Monday, April 26, 2010

Check out the new toy church for the Sunday School

This is quite the "place"!  It's called The Little Church with the Open Door.  Come to the chapel at 11:45, during coffee hour on Sunday.  We'll have cookies, and we'll introduce you to the toy church.  It will be a brief, ceremonious occassion.  The toy church will be a learning tool used in children's chapel worship services and on other occassions to teach the children about liturgy, leadership, and church.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, May 2nd

Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grades (Spirit Play): This Sunday's story is called "I Live in the Universe," and illustrates science as a source of our faith.  If you can this week, explore maps, diagrams, or puzzles of the United States, our continent, our world, and the solar system.  Check out information about our galaxy, the Milky Way, online.   It is amazing and awe-inspiring to be part of this incredible universe.

1st-2nd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days):  On Sunday we will learn about Mbari Day, a celebration of community that comes from Nigeria.  We'll create a shrine, listen to music, and maybe even make soup!  One of our challenges will be to take a task without being able to determine our own roles.  Jean will be our parent helper.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): This week, we will explore the invisible forces in our lives, through the parable of the sower.  See Matthew 13:1-8 and 24-33, as well as Thomas 57:1-4.  Join us as we try to decipher what is meant by "the imperial rule of God." 

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This week we will be working with teachers Bunny and Joanne as we finish the last of the toy church, set up for its presentation, and even start a discussion about "good guys and bad guys." 

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): We'll watch "Thank God It's Doomsday" from the "Gospel According to the Simpsons."   Have you heard people talk about "the rapture" and "armageden?"  Let's figure out the meaning of these concepts and talk about what "the end."

9th-12th Grade (YRU2, high school youth group): This week we will host an open mic "talent show" fundraiser after church, at noon.  We'll use our time together in the morning to set up and prepare for the show and for food service.  Please join us and help out.  All money raised will go directly to benefit relief in Haiti.

May 2nd Open House

Invite your neighbors, friends, and coworkers who might be interested in our programs for their children!  Send reminders to those you have invited!  It's an RE Informational Session THIS Sunday, May 2nd 10:30-11:30am.

Monday, April 19, 2010

For Children and Youth: Sunday, April 25 2010

PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): This week we will complete our "tree of Unitarian Universalism" as we discover the rest of our roots.  Our roots to date have included (children's wording): (1) Our beliefs come from a sense of wonder; (2) Our beliefs come from the people of long ago and today whose lives remind us to be kind and fair; (3) Our beliefs about how to live together come from all the world’s religions.  The roots that will be introduced on Sunday are: (4) Our beliefs come from Jewish and Christian teachings; (5) Our beliefs come from the use of reason and the discoveries of science; (6) Our beliefs come from the harmony of nature and the sacred circle of life.

2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): This Sunday we will celebrate the Buddha's birthday.  We'll hear a story about his life and remember his teachings as we hold a ceremony in which we pour tea over the "Baby Buddha."  Alison will be our parent helper.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): On this Sunday, we will learn about the "Miracles of Capernaum" in a lesson called "Your Trust Has Made You Whole."  We'll explore themes of illness, healing, compassion, and belief.  See Mark 5:21-43, 1:40-45, and 2:1-12.  See also Luke 8:40-56, 5:17-26, and 13:10-17.  And finally, Matthew 9:18-26 and Leviticus 12:45-46. Mary McAlister will be the parent helper.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This Sunday is a makeup lesson.  Our lesson is titled "Rules, Rules, Rules." At first glance, rules seem a simple matter. But what about when rules bump into each other? We'll explore the role of rules in our lives, "good rules" and "bad rules," and rule conflicts.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology):  As we continue "The Gospel According to the Simpsons," we'll watch an episode called "She of Little Faith."  This episode is a play on themes of conversion, faith, and spiritual exploration of young people who disagree with their parent's beliefs.  What do we think about all this?

9th-12th (YRU2, High School Youth Group): Come talk up the May 2nd Open Mic event in the church...make an announcement...visit the 7th-8th grade class to invite 8th graders (incoming 9th graders) to join us on the 2nd....invite folks at coffee hour to come to the event.  We'll work on the preparation, with whoever is present.  We expect a small group due to spring break.

Thanks For Earth Day Efforts!

Thank you to those families who cleared trails on Newton Hill (a part of Elm Park) on the "Family Day of Service."  Five families pitched in, and in the end, and entire trail was prepared for the spring season!  The Greater Worcester Land Trust, which arranged this event for us, invites families to get involved in any number of Earth Day projects they are planning for the first weekend in May.  Friends of Newton Hill, who care for Newton Hill (which is not maintained by the city) invite participation in their Earth Day events in particular.  There is a lot of trash on the hill to be picked up and bagged! 

Fundraiser for Continued Aid For Haiti

The earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti will continue for years to come.  In support, YRU2 (the high school youth group) invites you to:

May 2nd Open Mic Entertainment
In Unity Hall, 12:00pm!!!

Come share your music, poetry, short comedy bits, short stories, or whatever other talented entertainment numbers you have!  All acts must be friendly to audience members of all ages. 

Be entertained by those sharing, and enjoy food and beverages while you watch.  Tickets are $5 per person or $20 for a family of five or more.  Bring your family!  Bring your friends!  All proceeds go directly to recovery efforts in Haiti.

Note that this is a change from the original plan of a Variety Show.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Open House Postcards Are Available

We have postcards you can take to bring to neighbors, family, friends, colleagues, and others you know who might be interested in bringing their children to First Unitarian Church for religious education.  The postcards advertise our May 2nd Religious Education Informational Session.  We hope you will take a few and pass them on.  They are available on the tables in the Bancroft/Dining (middle floor) and Landers (lower floor) rooms.  Please direct folks to our website:, where there is an RSVP link for the event to help us with planning.

