Monday, February 28, 2011

Upcoming Deadline

Please take note that the last day to purchase tickets for the Worcester Sharks Faith and Family Day (March 13th, 3PM hockey game followed by a post-game skate) is Sunday, March 6th.  Tickets are $11 per person (child or adult).  If we have a group going, we will reserve a First Unitarian Church seating section.  Please use the "contact" tab above to get in touch with the Faith Development Office if you would like to purchase tickets to this event. 

For Children and Youth: Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spirit Play PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
This Sunday we will have a yellow promise story (yearn to learn about ourselves, each other, and the Spirit of Love and Mystery that some call God).  The story is called "Small Fry" and is about a fish who gets a peak at the world outside the water and is forever changed.  "Small Fry lived in a pond at the foot of great mountain. The dark waters made it impossible for his school of fish to see anything except the watery world in which they lived. All day Small Fry and the other fish swam in circles, round and round, each fish moving at the same time, each in the same direction."

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
In this second week in our unit on making decisions, we'll be talking about the Golden Rule.  We'll hear Jesus' version of the Golden Rule and will consider different scenarios of decision-making in which the Golden Rule could be tricky. 

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade
This Sunday we will have the first of two lessons on Solomon.  This week we will focus on his words and deeds as we begin the creation of a model of his temple.  This week we will explore the concept of wisdom as it applies to Solomon's life, and next week we will consider the concept of obediance. 

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
Our class on Sunday will be about the roots of Indian Buddhism.  Through exploring Buddhism's origin in India, we will learn about Buddhism's "four noble truths" and "eightfold path."  We will also complete our viewing and discussion of the video, "The Little Buddha." 

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
Youth group meets from 10:00AM-12:00PM.  Please plan to be present for the whole session.  After youth group, we will have an extra rehearsal of the teen choir.  Bring $3-5 to contribute to food if you are able, and regardless, stay for lunch whether or not you are singing.  We'll have a "Chinese Food Feast."  Sunday evening is a screening event of the movie "The Laramie Project" at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester.

Monday, February 21, 2011

High Schoolers, Your RSVPs are Needed

Upcoming in YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
  • Possible bake sale and benefit screening of the movie "The Laramie Project" with the Holden Street Youth Group on March 6th, 6:30-8:30PM.  Pending parent approval and advisor availability.
  • Sleepover and movie marathon Friday March 11th through Saturday March 12th.  We've invited the Holden Street Youth Group to join us for this event.  Times, details, and permission forms to be sent out soon.
  • April 1st-3rd Trip to New York City with the Holden Street Youth Group.  Please note that we need an immediate RSVP from all interested youth.  A mandatory trip planning meeting will be held the evening of March 1st at 90 Holden Street. 
  • April 10th is Senior High Sunday, during which we lead worship for the congregation and honor our graduating seniors.  We will begin planning for this during Sunday morning youth group meetings in March. 
  • On Easter Sunday, April 24th, youth in the 6th-12th grade are invited to either attend worship or spend that time hiding Easter Eggs for the younger children's after-worship Easter egg hunt. 
  • Over Memorial Day Weekend, May 25th-27th, we will have our annual retreat at Craigville.  If you would like to attend this event, you must reply right away, as we need to get a headcount to the retreat center.  
High Schoolers, please click the "contact" tab above and let us know which of these events you plan to attend.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

For Children and Youth: Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spirit Play PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
This Sunday we will have a green promise story (grow by searching for what is true and right in life).  The story is adapted from The Empty Pot.  From the book review on Amazon: "Ping is a Chinese boy with an emerald green thumb; he can make anything grow 'as if by magic.' One day the Emperor announces that he needs a successor, someone who can carry on after he is gone with the ruling of the kingdom and the growing of the flowers. He gives each child one seed, and the one who grows the best flower will take over after him. Competition is fierce, and Ping is heartbroken that nothing comes up, despite his careful tending. On the day of the competition, he is the only child with an empty pot; all the others brings lush plants. But the Emperor has tricked everyone by distributing cooked seeds, unable to grow; and Ping, with his empty pot, is the only honest gardener--and the winner."

