March ’21 nUUs From Religious Education

Recent SC Family Outing at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

As they say, March came in like a lion!

The month started with a big wind event, but days are getting longer, and the birds are singing new songs. People are receiving vaccines. Things are shifting.

There’s a lot going on in our church web. Our Senior Youth group showed their amazingness in the worship service they offered on 2/21. Our 5th-7th graders explored the Black Heritage Trail and their own voices and published a touching letter to the editor in the local newspapers. A couple dozen people bundled in snow gear to spend a beautiful morning playing and just being together at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Coming of Age 8th graders continue to work through their program and have been cultivating an understanding of their own identities as young Unitarian Universalists. And a robust sexuality education program is back up and running, with completely full rosters for our 5th grade and 7th grade classes, plus a full brand new small group ministry called “Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators”.

Our church theme this month is “Commitment.” There are so many directions to go in exploring this topic. What I’m currently thinking about is how we often think about commitment as a declaration we make at the beginning of something, or a sort of “said and done” act. But real commitment is constant action, a decision we make over and over to keep working. For example, our February theme was “Beloved Community” and we heard sermons, had discussion and stories about that topic. However, as UUs, isn’t our religion nearly defined by a commitment to continuously and actively work toward creating the Beloved Community? Our principles and sources in many ways dictate that this is our forever work.

Similarly, when we make the commitment to become members of South Church, we agree to show up, to participate and to give ourselves in various ways. We all have different gifts to offer, and our community is not whole if we are not committed to showing up with our whole selves over and over. This might sound exhausting, but the funny thing is, when we share the gifts we have in ways that we want to share them, then the gifts we receive in return fill us right back up, often with more joy than we had before. If you’re not feeling this, then talk to us. This should not drain anyone; it should feel like opportunity. There are so many ways to plug in to the web, to participate in growing the Beloved Community. This is true for every one of us, at every age. If your port doesn’t already exist, then we can help create it.

A few awesome RE items to highlight:

  • Bedtime Stretch and Story a time for all ages on Wednesday evenings, 7:00-7:30pm. We do a few minutes of gentle yoga, read a book together, and then maybe a moment of guided meditation before saying goodnight. LINK
  • Morning Poems Parents – this one’s for you! Log into zoom on Wednesday mornings at 7:30 for a thirty-minute spiritual practice using poetry. Bring a journal, and a cup of coffee or tea, and start the day with some dear South church friends. LINK
  • All ages morning chapel on Zoom Every Sunday at 9:00am. This is a great way to stay in touch with other South Church Families, please join us! Parents encouraged to attend with your kids. Coffee and PJ’s are appropriate attire! LINK

One more thing… Please Register your kids for the program year! It keeps our records accurate. click here for the online form!


What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

There are still many ways to connect with other South church families! Click here for RE Program Information

  • Tuesday, March 2:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00p
  • Wednesday, March 3:
    • Morning Poems for adults, 7:30-8:00a on zoom
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30p
  • Friday, March 5:
    • Chopped! Cooking challenge 6:00p. Registered teams will receive a zoom link by email.
  • Sunday, March 7:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a, led by Endowment Committee members
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meet in person, with mentors, 3:00-4:00pm
    • Senior Youth CoA Alumni panel–meet 3:00-4:00pm
    • 7th Grade Sexuality Class meets 11:30a-1:30p
    • 5th Grade Sexuality Class meets 4:00-5:30p
  • Tuesday March 9:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00p
  • Wednesday March 10:
    • Morning Poems for adults, 7:30-8:00a on zoom
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30p
  • Friday, March 12:
    • 6th/7th Grade Service Learning group meets on zoom, 7:00p
  • Sunday, March 14:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a, sermon by Reverend Susan
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meet in person 3:00-4:00p, with Mentors
    • Senior Youth
    • 7th Grade Sexuality Class meets 11:30a-1:30p
    • 5th Grade Sexuality Class meets 4:00-5:30p
  • Tuesday, March 16:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00p
  • Wednesday, March 17:
    • Morning Poems for adults, 7:30-8:00a on zoom
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30p
  • Sunday, March 21:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a, sermon by Mary Banach
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meets in person 3:00-4:00p
    • Senior Youth
    • 7th Grade Sexuality Class meets 11:30a-1:30p
    • 5th Grade Sexuality Class meets 4:00-5:30p
  • Tuesday March 23:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00p
  • Wednesday, March 24:
    • Morning Poems for adults, 7:30-8:00a on zoom
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30p
  • Friday March 26:
    • 5th-7th Grade social group meets in person, 6:30-8:00p
  • Saturday, March 27:
    • South Church Family Outing Day at Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Rd Portsmouth, 10:00am
  • Sunday, March 28:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a, Led by Reverend Susan and Kirsten
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meets in person, 3:00-4:00p
    • Senior Youth
    • 7th Grade Sexuality Class meets 11:30a-1:30p
    • 5th Grade Sexuality Class meets 4:00-5:30p
  • Tuesday, March 30:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00p
  • Wednesday, March 31:
    • Morning Poems for adults, 7:30-8:00a on zoom
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30p

