Monday, February 22, 2010

For Children and Youth: Sunday, February 28th

PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): This Sunday we begin learning the sources of our living faith tradition.  We'll begin with an introduction to the first three sources, which will be presented to the children as: (1)  "Our beliefs come from a sense of wonder. We learn by asking why." (2)  "Our beliefs come from the people of long ago and today whose lives remind us to be kind and fair. We learn by hearing their stories."  (3)  "Our beliefs come from learning about the world’s religions. We learn from many cultures."   Our teachers in preK will be Suzanne and Laura, our teacher in Kindergarten will be Carrie with parent helper Maryanne, and our 1st grade teachers will be Jen and Amy.

The visual we use for teaching the sources is a "Unitarian Universalist tree," with each source as a root that feeds the tree.  Just as with the promises, starting next week our children will have one story each week on each of these sources (total of approximately two per source). Once we have completed stories for the first three, we will move on to the second three sources.

2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): On Sunday we will take a "UU Pilgrimage" to discover and celebrate the courage of Unitarian Universalist "pioneers" in the struggle for religious freedom, including Michael Servetus, Francis David, George DeBenneville, and Joseph Priestly.  We will also make our own "flaming chalices."  Our teachers will be Kim and Dave with parent helper Laura.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): In a lesson called "Love Your Enemies," this week we will again visit the Sermon on the Mount.  The portion of the Sermon on the Mount we'll explore is a passage that has puzzled and frustrated many for centuries.  It is a passage about turning the other cheek and walking the second mile, as well as a passage about loaning money to those you know won't return it.  See Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6:27-29 and 32-35, and finally Thomas 95:1-2 (non-canonical texts).  There have been few individuals who have managed to put nonviolent defiance into practice on a lage scale (e.g. Ghandi), but the results have been startling in those cases, so we'll explore them.  Our teacher will be Cindy with parent helper Mary.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): Please join us on Sunday as we explore the meaning of spirituality and ask about the possibilities of souls and the realities of conscience.  We'll look at religious beliefs around the world and what they have to say about souls.  What is the relationship between beliefs about souls and human nature, and beliefs about God or gods?  Our teacher will be Brandt with parent help from Anita.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): In our Gospel According to the Simpsons series, this week we'll be watching an episode called "There's Something About Marrying."  We'll explore values as we discuss religious as well as cultural struggles over the meaning of marriage.  When is there a relationship between values and politics, and what kind of relationship should there be between the two?  Also, what is the relationship between faith and values?  This lesson is particularly complementary to our Our Whole Lives (OWL/values-based sex ed) class.  Helen and Tim will teach.  Please note that we may have to provide an alternate lesson due to video rental availability.

Note: The Our Whole Lives class will reconvene this week after two Sundays off for February vacation.  We will be discussing unplanned pregnancies. 

9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): We'll continue working on our upcoming variety show/coffee house, and we'll have a discussion from the small group ministry books.  Please be sure to come with your ideas and talents as we prepare for the variety show!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Book Discussion For Parents on Feb. 27

On Saturday, February 27th, from 3-5pm we will gather to discuss the book Full Circle by Kate Tweedie Erslev (now Kate Tweedie Covey).    The book is available by in-store purchase in Boston or by online or telephone order at the UUA bookstore:  It is a short book and a very quick read, so if you don't have a copy yet but would like to participate, there is still time.   Please RSVP to Sierra-Marie at 508-757-2708 x. 105 or s mge rfao @ fir stunit arian .com (please remove all spaces).

Feb. 28th BYKOTA (Middle School Youth Group) Rock Climbing

This event has been rescheduled for 3-5pm on Sunday, March 14th.  Permission forms will arrive in your mailbox this week.  Please continue to check back at this entry of the blog for details as they become available.

Thank You to All the Volunteers at the Ice Cream Social!

Thank you very much to our kids in the 2nd-12th grade for together throwing a fun Valentine's Day Ice Cream Social!  All of you did a WONDERFUL job!

Thank you also to these adults:

Thank you DeeDee B. for the beautiful centerpeices (and the BYKOTA bakesale candy house).  Amazing!

Thank you to Scott H, Rudy C, Kris J, Gina G, Cindy C, Diane M, Diane O, Amy B, Cindy B, Pat C, Ben M, DeeDee B, Martha F, and many others (apologies for omissions) for all the incredible hard work in set up and break down.

And thank you to all the congregation for joining us for the party, for your patience in the line for coffee, for humoring us with some games, and for your support of the BYKOTA (middle school youth group) Valentine's bakesale.  We hope you had fun! 

The middle school youth are glad to report that they earned $200 in their bakesale.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, February 21st

PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): This week we will do some meditation/prayer work from our Church Corner.  We will explore a finger labryinth as we talk about the ways people pray.  We'll also revisit our yoga cards on this day.  Come and work with us!  Our preschool teachers will be Gina and Laura, our kindergarten teachers Renee with parent helper Jen, and our 1st grade teachers Vivian and Joonu.

