Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Faith in Action Proposals are Now Being Accepted

What is your passion?  What cause would you like our congregation to learn more about and support? 

In 2013-2014, First Unitarian sponsored 50/50 collections for nine different organizations that were proposed by members.  We plan to do the same in 2014-2015, and we would like to begin accepting proposals now.  

Each month, on the first or second Sunday, a short “Faith in Action Presentation” will be offered from 12-1 pm.  This will include a short presentation (preferably with/from someone involved in the organization) and discussion of how it fits with our UU values and mission.  On the following Sunday, 50% of the cash collected in the Sunday offering will go to the chosen organization.  

In order to have a broad spectrum of organizations, we have separated the year into “categories.”  The category dates may be shifted if necessary, and some organizations may fit into more than one category. Please return your proposal as soon as possible.  The deadline for proposals is November 1.   You may also submit a proposal by following this link to the online proposal form.

When the adult programming team (Tom Crowley, Gene Johnson, Ken Mandile, Fran Nase, and Paul Ropp) receives all proposals, we will determine which fit the best for each category and submit these proposals to the Lay Leadership Program Council.  Organizations that are not chosen for 50/50 collections may still offer educational Faith in Action presentations to raise awareness on other Sundays.

The following categories are suggestions of possible types of organizations. Your proposal may not fit into any of these categories.  We really want a diverse collection of organizations.  Those who have received 50/50 collections in the past are encouraged to apply again.

Race Relations:  
Anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism is a social justice issue on which Unitarian Universalists have taken a specific stance.  How can we contribute to this cause?  

Education:  What types of educational organizations can we support?  One example is the Center for Nonviolent Solutions, which we chose to support through our youth faith in action in spring 2013.  How can we contribute to education?  

Animal Rights and other Animal-related Justice:  Animals are an integral part of the interconnected web of all existence.  Three years ago our children chose for us to support the Worcester Animal Rescue League.  But this category could also include such diverse organizations as Heifer International or even NEADS, an organization that trains service dogs. 

Disability and/or Illness: There are so many organizations that help people with disabilities (including learning disabilities) and illnesses.  It's impossible to list them all. 

Environment: What organizations can help us support positive environmental preservation and change?  This is another opportunity to connect directly with the interconnected web of life.  

GLBTQ:  As a Welcoming Congregation, what organizations support equal rights and awareness for people who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning? 

This is an excellent opportunity for us to give generously and learn more about how to put our faith in action.  Please consider attending the programs and proposing one of your own.   

NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services - See more at:

NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services - See more at:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jedi Academy Details

If you have not signed up your kids for Jedi Academy this weekend, it is not too late!  You can sign them up in advance ( and walk-ins are also welcome.

Just a couple of notes to help you know what’s going on:

·      All of our activities will be upstairs at the church.  All students should enter through the upstairs Unity Hall entrance.  If your child is only coming for either the morning or afternoon, the best time for them to come in would be during lunch – but they are welcome any time. 

·      A parent should come in to check the student in and come in to check the student out (even if they are coming in at an odd time).

·      Our lunch will be 12:30-1 pm.  Students need to bring their own bag lunches.  We will have a morning snack (grapes) during one of the training times. 

·      Students are encouraged to wear padawan costumes or other Star Wars related costumes/T-shirts if they like, but please leave light sabers at home.  Adults who are staying are definitely encouraged to wear costumes and may bring light sabers.

·      Adults and DROIDS (teens) who are staying for the day are asked to arrive early (8:15 am) so they can get oriented.

·      We will have a limited number of UU Jedi Academy T-shirts available in a variety of sizes for $15 each.

·      We are asking a $15 donation for the weekend, and the proceeds of these donations will go toward a Jedi Academy mission trip planned for 2015.  Checks should be made out to First Unitarian.  The donation is not required to participate.

May 3, 2014

(Staff should arrive by no later than 8:15 am)

8:45-10 am – Entering and Opening Assembly

10-10:30 – Training 1
  • Skill (Unity Hall) - Younglings
  • Senses (Youth Room) - Padawan 1
  • Courage (Left side Jedi Room) - Padawan 2
  • Insight (Chapel) - Padawan 3
  • Spirit (Right Side Jedi Room) - Free period
10:30-11 - Training 2
  • Skill (Unity Hall) - Free period
  • Senses (Youth Room) - Younglings (Snack??)
  • Courage (Left side Jedi Room) - Padawan 1
  • Insight (Chapel) - Padawan 2
  • Spirit (Right Side Jedi Room) - Padawan 3
11-11:30 - Training 3
  • Skill (Unity Hall) - Padawan 3
  • Senses (Youth Room) - Free period
  • Courage (Left side Jedi Room) - Younglings
  • Insight (Chapel) - Padawan 1
  • Spirit (Right Side Jedi Room) - Padawan 2

11:30-12 – Training 4
  • Skill (Unity Hall) - Padawan 2
  • Senses (Youth Room) - Padawan 3
  • Courage (Left side Jedi Room) - Free period
  • Insight (Chapel) - Younglings
  • Spirit (Right Side Jedi Room) - Padawan 1

12-12:30 - Training 5
  • Skill (Unity Hall) - Padawan 1
  • Senses (Youth Room) - Padawan 2
  • Courage (Left side Jedi Room) - Padawan 3
  • Insight (Chapel) - Free period
  • Spirit (Right Side Jedi Room) - Younglings

12:30-1 – Lunch - all will eat in the “Center of the Universe”

1-1:45 – Free Training

  • All Padawans who are planning for the trials must attend the Spirit “Planets Game” in the Jedi Temple (Spirit Training Room).

  • All others are encouraged to rotate through the other training areas.  Younglings will have adult guides with them during this time.  If they complete all four activities, they get a prize.

1:45-2:45 – Trials and/or Pod Races

  • Padawans who have participated all year will undergo the five trials to become a Jedi Knight.  All other padawans and younglings will watch part of it and then be guided in pod races (basically relay races).

2:45-3:00 – Closing Assembly

May 4, 2014 - May the Fourth Be With You

10:15-10:45 - Opening Activities -
At First Unitarian, children usually begin the morning in the worship service until 10:45.  We will have a special “Time for All Ages” about Jedi Academy, so all are encouraged to attend.  Padawans who are going to be knighted must attend the beginning of the service as it is a part of their knighthood ceremony.  There will be supervised activities upstairs for any children who do not attend the first part of the service.

10:45-11:45 – Free Training - Kids can rotate through all of the training areas for short activities.  

11:45-12:15Knighthood Ceremony - Teachers and parents will be encouraged to join us.  We will gather everyone in the “Center of the Universe” for this ceremony as soon as the other adults arrive.

12:15-1Snacks, Pod Races, and Closing Activities

During the congregational meeting, we will offer snacks to the kids and other fun activities.  When an adult comes up to tell us that the meeting has finished, we will close with the Jedi Code.