*Weather permitting **Tentative, details may change

Families at Home: March’s Theme is Commitment

Our UU faith in pratice:

  • In honor of Women’s History Month, explore the exhibit “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” from the National Museum of American History
  • “A Time To Mourn: An Interfaith Memorial Service To Honor Losses of Covid-19” online service offered on March 12th at 7pm by Abbey of Hope. Preregistration required.
  • Play “Who Am I? Race Awareness Game,” an app available for free on the App Store, for iPhone and iPad. Our K-5th graders have enjoyed playing!
  • Make a family covenant, as a commitment to how you want to be together as a family. Or, if you already have one, revisit it together to decide how it’s been going and to make any necessary changes. Here’s a brief article that helps with the basics.

Our UU faith in action:

  • Did you know that there is a movement to adopt an 8th UU Principle? Its purpose is essentially to ask us to commit to creating the Beloved Community in concrete ways, by dismantling racism and other oppressions. Learn more HERE. You can also download and print a poster of the UU Principles (including the 8th), in language that is digestible for kids HERE.

Dinner Time Discussions: Some questions you might discuss at dinner this month to explore the theme of Commitment…

  • A commitment is like a promise. We have commitments whenever we are part of a group, and sometimes those commitments haven’t been spoken. What are your commitments to these groups:
    • Your family
    • Your friends
    • A sports team, theater group, or any other activity group you join
    • South Church
    • Your self
  • Unitarian Universalism has Principles that we all try to live by. Try exploring them, one per evening during dinner. You can print this graphic or use its kid-friendly language in your discussions.

Chalice Lighting for mealtimes this month:

“Light is Returning,” by Kate McPhee

“Around us, light is returning.
It rekindles the spirit of life in the skeletons of trees.
It brings forth new shoots from the soil.
It wakes us from our winter slumber, and invites us to see what lies beyond.

We light this chalice in the spirit of our Earth’s awakening
and to reaffirm our commitment to the value of our home.”

Upcoming Themes (2020-2021 Church Year)

  • March2021: We are a community of Commitment
  • April 2021: We are a community of Becoming
  • May 2021: We are a community of Story
  • June 2021: We are a community of Play

February ’21 nUUs From Religious Education

Holding our UUs at opening words during Sunday morning chapel

Happy February, dear families of South Church!

February may be the shortest month, but we are packing extra opportunities into this one!

With talk about vaccines, it feels like there’s promise of a really long-awaited opening ahead, like we are about to be released from so much confinement. Though we’re not yet there, we are moving toward a time where we anticipate feeling more free again; free to gather in physical spaces, free to start or restart some of the things we’ve been missing. Maybe the recent inauguration and subsequent policy changes that the new administration is making are eliciting a similar feeling of release from some kinds of suppression. Of course, all of this change can also bring challenge to various people; there will be fear related to safety as covid restrictions loosen, and there is certainly not unity around how our government should operate.