2nd-5th Grade (Holidays and Holy Days and Jesus and the Kingdom): Please join us for a special children's chapel worship service as we prepare for the earth to come alive for spring!  Please feel free to bring something for our altar that reminds you of the spring.  After we are dismissed from the sanctuary, we will head up together to the chapel on the 3rd floor.  This service will include painting a giant banner for the sanctuary in celebration of our 225th church anniversary.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This Sunday we will explore variations of theological beliefs.  We'll talk about gods created and Gods "uncreated."  Who are the gods and Gods of some of the world's religions, and what are their stories?  What are the major types of theologies?  Our teachers will be Bunny and Joanne.  Please note that we will also have a continued class meeting at 9:33.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): Please join us for another episode of the Simpsons in our "Gospel of the Simpsons."  In this episode, Homer thinks he has only 24 hours left to live and has to decide what to do.  What would you do?  Our teachers will be Jen and Gina.  Please note that there is no "Our Whole Lives" (OWL/sex ed) this week. 

9th-12th Grade (YRU2): After a couple weeks of special activities, let's regather and spend some time on check in and social time together.  The youth group will soon begin its "small group ministry" style curricular discussions on faith.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Seeking Dolls For Our "Doll Church"

6th grade teacher and dollhouse maker extraordinaire, Bunny G, is making a "doll church" for our children! 

This dollhouse style church includes many precious touches such as a banner with an Emerson quote, a beautiful flower arrangement for the altar, long candle sticks for candle lightings at the pulpit, a chalice, the grey hymnals (which will be made by our children) and more!  The church will be used to teach the children about a number of topics, from:
  • the identity of the Angel Gabriel (who adorns the church weathervane)...
  • to Corinthians (one of the church bibles is open to a page in Corinthians)...
  • to the history of founding churches (we'll have a building dedication ceremony for our little Doll Church)...
  • to Unitarian Universalist Church Polity and governance (we'll also install the church minister of our little Doll Church and make up a governing board)...

Bunny and one of our 6th grade students made up the Doll House "Search Committee" and have selected a minister for the congregation (he is a unique doll with a beard, and Bunny is currently making a robe for him!).  Bunny has also acquired a few congregants, but we will need several more.

This blog post is your invitation to contribute a doll to our dollhouse.  What fun doll selection is!  We encourage creativity.  If you want, get a doll that looks like yourself, or an important figure in our own congregation.  Bunny has sample dolls available so you can get the correct sizing/scale.  Please ask if you are interested.  Direct your questions to Bunny G. or to Sierra-Marie at 508-757-2708 ext. 105 or s mg erfa o@ fir stun itar ian. com (please take out all spaces).

Thanks in advance for your contributions of dolls to this fun education medium.

Note: Monetary donations to help cover the costs of this project are also gratefully received!  Make out checks to First Unitarian Church, place "Doll Church" in the memo line, and send to Jennifer Bowes at the church address.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our Unitarian Universalist Promises

In the first half of the 2009-2010 school year, our Spirit Play children have learned about the "promises" we make as Unitarian Universalists.  These are children's versions of the principles of the covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations.  We use the colors of the rainbow to help the children remember them.  The first letter of each promise is the same as the first letter of each color.

  • Red: Respect all people.
  • Orange: Offer fair and kind treatment to ourselves and others.
  • Yellow: Yearn to learn about ourselves, each other, and the Mystery.
  • Green: Grow by searching for what is true and right in life.
  • Blue: Believe in our ideas, share them, and listen as others share their ideas.
  • Indigo: Insist on a fair and peaceful world.
  • Violet: Value the earth, our home.

Monday, February 8, 2010

OWL Schedule Change?

Parents of students attending OWL (sex ed), please note that a change to the schedule has been proposed.  The proposed change would enable us to finish OWL in March rather than April.  It would involve an extended, three hour session the last Sunday in March.  We would offer a parent program concurrently.  Further details have been emailed to you.  Please keep in touch about how this might work for your family.

Getting Ready for the Easter Egg Hunt

Last year we tried for the first time having an Easter Egg hunt for the children after church on Easter Sunday!  It was a fun experience, and we learned a lot about how to do it.

We'd like to do it again.  We'll need volunteers to hide the eggs (teen volunteers very welcome!) during the worship service.  We'll also be collecting filled plastic Easter Eggs in March.

The eggs should be filled with small toys, stickers, money, or candy. 

Please no candy with nuts, including peanuts and tree nuts!!  This is very important because a candy with nuts can contaminate a whole bag full of eggs.  Once you've filled your eggs, place them in a bag or basket and label the bag or basket with your name, the number of eggs, and what you've filled them with (this last item is because we divide the items up by classes and can address allergens and age appropriateness for groups where this is an issue). 

The week before Easter we'll have an egg counting and sorting event!  Plan to come and will be fun!

BYKOTA Bakesale

During the ice cream social this Sunday, our middle school youth group (BYKOTA) will be having a bakesale/chocolate raffle to raise money for their activities.  Don't forget to bring a little cash and support this group!

Valentine's Day Party!!!