Art Show

We need your art this Sunday for the "Children's Art Exhibit" in the chapel.  Please bring in your children's best artwork for display.  We'll even accept submissions of art you made yourself as a child.  Artwork should be framed with a name and age on it. A wire in back for hanging is especially helpful, though not required.  We will keep the artwork on display from May through the summer.  We can accept up to two pieces per individual.  Contact Sierra-Marie at 508-757-2708 x. 105 or s mge rfao @ fir stuni taria (take out all spaces) or Ken M. for information.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, April 18th

This weekend begins school vacation in Worcester Public Schools.  On Sunday, Church School will be closed.

However, this Sunday will be our second and final "Family Day of Service" for the year.  In honor of earth day, we'll be working on "earth clean up" and trail care. This is a great way to pass on environmental values to our children, who will learn through direct experience that we treasure our shared home, the earth, and are its environmental stewards.

Who: This is an event for people of all ages. Come with your children, and if you want, bring your friends too!

What: Trail maintenance and clean-up.

Where: The East-West Trail on Newton Hill. Please park in the upper parking lot of Doherty High School (go to top and turn left). We'll have tools and instructions at the service gate.

When: Sunday, 10:00am-1:30pm...come for as much or as little time as you would like.

We encourage you to coordinate with one another and carpool. We encourage those who live in the area of the trail to walk or ride bikes.

How: Friends of Newton Hill will provide us with materials and instructions. Bring a rake, however, if you have one.

Attire: Wear attire (including footwear) appropriate for outdoor tasks. Long sleeves, long pants, and bug repellant of one sort of another would be a good idea. Don't forget sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and especially GARDEN GLOVES, if possible, for all members of the family.

Other Notes:
  • Don't forget to pack a picnic lunch if you plan to work over lunch time.
  • Please bring WATER!
  • All parents are responsible for the supervision of their children.
  • If we must cancel for any reason, including weather, you will be able to hear about the cancellation by calling 508-757-2708 x. 105 and listening for the outgoing message. If we cancel, we will provide alternative activities for the children during worship at the church.

Monday, April 5, 2010

For Children and Youth: Sunday, April 11 2010

PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): Our story this week is from our “prophetic voices” source of our faith, which our children have learned as: “people of long ago and today whose lives remind us to be kind and fair.” The story is about a child remembering her uncle after his death, and the many things that he taught her about how to live.

The story takes place in the child’s living room while the family makes a quilt from the uncle’s old clothing. While the story originates from a death, the themes of the story are found in the lessons the uncle taught each of the family members by the way he lived his own life and their memories of him.  Our teachers are Kelley and another teacher TBA in PreK, Renee in kindergarten (NOTE: We need a parent helper for kindergarten), and Joonu and Jen in 1st grade. 

2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): This Sunday we will celebrate Earth Day.  The seventh promise of our Unitarian Universalist covenant is to honor the interdependent web of life, of which we are a part.  We will probably spend some time outdoors, so please dress appropriately for the weather.  Bring jackets or wear sunscreen to class if needed.  Teachers TBA, Jen will be our parent helper.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals):  Every person is worthy.  This Sunday in class, we'll be considering Jesus' relationship to children and also the biblical story of Mary and Martha.  See Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:13-16, and Luke 18:15-17 and 10:38-42.  Our teachers will be Scott and Henry.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This Sunday our lesson is titled "Rules, Rules, Rules."  At first glance, rules seem a simple matter.  But what about when rules bump into each other?  We'll explore the role of rules in our lives, "good rules" and "bad rules," and rule conflicts.  Teachers TBA.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): As we continue to enjoy "The Gospel According to the Simpsons," we'll watch an episode especially chosen for Earth Day themes while we look at issues of honoring and protecting the earth.  Jen and Gina will be teaching.

NOTE: Our middle school youth group (BYKOTA) will have its monthly business meeting at 9:00am this Sunday.  We were delayed by one week due to the holiday. 

9th-12th Grade (YRU2, High School Youth Group): Join us for fellowship, discussion, and planning for our upcoming Variety Show and retreat at Craigville.

Thank You For Your Childcare Survey Responses

...the 32 of you who responded to our survey on childcare.  Your feedback was very helpful.  At this time, the Lay Leadership Committee has a tentative plan to begin phasing out Thursday evening childcare in light of budgetary limits and the age of the children who have been participating.  As a result of your survey responses, next fall, we hope to experiment with programatic options as an alternative to childcare on Sunday afternoons and/or Monday evenings. 

Community partnerships may prove beneficial for everyone involved.  We are looking at a music school at this time that is hoping to begin offering classes in Worcester.  We may look into additional options as well.  If you know of any organizations or teachers looking for a building in which to offer classes for children, please let Sierra-Marie know at smge rfa o @ fir st unit aria -- take out all spaces -- or 508-757-2708 ext. 105 so that a match for partnership might be explored (we can't gaurantee that every organization/teacher will be a good match, but we look forward to the opportunity to speak with all potential partners).

Second Family Day of Service

On Sunday, April 18th, we will have our second and final "Family Day of Service" at the church for the year.  In celebration of Earth Day, our opportunities will largely be ecological in focus. 

We will not have Church School classes on that day.  If you would like to help plan the day's activities, please contact Sierra-Marie at smg er fao @ fi rstun itar ian. com (please remove all spaces) or 508-459-2588.

Please Take Our Survey!

Dear Parents of PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade Students:

Spirit Play is a Montessori model of Church School for children. We used the Spirit Play model this year in preK, kindergarten, and 1st grade. As a Cooperative Church School, we shape our ministry for children collectively, and can make decisions together about its future. Please take approximately 10 minutes for this survey to help in that process.  Your participation is critical.  Thank you for your time!