The reports, conversations, and votes at our annual congregational meeting on Sunday suggested that overall at South Church we are ready to embrace some change in the structure of our leadership, that we are committed to financially sustaining or even growing our community through a successful stewardship campaign, and that we are capable of thoughtful and respectful discourse on matters where there are differing opinions.

Our church theme for February is Beloved Community, a concept that Dr Martin Luther King Jr asked us to strive for, which prioritizes justice, equity and Love for ALL people. It applies to all of the forms of community, and Dr King consistently acknowledged that the work is hard. It is uncomfortable, and sometimes it will bring out fear. This is a concept that we need to incorporate into our whole lives, and we won’t find ourselves finished at the end of this tiny month. But it seems timely, as we are finding ourselves in these situations where we will begin to emerge into…what?…not the old “normal”, whatever that means. As we begin to think about emerging from a pandemic, emerging from an administration that stood against justice, equity and Love for all people, and moving into a new direction at church, we can hold the concept of Beloved Community as we design our future with intention.

A few awesome RE items to highlight:

  • Sexuality Education:
    • For 5th and for 7th grade: will be offering comprehensive sexuality education classes beginning on 3/7 and 2/28, respectively. There are mandatory parent orientation classes on 2/23 and 2/16. These groups will be meeting in person, following the Covid Task Force safety guidelines because the content is largely not suitable for online instruction. However, we recognize that it may be the case that not all families are ready for in-person activities, so…
    • Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators: In addition to the two programs for children/youth, we are offering for the first time a small group offering for adults who care for children and youth. The Parents/Caregivers class is meant to help support your role as the primary sexuality educators of your children, whether the children are in a sexuality class or not. Program begins Thursday, February 11th. Please contact us about all questions and interests in the 5th/7th grade classes, the Parent/Caregiver class, and we are happy to talk about what additional support we can offer if these classes don’t work for you. Contact either Jen Del Deo (jendeldeo@southchurch-uu.org) or Kirsten Hunter (kirsten@southchurch-uu.org).
  • Family Outing at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge! Join South Church families on February 20th at 10:00am for some outdoor time on this beautiful land. Masks required. We will meet near the parking area at 4 Arboretum Dr, Newington. Directions Here.
  • Chopped! All-Ages culinary competition! Join us for a super fun online evening. This is a beloved tradition in a different format this year. You may sign up as individuals or household groups. There can be multiple people competing individually in the same household, too. We will supply a package of mystery ingredients that everyone will open together online, and your assignment will be to make creative recipes with those ingredients. Ingredient packages will be available to be picked up, or we can help with delivering to your door. Chopped event will be held on Zoom on Friday, March 5th at 6:00. To participate, you must sign up by Fri, 2/26 by emailing Jen DD (jendeldeo@southchurch-uu.org)– Include every member of the household who wishes to compete, and please let us know if there are any allergy concerns.
  • Senior Youth led worship! Our high school youth will offer worship on Feb 21st–don’t miss it!
  • Morning Poems~ Parents – this one’s for you! Log into zoom on Wednesday mornings at 7:30 for a thirty-minute spiritual practice using poetry. Bring a journal, and a cup of coffee or tea, and start the day with some dear South church friends.

One more thing… Please Register your kids for the program year! It keeps our records accurate. click here for the online form!


What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

All ages morning chapel on Zoom Every Sunday at 9:00am. This is a great way to stay in touch with other South Church Families, please join us! Parents encouraged to attend with your kids. Coffee and PJ’s are appropriate attire!