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
Unitarian Universalists believe in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.  We each make meaning from our lives.  One way that we do that is by making decisions. What choices are yours? What choices are already made for you? This Sunday we are going to be thinking about choices: both easy choices and hard choices.  Before Sunday, take some time to speak as a family about who owns different decisions about your 3rd or 4th grader's lives.  Children should come, if they are able, to church on Sunday with a list of choices that are theirs and choices that are made for them. 

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade
On Sunday, 5th and 6th graders will have a lesson on David from the Hebrew Bible.  The kids will be invited to share anything they know about the story of David and his battle with Goliath.  Then we'll hear some of David's story, and the children will turn it into a news report.  We'll also talk about David's interactions with The Ark of the Covenant.

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
Most youth are familiar with the basic facts about the life of Jesus and other founders of major western religions.  The life of the Buddha is important and equally compelling.  In this session we will follow-up with our field trip to the Buddhist temple, and we will continue our study of the Buddha's life.  We will stress the way in which individuals have impacted the history of religious development, and we will get a feel for Asian spirituality through the story of Buddha's origin.  We hope to show clips from the movie "The Little Buddha" as a part of this class.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
Youth group meets from 10:00AM-12:00PM.  Please plan to be present for the whole session. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

For Children and Youth: Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st Grades
"One fine morning Mr. Gumpy decides it's a perfect day for an outing in his little boat. Apparently, plenty of others think so too. First some children ask to join him, then a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep...Soon, Mr. Gumpy's boat is precariously full, and there's nowhere for anyone else to go--but overboard! This mild mariner takes everything in stride, though, and his guests are soon bellying up to a nice tea."  This Sunday's story is Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham. This is an orange promise lesson: offer fair and kind treatment to all people.

Parents, please don't forget to take your children to the bathroom before worship begins in order to minimize class bathroom breaks, which helps us stay within our Safe Congregation guidelines and maximize our short time together each week.

Spirit Play, Advanced
2nd Grade
Our older Spirit Play children will be introduced to the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Like many of the great religious stories, this can be told as a story from sources of faith, such as Christianity or prophetic people.  It can also be told as a promise story, such as an orange promise story: offer fair and kind treatment to all people.  Our children will have a chance to name sources and promises that seem to be reflected in this parable. 

Stepping Stone Year (3rd-4th Grade), Bibleodeon (5th-6th Grade), and Sacred Threads (7th-8th Grade)
On Sunday we will meet in the chapel for a "Children's Chapel" worship service.  Currently we are organizing 7th-8th graders who would like to be youth musicians or worship leaders for this service.  If you are in the 7th or 8th grade and have an interest in taking such a role, or if you are the parent of a 7th or 8th grader who is interested, please use the "contact" tab above to get in touch with the Office of Faith Development so your participation can be arranged. 

YRU2, Youth Group
9th-12th Grade 
Sunday morning youth group is a chance for social time together, check-in and sharing, as well as a chance to have a discussion about a religious theme or topic.  Youth group is from 10am-12pm.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Wonderland

The whole congregation is invited for an afternoon of winter fun at the Mirick Family Farm at the bottom of Mount Wachusett on Sunday, February 27th.  Come on out after church!

Bring a picnic lunch to eat (at church before leaving, on the way to Princeton, or by the bonfire once you get there). If you have some, bring sleds or toboggans, snowshoes, or cross-country skis.  Or just romp around!  There are plenty of fields, lanes, and woods for playing.  No skating please, as there is too much snow on the ice.

The distance from the road to the bonfire is about 200 yards.  Please note this ahead for kids who will be walking this distance in the snow. 

