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.