There are still many ways to connect with other South church families! Click here for RE Program Information

  • Tuesday, February 2:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00
  • Friday, February 5:
    • Grades 5-7 Social group meets at church 6:30-8:00 for play and storytelling project! RSVP: jendeldeo@southchurch-uu.org
  • Sunday, February 7:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ led by Reverend Susan
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meet on Zoom 5:30-6:30
    • Senior Youth~ Meet at church 11:30a-1:30p. If you can’t do the whole time, still come for as long as you can!
  • Tuesday February 9:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00
  • Wednesday February 10:
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30, featuring books by Black authors
  • Friday, February 12:
    • 6th/7th Grade Service Learning group meets on zoom, 7:00pm
  • Sunday, February 14:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ Love Fest!♥️ Led by Kirsten Hunter
    • All-Ages Dance Party! Following worship. Just join social hour and you’ll be directed to the dance “room”: https://zoom.us/j/98768994449
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meet on Zoom 3:30-4:30, with Mentors
    • Senior Youth Filming day for worship, by appointment, meet at church.
  • Tuesday, February 16:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00
    • Parent orientation for 7th grade sexuality education program, 6:30pm on zoom
  • Wednesday, February 17:
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30, featuring books by Black authors
  • Thursday, February 18:
    • 5th-7th Grade Service Learning special project 5:00-6:00pm on zoom
  • Saturday, February 20:
    • Family Outing at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 4 Arboretum Dr, Newington, 10:00am
  • Sunday, February 21:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~led by Senior Youth group–Don’t miss this special event!!
    • Senior Youth Worship watch party! 10:00am
  • Tuesday February 23:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00
    • Parent orientation for 5th grade sexuality education program, 6:30 on zoom
  • Wednesday, February 24:
    • All-Ages Bedtime story and stretch on zoom, 7:00-7:30, featuring books by Black authors
  • Friday February 26:
    • 5th-7th Grade social group meets on zoom for games, 7:00-8:00
    • Deadline to register for Chopped! (see info above!)
  • Sunday, February 28:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~Led by Reverend Susan
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meets in person with Mentors, 3:00-4:00
    • Senior Youth meet for snow play at noon–details coming!
  • Tuesday, March 2:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom 4:00-5:00

*Weather permitting **Tentative, details may change

Families at Home: February’s Theme is Beloved Community

Beloved Community is an idea that Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr talked about, which asks us to build a world where justice, equal opportunity, and love for all people are the most important goals.

Our UU faith in pratice:

  • Here’s a great 5 minute lovingkindness meditation that you can do as a family: https://youtu.be/i9X6tkUXa9o
  • Listen to “Talking to Kids About Racial Identity” on The Imagine Neighborhood podcast. Dr Aisha White from the University of Pittsburgh’s P.R.I.D.E. program talks about different ways to discuss racial identity with kids. 15 minutes well spent; can even do it while driving or cleaning!
  • At the beginning of all of our RE classes, Sunday morning chapel, and worship, we all have the opportunity to share Roses, Buds and Thorns. This practice helps us to hold each other with care, to magnify the things we are celebrating (Roses), to lighten the burden of our struggles (Thorns) and to share in the anticipation of what’s ahead (Buds). This is a helpful practice in building Beloved Community. To embody this as a life practice not just in our church, try practicing at home–maybe at dinner time or before bed. Take turns giving each household member space to share a Rose (something you are happy about), a Bud (something you are looking forward to) and a Thorn (something difficult or “sticky”).

Our UU faith in action:

  • Shared Plate Voting! Last month members of South Church were invited to nominate organizations for our shared plate recipients over the coming year. Now it’s time (for adult members) to vote… and in early March, our children will be invited to vote from the finalists after they learn a bit about each of the groups. More info on voting here: http://www.southchurch-uu.org/giving/shared-collection/
  • Our shared plate recipient this month is Black Heritage Trail of NH. Click here to learn more about BHTNH.
    • Did you know BHTNH has a self-guided tour? Book is available online HERE.
  • Watch the online screening (with optional discussion) of the new PBS documentary, “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song” on Monday, February 8th at 6pm. Click link for details and to register.
  • Is your Child a UU7 Secret Service Agent? UU7 is a way for South church children and families to engage in our mission through simple challenges.

