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. 

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.

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
    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!
    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,

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.

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.