Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's a Party!

During coffee hour on Sunday we will be serving cake and punch in honor of five youth who have successfully completed the Coming of Age rite of passage program.  We need two volunteers who are willing to slice and serve the cake and one or two volunteers who are willing to prepare the punch.  Can you help?  If so, please use the "contact" tab above to get in touch with the Office of Faith Development Ministries.

For Children and Youth: Church School Classes February 6, 2011

Note: We are still collecting personal hygeine items for care kits to send to the Veterans' Shelter.  If you are able, please bring small toiletry items into church this Sunday and place them in the baskets on the table between the dining and Bancroft rooms.  The children will be placing these items into washcloth pouches on February 13th.

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
Please join us this Sunday as we hear a story from our very own congregation, maybe even from you.  The story is about making personal care kits for the Veterans' shelter.  This story reminds us that everyone has needs.  We all require help sometimes, and we can all give help sometimes.  This story is a indigo promise story (insist on a fair and peaceful world).  As usual, our storytime is followed by a worktime with child-directed activities.

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
We have been exploring in class the stories of science that can help us make meaning from our lives.  This we we will hear the stories of animals.  We'll learn a little about Darwin and we'll be going outside for a while, so please dress for the weather. 

Bibleodeon (5th-6th Grade), Sacred Threads (7th-8th Grade), and YRU2 (High School)
All three of the above groups will not meet during the worship service this Sunday.  Instead, please attend worship this week in support and honor of the five youth who will be sharing their personal credos with the congregation as the final step in their Coming of Age rite of passage.

Note: BYKOTA (Middle School Youth Group) will have their monthly meeting this week at 9:00AM in room 7.  BYKOTA members who also participate in the children's choir may wish to divide their time between both BYKOTA and choir, or they may prefer to participate in one or the other this week.

Calendars For First Unitarian Families

Parents of Children and Youth:
The Faith Development Teams would like to hear from you about the electronic calendar programs you use, if any.  Specifically, the teams are interested in whether it would be helpful to have Faith Development calendars, such as youth group or special event calendars, in a format that would allow for easy import of calendar items into your electronic calendars. 

If you are a parent of a child or youth and you use an electronic calendar (such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, Google Calendar, Windows Live Calendar, Mozilla Thunderbird or Sunbird, iCal, or Yahoo! Calendar, etc.), please click this survey link and take one minute of your time to answer three quick and easy questions. 

Thank you for your help!

Children's Choir Continues

The children's choir has been rehearsing at 9:00AM each Sunday.  We could use some more voices, especially boy voices.  If your child might be interested in participating, please use the "contact" tab above to get in touch with the Office of Faith Development Ministries.

The choir will rehearse each Sunday now through March 27th, with the exception of the Sunday before and the Sunday after February School Vacation for Worcester Public Schools (February 20th and 27th).  On March 27th, this session of choir will wrap up with the children singing during worship in the sanctuary.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Church School Classes: Sunday, January 30th

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
Please join us this Sunday as we hear a story of Chickadee and Cardinal, who will find out how one single snowflake can break an entire branch off a tree. This story is a first/red promise story (respect each person as a child of God).  As usual, our storytime is followed by a worktime with child-directed activities.

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
How did the world begin? How did life begin? We have learned the creation stories read in stars and the creation stories found in drops of water. This Sunday we will explore the creation stories found in fossils. We'll even make our own fossil replicas.

5th-6th Grade
This Sunday we continue studying Moses' story through the desert years.  We'll consider the concept of "God's chosen people," start familiarizing ourselves with the passover seder, and even have a treasure hunt to help us explore this story. 

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
We'll finally start our long-awaited video project this Sunday.  7th and 8th graders, come help get the ball rolling!  Do you have a digital video camera or other equipment that would be helpful?  Can you assist with a video project?  If so, please contact Sierra-Marie using the contact tab above. 

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
Youth group meets from 10AM-12PM.  Youth group activities have not been planned as of the publication of this newsletter, but overall program goals include worship, learning, service, friendship, and leadership.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Church School Classes January 23, 2011

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
On Sunday we will consider these values:
  • respect each person 
  • offer fair and kind treatment to all
  • yearn to learn about ourselves, each other, and the Spirit of Love and Mystery that many people call God
  • grow by searching for what is true and right in life  
  • believe in and share your ideas, and learn from others as they share their ideas
  • insist on a fair and peaceful world
  • value the earth, the home we all share
These are the principals of our faith, using the colors of the rainbow as a memory cue.  For the "advanced wording," see the covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
In our Stepping Stone class we will continue our unit on meaning-making through science.  We'll discover a long chain of evolution as we find the many stories carried in a single drop of water.  On this special Sunday we will also be telling the children a Spirit Play story on the principals and sources of Unitarian Universalism.  We are taking a break from our usual class material to tell this story in order to contextualize for our children the various units we have been exploring in our class together. 

5th-6th Grade
Join us on Sunday as we get acquainted with the biblical Moses through an enthusiastic dramatic presentation and the making of our own clay commandment tablets.  The theme we will explore in this first of a two part series on Moses is the exercise of leadership.  The "mystery of the day" is stated this way: "When should we lead and when should we follow?" 

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade

In our time together this Sunday we will seek to better understand religious practice by introducing a visual meditation device used by both Hindus and Buddhists: mandalas.  We'll experiment with the device ourselves, and the helpful properties of a circle in understanding religions.  If time allows, we may talk briefly about the Chinese-Tibetan relationship and its history.   
Note: This class will be working on a video project the following Sunday, January 30th.  Do you have a digital video camera or other equipment that would be helpful?  Can you assist with a video project?  If so, please contact Sierra-Marie using the contact tab above. 