Dinner Time Discussions: Some questions you might discuss at dinner this month to explore the theme of Beloved Community…

  • Share a story about a time when you felt loved and cared for.
    • What was important in that situation?
    • What are some things that can make us feel not loved or cared for?
    • How can we help other people feel loved and cared for? Is it more important to “say” or “do”?
  • What makes you feel connected at South Church, or what makes you feel like you belong somewhere?
    • What could you do to feel more connected or included?
    • How could we help others feel welcome, connected and included at church?

Chalice Lighting for mealtimes this month:

“The Hearth of the Chalice,” by Bear W. Qolezcua

“As we light the chalice may our souls become its hearth.
We join our hearts to the one great flame of bright compassion,
Beloved Community, and fervent justice.
May we become lanterns to the world,
lighting the way for all”

Upcoming Themes (2020-2021 Church Year)

  • February2021: We are a community of Beloved Community
  • March2021: We are a community of Commitment
  • April 2021: We are a community of Becoming
  • May 2021: We are a community of Story
  • June 2021: We are a community of Play

January ’21 nUUs From Religious Education

Thanks to ALL who helped make this year’s pageant so wonderful!

Happy New year, dear families of South Church!

This is the year where everything magically becomes good again, right?

That is possible, and it will require us to become quite imaginative. We will also need to put a lot of work into building what we imagine. If we don’t dream big dreams and take real action to make them come true, then the best we can hope for is a watery version of the old “normal”, which I don’t think any of us really wants.

The possibilities are endless. Truly believing this simple truth is the first big hurdle. We have to dust off our imagination caps and get out of these boxes we’ve trapped ourselves in. What would an ideal community look like? What would be perfect day-to-day lifestyles for my family and yours? What are all the different forms of justice and love we can create?

What do you imagine for this coming year? What might we imagine together? One thing I know is this: We need the kids to help. They have great imaginations, and they get it; they know what’s fair, they know how to love, and they believe in big dreams.

How exciting it is to be part of a group that is dedicated to dream big and build beloved community.

One more thing… Please Register your kids for the program year! It keeps our records accurate. click here for the online form!


What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

All ages morning chapel on Zoom Every Sunday at 9:00am. This is a great way to stay in touch with other South Church Families, please join us! Parents encouraged to attend with your kids. Coffee and PJ’s are appropriate attire!

There are still many ways to connect with other South church families! Click here for RE Program Information

  • Sunday, January 3:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ led by Kirsten
  • Tuesday January 5:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Sunday, January 10:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ led by Anne Deminoff
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meets with mentors outdoors in person 2:30-4:00**
    • Senior Youth meet inside church at 11:30am!
  • Tuesday, January 12:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Friday, January 15:
    • Grades 5-7 Social–Hide and Seek at Urban Forestry Center! 6:30-7:30**
  • Sunday, January 17:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
  • Tuesday January 19:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Friday January 22:
    • 6th/7th Grade Service Learning group meets on Zoom 7:00-8:00
  • Sunday, January 24:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~Led by Rebecca Webb
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meet on Zoom 6:30-7:30
    • Senior Youth Worship planning on Zoom 8pm
  • Tuesday, January 26:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Saturday, January 30:
    • Senior Youth sledding at Wagon Hill!**
  • Sunday, January 31:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ led by Kirsten Hunter
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meets with mentors outdoors, in person, 2:30-4:00pm**
  • Tuesday, February 2:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom

*Weather permitting **Tentative, details may change

Families at Home: January’s Theme is Imagination

From Soul Matters: “Our faith asks us to be questioning and imaginative. It’s part of our fifth UU Source, ‘…heed the guidance of reason and the results of science…’ Sometimes people think of science and imagination as opposites but every good scientist will tell you that you need imagination and reason to understand the world and to invent new things. Scientists and inventors need to question and use their imagination. Even Albert Einstein, a physicist, used his imagination. He said, ‘I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination encircles the world’ – Albert Einstein

Our UU faith in pratice:

