and Bibleodeon
3rd-4th Grade and 5th-6th Grade

Our 3rd-6th graders will be attending a children's chapel worship service this week instead of class.  As with all weeks, we begin our morning in the sanctuary, but after dismissal from the sanctuary we will go to the chapel on the third floor.  The theme of the morning will be "friendship."

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

The 7th and 8th graders have chosen the children's chapel theme (friendship) for the younger children and next week will assist in leading chapel.  Several students have volunteered to be the chapel musicians, one has volunteered to be a reader, and there are other jobs still available.  Assistance would be welcome from any 7th or 8th grader who can come a little early to church on Sunday (10AM).

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

The high schoolers have a guest visiting youth group this week: Bunny Guerrin.  Bunny is a congregant who has a wealth of knowledge about Unitarian Universalism, including childhood experiences in this very church and adult experiences here and elsewhere.  Bunny will chat with the youth about Unitarian Universalism, and is glad to answer any questions.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mt. Wachusett Climb

Sunday October 10
After Church

We’re climbing Mt. Wachusett after Church. We’ll use Mountain House Trail, which an easy trail, about a mile long, on the easterly side of the mountain. Little ones, senior citizens, and everyone in between can do this walk, which is a gradual trail with lots of stopping places for anyone who needs to catch their breath. It takes about 30 minutes, or a little longer if you stop frequently to admire the view on the way up. The other option is to take the chair lift from the ski area, but there’s a fee. There is not access to the top by vehicle.  The road is being reconstructed and is closed.

When we get to the top, views of the countryside should be magnificent. Fall foliage should be at its peak. If you bring binoculars, you’ll probably see migrating hawks, and possibly eagles. Little ones (and others) will enjoy hunting for garnets that have eroded out of the rock – not gem quality, but still fun to find.

Mt Wachusett is in Princeton, about 25 minutes north of Worcester. I-190 to Route 140 is the quickest route, but Route 31 through Holden is also an option. Maps will be available. We’ll start from the parking area for Mountain House Trail, on Mountain Road at the intersection with Gregory Road.

The plan is to leave the Church shortly after noon in individual cars or informally arranged carpools. Pack a lunch and eat it when you’re hungry – before leaving the Church, on the way to Mt Wachusett, or on top. The Church will provide cider and cookies on top of the mountain.

Wear boots or sneakers. Dress in layers, with sweaters or sweatshirts and windbreakers. A small backpack is handy for carrying extra coverings, a water bottle, and lunch. If it’s a really chilly day, you may want a hat and gloves. It can be windy and chilly on top. Mt Wachusett is the highest point in Massachusetts east of the Connecticut River, so the wind comes sweeping up the westerly side. Princeton’s Municipal Light Department has two wind turbines on the westerly slope, which supply about 40% of the Town’s electricity.

For those who want a more rigorous climb, there are many other trails up the mountain. Don’t feel that you have to take the short route, but look for us on top when you get there.

Rain Date: We’ve been blessed with many sunny days this fall, but if it rains on October 10, we’ll push the mountain climb to the following Sunday, October 17.

Questions? Call John Mirick 978-464-2313

Monday, September 27, 2010

Interested in Foster Parenting?

Foster parents are badly needed for children of all ages in the Worcester area. For example, in the entire city of Worcester, there are currently only four foster homes taking placements of teens.

Foster parenting can be a form of faith formation for individuals and families. It has had a profound impact on my own faith life, as well as on the faith life of other foster parents in the church.

On Sunday, October 24th at 12:00PM, Worcester Community Connections will offer a presentation at the church for folks interested in foster parenting in Worcester County. I encourage you to attend the session, even if you are not sure foster parenting is for you. It's a no-risk way to simply get more information.

Warmly,
Sierra-Marie

Church School Classes Sunday, October 3rd

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades

This week we will have our first Spirit Play story of the year!  The story comes from the book Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story written by Angela Shelf Medearis and Daniel Minter.  It is about brothers learning to work together and treat one another kindly.  This is an orange promise story (offer fair and kind treatment to all people), and we have chosen it as an opening story for Spirit Play because of the theme of cooperation.
NOTE: Parents, please remember to take your children to bathroom before class to minimize the number of disruptions during class for bathroom breaks and help us keep up with "best practices" as a Safe Congregation.

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade

The Miwok were once the largest American Indian tribe in California.  This Sunday, we will hear their creation story, a story of the first animals making people.  As we work with clay after the story, we will consider some questions about the nature of people and the nature of animals...questions that have likely been considered since the earliest humans.

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

As with the 3rd-4th graders, this week our 5th and 6th graders will be considering creation stories.  The stories considered by this class will be the Hebrew stories of creation.  We'll play a game, read the creation story, listen to music, and continue our doodle books as we ask "where did everything come from?"