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
Please join us for a time to connect, plan for upcoming events, play a game, and discuss an item of spiritual, religious, or ethical interest during youth group on Sunday, from 10AM-12PM.  Note that Coming of Age will meet on Sunday from 12:30-2:00.  During our time together in Coming of Age we will share our credos and celebrate the accomplishments of each Coming of Age youth.

Day of Service Updates

We are preparing personal care kits for folks at the veterans' shelter.  A huge thanks to Cindy C. for getting this project going on Sunday!  The kits will contain personal hygeine items.

If you can, between now and February 13th, please bring in items such as:
  • Toothbrushes
  • Small or medium sized tubes of toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Compact bars of soap
  • Travel size cans of shaving cream
  • Deodorant
  • Combs
  • Travel size foot powder
  • Lip balm
  • Travel size shampoo and conditioner
These items will be placed in "washcloth pouches."  There is still more sewing to be done on the pouches, and all are invited to sew a pouch whenever here on a Monday or Sunday. 

To see more items on the Veterans, Inc. wishlist, click here

Thanks for your help!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

BYKOTA Sleepover

The BYKOTA (middle school youth group) sleepover is coming up on Saturday, January 22nd.  Parents of middle schoolers, please don't forget to mark your family calendar.  Permission forms will arrive in the mail this week.

Church School Classes Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Sunday we will not hold any church school classes or youth group events.  Instead, we will worship together as a congregation of all ages in a special Martin Luther King Day worship service. 

Worship packets and a "fidget" item will be provided for kids who need something to do with their hands.  Parents may find it helpful to bring silent toys or books for especially young children.  Songs we will sing are:

#335 Red Hymnal -- "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" (Mahalia Jackson version)
#428 Red Hymnal -- "When Israel Was In Egypt's Land" (Louis Armstrong version)
Order of Service Insert -- "Shall We Gather at the River"

After worship we will have an abbreviated "Day of Service" activity available in coffee hour.  This is an opportunity for kids and adults alike to do something together as a community to benefit the larger community. This is the best context in which our children can learn the value of hope and action. If you plan to be in town Martin Luther King Day weekend, please plan to participate in this event with us. Participation is open to all.  Our abbreviated project this year is the handsewing of "washcloth pouches" in which personal hygiene items will be packaged.  The items will then be given to the Veteran's Shelter. 

Of course, the best opportunities to make a difference in the community often involve building relationships and working for justice.  For information about other projects you can get involved in as part of the larger Martin Luther King Day of Service movement, visit:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Children's Choir Sign-Ups Begins

Our second session of children's choir will begin on Sunday!  Please sign up if you have not done so already!  Christy Clark will direct the choir, and the choir will rehearse:
  • January 23rd
  • January 30th
  • February 6th
  • February 13th
  • NO REHEARSAL February 20th and 27th (Feb. school vacation)
  • March 6th
  • March 13th
  • March 20th
The choir will sing in worship on March 27th.  
Please use the "contact" tab above to let the Faith Development Office know if your child plans to participate. 

You're Invited

One thing we can do to prepare for a smooth transition to a new Director of Faith Development Ministries next year is staff all of our Church School classes in the spring.  It is important that we don't delay!

If you are curious about teaching, but aren't sure about signing up, please come to an hour-long, no-obligation informational luncheon in the Religious Education wing downstairs on Sunday, January 23rd at noon.  Learn what we are doing in our classes and what teaching entails, and even hear from people who are teaching currently about their thoughts on the experience.  Use the "contact" tab above to RSVP so we can better plan for lunch.

This is a no-risk way to find out what you always wanted to know!

Important Meeting With the Religious Education Search Committee

Members of the Religious Education Search Committee invite you to join us on Sunday, January 9, from noon-1:00 PM downstairs in the religious education wing of the church. During the past few months we have been listening to your ideas and exploring what is happening in other UUA congregations around the country, and would now like to share with you our vision for faith development for children, youth, adults and families at First Unitarian. Please join us this coming Sunday for this important conversation as we prepare to advertise the position for our new Director for Faith Development Ministries in February/March.

Church School Classes January 9, 2011

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
On Sunday we will continue celebrations begun last week of our existence in a vast and great universe.  Our PreK and Kindergarten classes will hear a story called I Look Out at the Stars, which explores perspectives through the wonder-inspiring notion of being held to the earth by gravity.  The 1st and 2nd grade class will hear a story about our bodies being made of hydrogen created (13.7) 14 billion years ago at the start of the universe.  This is adapted from material at   

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
In our Stepping Stone class we are starting a new unit on meaning-making through science.  As with the younger grades, we too will be considering "the stars."  We'll talk about everything from the universe's creation to the makeup of planets.   

5th-6th Grade
This week we will have the second of a 2 part series on Joseph, favored son of Jacob in the Hebrew Bible.  Through a dramatized "modern version" of the story and discussion, we'll consider the connection between Joseph's story and our own lives. 

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
This Sunday we'll be introduced to a religion that connects Asia to the Middle East: Sikhism. This is very different from Jainism, which we recently studied (both are, however, very small religions on the global scale), so we'll look at the foundations of Sikhism and consider the concept of syncretism. As a part of our studies, we'll compare the consolidation of Unitarianism and Universalism into one tradition with the creation of Sikhism.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
Note that Coming of Age will meet on Saturday from 4PM-midnight.  During our time together we will finish a rough draft of our credos.  On Sunday morning from 10AM-12PM, the youth group will gather for a "party" and pizza-making.