  • Try to solve the classic “Nine Dots” puzzle. Play it with your family, to illustrate the ways that imaginations helps us “think outside the box.” Ask your children how they tried t solve it. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9d78k7T0R4 Paper and Pencil it: just create 9 dots on a piece of paper and watch the video to learn the rules. The Solutions: There are a variety of solutions if you think outside the box. Check them out at https://www.artofplay.com/blogs/articles/history-of-the-nine-dot-problem
  • Watch this animated fantasy video short, called “Soar,” and then have a family discussion about ways that imagination can be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUlaseGrkLc
  • Imaginative play can help younger kids process everything that is going on in their lives. Puppets, dolls, and other forms of pretend play are therapeutic. They can be fun for adults too, when we decide to open our imaginations–kids often love when grownups imagine along with them!

Our UU faith in action:

  • The South Church Fellowship Associates invite you and your children to participate in “South Church Love Letters”, a project for SC members to send valentines to other SC members of the congregation! Grab your craft supplies, collect your stamps, and get excited to spread some love! This is a great activity for the youth to be included in outreach to other South Church congregants. Volunteers will make or purchase their own cards and stamps, and we will provide you with the information needed to send at least five South Church members a valentine by mail. Does your family want to send more than five? Just us know! If you’re interested in sending some “South Church Love Letters”, please email the FA’s at fellowship@southchurch-uu.org. More information will be sent to volunteers in the next few weeks. 
  • Our shared plate recipient this month is Planned Parenthood. Click here to learn more about PP and the wide range of services they offer our community.
  • Is your Child a UU7 Secret Service Agent? UU7 is a way for South church children and families to engage in our mission through simple challenges.

Dinner Time Discussions: Some questions you might discuss at dinner this month to explore the theme of Imagination…

  • What is your favorite imaginative story?
    • How does escaping into an imaginative story make you feel?
  • Imagine you could have any superpower. What would it be?
    • How could you use your superpower to help others?
    • What would you say your real superpower is, and how can you use that superpower for good?
  • Practice imaginative dinnertime gratitude with a round of gratitude charades while you eat. Each person takes a turn silently acting out (while sitting), something that they are grateful for, while others guess what it is.

Chalice Lighting for mealtimes this month:

“Exploring Who We Are,” by Melanie Davis

“Under the right circumstances, playing with fire is a delight—imagine being gathered round a firepit as the crackling flames invite us to sing, dance, and roast a marshmallow or two. Our chalice also invites us to play, although with ideas rather than with marshmallows. The flame encourages us to explore who we are, who our neighbors are, and where we are on our spiritual journeys. Today, we light this chalice in the spirit of play. Let us trust the light to guide us in this hour and in the days to come, finding joy along the way.”

Upcoming Themes (2020-2021 Church Year)

  • February2021: We are a community of Beloved Community
  • March2021: We are a community of Commitment
  • April 2021: We are a community of Becoming
  • May 2021: We are a community of Story
  • June 2021: We are a community of Play


December nUUs From Religious Education

Senior Youth decorating wreaths for their annual fundraiser

Hello beloved families of South Church!

Stillness. That’s the church theme for December. Wow, that word seems so simple, but what a unique time to contemplate that particular idea.

When the pandemic became a pandemic back in the spring, there was so much that stopped: Sports, dance classes, driving to/from school, driving to/from work, enrichment classes and meetings, constant birthday parties, playdates, and on and on. As we grappled with so much uncertainty and change, some people found a moment of stillness in the paused schedules of our hectic parenting lives. I wonder if anyone is still able to appreciate a slower, more still lifestyle?

For some of us the moments of stillness we had known pre-covid vanished; alone time was replaced with remote learning and working from home, taking much of the stillness we had known along with it. And no matter your particular experience- as we head into winter and infection numbers are forcing us to further limit our activity, our connections, our togetherness- it may feel like we have been “still” for too long. We may find ourselves struggling with that kind of stillness to the point that it actually makes us restless–holding pent up energy without an outlet.