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

This Sunday we will take a break from our class curriculum and expand our earlier consideration of pedogogy as we make plans for the Children's Chapel worship for the younger children to take place on October 10th.  Do you want to be a candlelighter, bell ringer, or usher?  Do you want to preach, take up the weekly collection, lead the hymns, or perform music?  Would you like to help with setup?  We'll have a job for you!  If we have time, we'll also do some initial work on our video project.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

Our high schoolers will attend worship this week.  Next week, youth group will resume. 
(Other dates we will be in worship this year are: November 7th, November 28th, December 12th, December 26th, January 2nd, January 16th, February 20th, March 6th, April 10th (Senior High Sunday), April 24th, May 1st, and June 5th.)

Playground at First Unitarian?

There are some parents and other interested individuals gathering to look into the feasibility of a playground at the church. Lots of cool ideas are being floated: community-built playgrounds, kid-designed playgrounds, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and more!  Use the contact form to express your interest so you can get linked in with other interested folks during the early phase of this conversation. 

Social Justice Opportunity

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Guest At Your Table program is an opportunity to symbolically bring a "guest" to the table in the season of Thanksgiving.  The Guest At Your Table boxes are brought home and placed on dining tables where family members of all ages can contribute coins or bills to the box.  While we have provided boxes on occassion in the past, there are opportunities for expansion with this program.  For example, some congregations send home a weekly "story of hope" that families can read at mealtimes as family members consider their blessings.  To expand this program, a group of enthusiastic volunteers would be needed.  If this program is something about which you might get enthusiastic, please use the contact form above to let us know so we can get interested volunteers mobilized for the project. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Children's Choir Updates

Sign-up For Children's Choir!

The children's choir starts in October 17th. The choir will be open to 2nd-8th graders (we also have a teen choir, so please inquire if your high schooler is interested in singing).

There will be 4 two-month units of choir.  The units will run approximately 6-8 weeks each:
  • October/November with choir director Noel Cary
  • January/February with choir director Christy Clark
  • March/April with a choir director TBA
  • May/June with choir director Cindy Cordova
Your children can sign up for just one unit of choir, or as many times as he or she wishes.

Each unit will have a new volunteer choir director and a new set of songs. Each until will also culminate in the performance of one to three songs at a worship service. Rehearsals will usually take place Sunday morning 9:00-10:00AM.

(Please click the "contact" tab above if you'd like to help out!)

New Faith Development Volunteer Opportunities!!

From the Faith Development Committee Chairperson:

We can use your energy and creativity on our new Faith Development Teams! This year we are reconfiguring our RE Committee to try a new team model. Each team will consist of a lead and one or more assistants. Teams will meet as needed to accomplish their goals. Every other month the Teams will meet as a group with the Faith Development Committee Chair, Co-Chair and our DRE (Director of Faith Development) to share information and coordinate efforts. The following Teams have been identified: Events, Communication, Curriculum Planning, Teacher Recruitment and Family Ministry.
If you would like to join or learn more about the Faith Development Teams, please contact Cindy Cordova at cg rnc 2@ ya hoo .com (remove all spaces) or 508-459-0130.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Let's Play!

Family Bowling Party
Saturday, October 2nd 4PM-6PM

Families, please plan to join us at AMF in Auburn on Saturday, October 2nd for a bowling and pizza party from 4-6PM.  This is a casual affair, so come to compete or just come to have fun.  All ages welcome!  Donations of $7-14 per person appreciated, but please join us regardless of the contribution you can afford.  RSVP ASAP by clicking on the "contact" tab above.

Ropes Course for Youth!

Both Youth Groups
Saturday October 2nd

BYKOTA (middle school) and YRU2 (high school) youth group members will receive a permission form packet this week for the October 2nd ropes course from 9:30-3:30.  The cost is $15 per youth.  As always, a sliding scale can be used for anyone who needs it, no questions asked.  Information is always kept confidential, so please don't let money stop your youth from participating.

The ropes course is a great opportunity for our youth to get to know one another better, practice cooperation within the group, and have a ton of fun.  The event includes a mix of both high and low ropes options, tailored to the group and individuals.

Please RSVP using the contact form on this blog (click "contact" tab at the top of the page) as soon as possible so that we have an accurate headcount for the number of youth participating.  We also need one additional chaperone to drive and attend the event. 

Church School Classes September 26, 2010

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades

This week is our first week of class without parents.  Parents, enjoy the worship service!  In class, we will review and complete our orientation, with the addition of an introduction to the yoga cards prayer work as well as painting materials.  This Sunday we will begin our weekly work time, though work time will be slightly abbreviated.   

NOTE: If you were not able to attend parent-child orientation with your child last week, there will be a makeup date at 9:15AM this Sunday in the kindergarten classroom.  Please plan to attend.

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade

This week's creation story is from the Kalahari desert, and is called The Tree With Animal Fruit.  We'll be making our own "tree" as we consider why this was the creation story of the Kung people.  By exploring this story, we hope to engage the children in thinking about the role religious beliefs have in helping people make sense out of their experiences. 

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

This week we will be talking about the measurement of time, and the enormity of time related to the Bible.  We will spend part of our class time together in Unity Hall so we can create a visual for long periods of time.  We'll also have a chance to review how to find our way around both the Hebrew and Christian bibles. 

