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.


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.

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. 

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:

  • 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.

  • 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. 

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)


Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's Homecoming for Our Kids...

Come Party With Us!
On Ingathering Sunday, September 12th

Who: Kids preK through 8th grade (parents of young children please join your children)

What: "Back to the Future" Party

Where: 3rd floor in Unity Hall

When: After dismissal from worship at around 10:45, all kids will head up to Unity Hall together for the party, which will occur through 11:45

Why: In celebration of coming back together after the summer, and in excitement for the future of our year together

Wear: Clothing that is a "blast from the past" or a guess about the future is optional, but whatever you wear, make sure it is suitable for active and messy play including jumping, running, crawling, and climbing

Please Bring: Some party-ready food to products with nuts please, and please label all food according to whether or not it contains the common allergens of gluten, dairy, or soy

NOTE for High Schoolers: High schoolers who are not helping with the younger kids will gather in the youth room for a pizza party during this time.  Pizza will arrive around 11am.

It's Homecoming for Our High Schoolers...

Come Party With Us!
On Ingathering Sunday, September 12th

Who: High School Youth, 9th-12th grades

What: Pizza Party

Where: The Youth Room, Mezzanine Level

When: 10:30-11:45AM

Why: To catch up with each other after the summer