So how do we find stillness (the good kind) in the midst of too much stillness (the restrictive kind that we’re so tired of)? Maybe we need to get really really active to find that peaceful kind of stillness. Maybe that looks like reaching out, connecting, offering, serving creating, walking, talking.

Or maybe it looks like finding time alone in your house for once, if you’ve been trapped with your same darlings every day for months on end. Maybe it looks like a warm bath, a few hours to focus on a book or a project, or hiding in your car zoning out with social media for 20 minutes. It’s all valid if that’s what will restore you.

Listen to your needs. What would the good kind of stillness feel like, and how can you get there at this time? And how do we help our kids get there too?

We’re offering a lot this month, a month that always feels busy. But the good kind of stillness often finds us when we connect, explore and play together. And even dancing can help us find good stillness. We’re making progress, Loves. It will get easier, more free.

One more thing… Please Register your kids for the program year! It keeps our records accurate. click here for the online form!


What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

All ages morning chapel on Zoom Every Sunday at 9:00am. This is a great way to stay in touch with other South Church Families, please join us! Parents encouraged to attend with your kids. Coffee and PJ’s are appropriate attire!

There are still many ways to connect with other South church families! Click here for RE Program Information

  • Tuesday December 1: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Friday December 4: 7:00-8:00 Grades 6 & 7 Service Learning meeting on Zoom
  • Sunday, December 6:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ led by Reverend Susan
    • Coming of Age 8th grade meets with Mentors 6:30-7:30p on Zoom
    • Senior Youth~ Meet online, 8pm
  • Tuesday December 8: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Friday December 11th: Grades 5, 6, & 7 social group, games on Zoom 7:00-8:00
  • Saturday, December 12th: Senior Youth meet at the Labyrinth at 11am! We’ll be outside, so dress warmly. Eliot United Methodist Church, 238 Dow Highway (Rte 236) in Eliot, ME.
  • Sunday, December 13:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ led by Mary Heafy
    • Coming of Age 8th grade Maher property 3:00-4:30**
  • Tuesday, December 15th:
    • Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
    • Grades 6 & 7 Service Learning cookies project
  • Sunday, December 20:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~Pageant Sunday!
    • Coming of Age 8th grade 6:30-7:00 game and assignment on zoom
    • Senior Youth Solstice ritual– details tbd…
  • Tuesday December 22: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Thursday, December 24: Christmas Eve worship
  • Sunday, December 27:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~Led by Worship Associates
  • Sunday, January 3:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a~ led by Kirsten Hunter

*Weather permitting **Tentative, details may change


Families at Home: December’s Theme is Stillness

We have the courage to face these times, and can practice the skills needed for healing history, healing with gratitude, and healing with service to others.  May you find comfort and healing in your own life. Blessed be.

Our UU faith in pratice:

  • Check out The Christmas Pledge to work toward creating stillness around the holiday and through the winter. Here it is, with activity ideas included.
  • Star Breathing for kids– Using shapes to teach deep breathing is such a great idea!
  • Coloring Meditation: Looking for ways to engage your kids that DON’T involve screens? (Stillness from the constant input of media!) Try printing out these incredible coloring pages of Social Justice Artwork by, Ricardo Levins Morales!
  • Puzzles offer stillness for some of us, and a quiet way to share time with people you love. If your loved ones are far away, check out collaborative online jigsaw puzzles! (I know, it’s screen time, but still pretty cool! You can upload your own image, and share the link with any other puzzle lovers you know!)

Our UU faith in action:

  • Our shared plate recipient this month is ACLU of NH. Click here to see some specific ways ACLU NH invites us to take action right now for racial justice.
  • Is your Child a UU7 Secret Service Agent? UU7 is a way for South church children and families to engage in our mission through simple challenges.