A bonfire and a smaller fire at a separate warming station, cocoa, coffee, and make-your-own s’mores (toasted marshmallows with milk chocolate on graham crackers) will be provided.  Sierra-Marie will bring a bag of vegan marshmallows from The Living Earth (note that they are vanilla flavored but supposed to be very good in s'mores).  There are about 16-18 per bag.  If another vegetarian family or two can bring a bag also, we should have plenty for all the vegetarians.


The event will start at noon and will wind up by 5:00PM. 
Flyers with a map are available at church.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Big Thank You!

Thank you to the youth, parents, and mentors who participated in our pilot Coming of Age program in 2010-2011, and then shared a little of their lives with us at Coming of Age Sunday!  What an amazing group of people! 

Thank you to the many individuals who helped put together a wonderful coffee hour reception in honor of the youth!  Thank you for the decorations and food, and for making punch and cutting and serving cake, and then for staying late to get the kitchen cleaned up.

Thank you to all who gathered for worship, and supported our youth with love and enthusiastic conversations afterward! 

For Children and Youth: Church School Classes February 13, 2011

Two Notes of Interest For All Grades
  • This Sunday we will not have access to most of our classrooms due to the presence of our Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) guests.  For this reason, we will have modified class activities in different locations.  See below.
  • We are still collecting personal hygeine items for care kits to be sent to the Veterans' Shelter. If you are able, please bring small toiletry items into church by this Sunday at 10:30AM and place them in the baskets on the table between the dining and Bancroft rooms. We'd like to complete these kits this Sunday, when the children are scheduled to place the toiletry items into washcloth pouches during coffee hour.  However, we can only complete them if we receive more donations. 
Spirit Play
PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades
On Sunday we will meet as one large group in the chapel.  The children will be able to vote on a story to hear for a second time this year, as review.  We're eager to hear what they'll choose!  We'll also have some special work options. 

Stepping Stone Year
3rd-4th Grade
This class will meet in the Dining Room to sort and prepare toiletry items to be placed in washcloth pouches for the Veterans' shelter.  We'll also make some items to go along with the Spirit Play story we heard a couple of weeks ago.

Bibleodeon
5th-6th Grade
After being dismissed from worship we will meet in the Bancroft Room and prepare some bouquets for residents of the Lutheran Family Services Nursing Home.  We'll speak about Biblical stories of caring for one another.  And then we'll walk over to the Nursing Home to deliver the flowers.  Please dress for the weather, including snow or rain boots if needed and a coat.  We'll arrive back at 11:40AM.  Permission forms will be sent home this week.

Sacred Threads
7th-8th Grade
7th and 8th graders are also taking a field trip, but it is a little more intensive.  An RSVP is needed ASAP from those who have not yet responded, so we can make that we have enough drivers.  (Parents, please note that we are still in need of drivers/chaperones...and this is a great opportunity for you to experience this service also!)  This group will be attending the Sunday service at the Linh Son Buddhist Temple.  We will gather in the Bancroft Room promptly at 10:30AM and leave at 10:40AM on the dot.  Please bring your permission forms (will arrive in your mailbox this week) and come on time.  Service at Linh Son Temple starts at 11:00AM and ends at 12:30.  Those who need to leave at 12:30 should be picked up at the temple by their parents.  The rest of the group will stay for lunch at the temple and return to the church around 2:00PM.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group)
9th-12th Grade
What is the history of Unitarian Universalism and our church?  Join us to discuss this on Sunday morning.  We'll pool our knowledge and see if we can trace back.  We'll also cut up potatoes for our "breakfast for dinner" meal for IHN, and have our usual check-in and social time as well.  Youth group is from 10:00AM-12:00PM.  Please plan to be present for the whole session.  Note: We'll meet back at the church at 4:00PM to join the Holden Street youth group and perhaps even some 8th graders from Westboro in the meal prep, service, and clean up for IHN.  We'll be done by 8:00PM.