Please don't forget to join us this Sunday after church for an all ages Valentine's Day ice cream social in Unity Hall.  This will be THE coffee hour, just like during the fall Unicef Carnival and the Hanukkah Party. 

There are many ways you can help.  Please consider volunteering to:
  • Provide music during the party
  • Provide decorations (we already have a volunteer making centerpeices for our tables)
  • Bring some ice cream or sorbet, or no-nut toppings (we are especially in need of folks willing to contribute the gluten and dairy free ice cream, which can be purchased by the pint at Living Earth...we'll need three or four pints)
  • Bring a craft or game for kids to do during the party
  • Lead a craft or game for kids during the party
  • Lead a game for everyone (kids and adults) that helps get people mingling
Volunteer by contacting Sierra-Marie at 508-757-2708 ext. 105 or s mgerf ao @firs tunit aria (remove all spaces).

Kid Greeter Training

Our training for "Kid Greeters" will be on Sunday, February 28th at 8:45am.  If you have a child who was nominated for this position and has accepted, please plan to bring your child to this training.  If you would like to nominate another child, please contact Sierra-Marie at 508-757-2708 ext. 105 or s mge rfa o @fi rst unit aria (take out all spaces).

For Children and Youth: Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Note: 6th graders, please plan to gather at 9:39am!  We will have a class meeting. 

Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade (Spirit Play): As our Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) guests will still be here on Sunday, we will meet as a single combined class in the chapel on the 3rd floor.  Please prepare your children for a Sunday that is out of the ordinary, though we will bring our lesson baskets upstairs and follow the regular class schedule.  The children will review all promises from "red through violet" in a new story, with new props.

2nd grade-8th Grade (Holidays and Holy Days, Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals, Amazing Grace, and Popcorn Theology): All children not in Spirit Play will meet together as one large group in Unity Hall on the third floor to prepare the intergenerational Valentine's ice cream social that will take place after church on Sunday (during fellowship/coffee hour).  The children will be learning about hospitality and practicing their host and hostess skills.  Children are invited to dress nicely for this event if they wish. We need parent volunteers to help with this party!  Please contact Sierra-Marie at 508-757-2708 ext. 105 or smg erf ao@ fir st unitar ian. com (take out all spaces please).

Monday, February 1, 2010

For Children and Youth: Sunday, February 7, 2010

Note: This Sunday is Senior High Sunday.  Children are especially welcome to attend the special Senior High worship service. We will have classes through 3rd grade, but older children will not have classes in order to accommodate their attendance at worship. Those young and young at heart are encouraged to wear their pajamas to church, whether to class or to the worship service.  One of our teens brought this message to the kids in their Sunday School classes last week, and the kids are very excited about the idea!

Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): Please join us for our final lesson from our "promise story" series.  This will be our violet promise, completing our rainbow.  The violet promise is to value the earth, our home.  We will discover one meaning of the word "value" in a very simple story.  As usual, the children will have a "wondering" discussion, worktime, and a feast!  Our preK teachers will be Gina and Kelley.  Our kindergarten teacher will be Diane, assisted by our first parent helper in this class: Maryanne!  Our first grade teachers will be Joonu and Amy.

2nd and 3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): As we prepare for the Lenten season, this Sunday we will have a lesson on Mardi Gras.  We'll makes masks and hats, have a carnival, and then clean up for lent.  We'll mark lent with ashes on our foreheads.  We are integrating a couple of teaching schedules currently, so our teachers are to be announced. 

4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Grades will not have clasess, as we are asking these children to attend the worship service led this Sunday by our senior high school students.

Teen Choir update

Notes for Worcester’s joint UU TEEN CHOIR – Jan. 31, 2010

Regular rehearsal times: Every SUNDAY 5:45pm-6:45pm unless otherwise noted, Holden Street church sanctuary.

Please email David ( ahead of time if you know you will be absent for any rehearsal or a performance.

Schedule of Upcoming Performances and special dates:

Saturday, February 6 (not a teen choir event, but a majority of us are involved anyway) - rehearsal for downtown church senior high Sunday service – theme “Where the Wild Things Are” Anyone who has song ideas should communicate directly with Anna Lindgren.

Sunday, February 7 Senior High Sunday 10:30am service at downtown church (come by 9:30am)

Note also: Because the Holden Street Youth group is lined up to help with dinner for IHN guests (homeless) arriving that day at downtown church, NO TEEN CHOIR REHEARSAL on Feb. 7.

Sunday February 28, 11:00am service at Holden Street church (come by 10:15am)

“Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Nobody Knows (the Trouble I’ve Seen)”

David Spanagel director; Becky Spanagel, piano

Sunday March 21, 9:00am and 11:00am youth-led services at Holden Street church (come by 8:30am)

Songs “Heaven” (?); selections from “Hair”(?)

9:00 directed by David Spanagel, piano Becky Spanagel

11:00 directed by Rebecca Ziegler, piano Matt Johnsen

Sunday April 11 10:30am service downtown church (come by 9:30am)

Songs TBD