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

This week we are going to challenge some of our own assumptions and understandings about belief.  Belief doesn't just drive our religious development, but it can influence our religious behaviors and our entire way of looking at and acting in the world.  True to our goal of providing challenging content in this class, we are introducing a number of advanced ideas including the concept of pedogogy, Plato's understanding of soul, and Joseph Campbell's work regarding ego.  We'll keep things fun, though, including watching an old Twilight Zone episode. 

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade

Our high schoolers will also be meeting this week, and their time together will include the finalization of the calendar for the year and the finalization of officer candidates.  High school youth should come prepared with any calendar requests or ideas, as well as a decision about whether they would like to run for a youth officer role this year.  Don't forget the new meeting time: 10AM-12PM.  Please bring a $15 contribution for the snack bucket.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

October Middle and High School Youth Group Events

The following are upcoming events for BYKOTA (middle school) and YRU2 (high school) youth groups.  Youth and families, please mark your calendars:

BYKOTA
  • Friday, October 1st: Help tag and organize items for the First Unitarian Church yardsale 4:00-6:00PM.
  • Saturday, October 2nd: Ropes course at Camp Harrington 9:30AM-3:30PM ($15 per youth).  Watch your mail for more information and permission forms.
  • Sunday, October 3rd: First meeting of the new year!  Meetings are always held on the first Sunday of every month at 9:00AM.  Location TBA (we may be switching from room 1 to room 7).
  • Sunday, October 24th: Possible opportunity to help the Interfaith Hospitality Network move into the Church School classrooms after the morning classes.

YRU2
  • Saturday, October 2nd: Ropes course at Camp Harrington 9:30AM-3:30PM ($15 per youth). Watch your mail for more information and permission forms. Likely cancelation as of Wednesday due to lack of RSVPs from high schoolers
  • Sunday, October 3rd: All high school youth will attend worship.
  • Sundays, October 10th-October 24th: (New) normal meeting time 10AM-12PM.  We'll be working on prepping the fall carnival to benefit UNICEF. 
  • Sunday, October 24th: Possible opportunity to help the Interfaith Hospitality Network move into the Church School classrooms after youth group.
  • NEW Friday, October 29th: Cake-baking at the church for the carnival cake walk
  • NEW Saturday, October 30th: Cake-decorating for the carnival cake walk and meal preparation/meal hosting for the Interfaith Hospitalit Network
  • Sunday, October 31st: This is the Sunday of our fall carnival, and this year, it happens to also be Halloween!  We will set up the carnival during worship, and the carnival will take place during "coffee hour."

Church School Classes September 19, 2010

This Sunday we are "back to Church School."  Our theme for all classes is, of course, "beginnings." 

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades

All Spirit Play classes will have a parent-child orientation this Sunday.  Parents, if possible, please attend class with your child.  If you are teaching in another class, or if both you and your child can't make it to Sunday's orientation, there will be a makeup date at 9:15AM on Sunday, September 26th. 

Parent-child orientation is an opportunity for both children and parents to become acquainted or reacquainted with the Spirit Play classroom and routine, meet their teachers for the year, and practice saying goodbye and hello again to parents at Church School.

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade

This year we will be exploring questions that people have asked all throughout time, the answers different people have come up with, and how people have decided what to believe and how to act.  We're going to spend the Fall talking about one question: How did everything begin? 

So this Sunday, we'll start talking about "beginning stories."  We'll bring back our "camp fire" from last year's class.  If you have some old magazines you can cut pictures out of, bring those along.  We'll be making posters. 

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade

We spent all of last year studying the Christian "New Testament" in the Bible.  This year we will study the Hebrew Bible, or the Christian "Old Testament."  That's two years of Bible.  So what's the big deal about the Bible anyway?  Bring your Bibles from home...your family Bible or the Bible you received at church, and let's talk about the BIG DEAL! 

We'll play some games, crack open our Bibles, and create the covenant of how we want to be in class together this year.

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

Before we can begin to study modern religions of the world, we need to look back on primal religions, on religious beginnings.  Most modern religions have histories dating back 2000 to 3000 years.  However, people have lived their religions for more than 10,000 years.  Because Asian religions are, for the most part, older than Christianity and Islam, we will begin our year together by examining the needs and motivations of primal civilizations.  We'll also come to an agreement about how we want to be in class together through this year.

Note: Our high schoolers will not meet this Sunday due to the Ferry Beach retreat weekend.  Youth who are in town are encouraged to attend worship.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Save the Date...

Family Bowling Party
Saturday, October 2nd

Details will be made available here soon.  We hope you'll join us!

Coming Up...

Sunday, September 19th
  • First day of classes all grade levels preK-8th grade
  • Parent-child orientation in all Spirit Play classes during our normal class time (parents please attend with your children)
  • No youth group due to Ferry Beach family retreat weekend

 
Sunday, September 26th
  • Makeup parent-child orientation for any Spirit Play families that could not be present the prior week, 9:15-9:45 in the kindergarten room
  • High school youth group begins meeting again, at new meeting time 10AM-12PM...bring $15 to contribute to the snack bucket, please, if possible, and bring your calendars

 
Sunday, October 3rd
  • Middle school youth group begins meeting again, at its usual meeting time 9AM-10AM (stay tuned for more details)