Dinner Time Discussions: Some questions you might discuss at dinner this month to explore the theme of Healing…

  • Watch Night is observed on December 31st by some black communities, born out of enslaved people waiting on 12/31/1862 to hear news of whether Abraham Lincoln would sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Imagine the stillness required in waiting for that news. Learn more as a family here.
    • Try a conversation about Watch Night at dinner: How does this relate to the proposed addition of an 8th UU principle? “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
  • Try practicing stillness this way: Choose an evening to eat dinner by candlelight and eat silently for the first 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, talk about how this evening feels different than other dinner times.

Chalice Lighting for mealtimes this month:

“Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion A filling up.” -Anne Leclair

Upcoming Themes (2020-2021 Church Year)

  • December 2020: We are a community of Stillness
  • January 2021: We are a community of Imagination
  • February2021: We are a community of Beloved Community
  • March2021: We are a community of Commitment
  • April 2021: We are a community of Becoming
  • May 2021: We are a community of Story


November nUUs from Religious Education

Coming of Age youth at their fall retreat~ top of Mount Agamenticus

Hello beloved families of South Church!

At the risk of making assumptions about how y’all are doing, Jen DD and I have been reflecting on how things are feeling in our households as the school year unfolds in all its strange new ways. Our kids continue to navigate life with less opportunities to be with friends or pursue some favorite pastimes, we are missing family, trying to find safe ways to make Thanksgiving feel special, and worrying about the unknowns ahead.

We’ve also noticed something about our unique position in church, which is that we both are having opportunities to play in zoom spaces and in-person spaces with our own kids during church groups. We’ve noticed that zoom feels less solitary when you are in a zoom room with someone else by your side, and seeing our children in community with others is good for our relationship with each other as well.

We want to share that experience with more South Church parents– and we need your help to make that happen. There are a few ‘families together’ times in the coming month. Please try to join us for one of them! They will be intentional, multigenerational spaces, and we think you’ll find them really valuable.

Read below for upcoming dates, as well as some resources for family’s at home to reflect on the month’s theme of Healing. As always, please reach out if you have questions!

One more thing… Please Register your kids for the program year! It keeps our records accurate. click here for the online form!


What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

All ages morning chapel on Zoom Every Sunday at 9:00am. This is a great way to stay in touch with other South Church Families, please join us! Parents encouraged to attend with your kids. Coffee and PJ’s are appropriate attire!

There are many ways to connect with other South church families this fall! Click here for RE Program Information

  • November 1st: Clocks change today!
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a- Honoring our Ancestors~ led by Mitch Pivor
    • Coming of Age raking fundraiser 1:00-3:00
    • Coming of Age regroups with mentors at 7:00-7:30p on Zoom
    • Senior Youth~ Meet online, 8pm
  • Tuesday, Nov 3rd, and Wednesday, Nov 4th, 7:00-8:30p~Election Day community gatherings. Open to all, this will be a centering space, with facilitated breakout rooms, including space for families  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83423359128
  • Wednesday, November 4th: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Friday, November 6th: Grades 6&7 Service Learning program meets on Zoom, 7:00-7:45 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83296102712
  • Sunday, November 8th-
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a- Led by Reverend Susan
    • Senior Youth~Meet at Urban Forestry Center 3:00-4:30p for a group hike*
  • Tuesday, November 10th (no school tmrw!)~ 6:30pm- Online Family Play! Join us for a family game night– parents are required to have fun!!! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85757548703
  • Wednesday, November 11th: Veterans’ Day, (Grades K-5 will not meet)
  • Sunday, November 15th
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
  • Wednesday, November 18th: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Thursday, November 19th: Grades 5-7 stories around the campfire! 5:00-6:30 RSVP to JenD by 11/17 for location and details
  • Sunday, November 22nd
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a- Led by Reverend Susan
    • Coming of Age meets with mentors at Maher property, 3:00-4:30
    • Wreath and Coffee Sale! 12p-2p at church, proceeds to benefit H.O.M.E
    • Senior Youth~ Meet outside at church for wreath sale 12p-2p
  • Tuesday, November 24th: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Thursday, November 26th: Thanksgiving
  • Sunday, November 29th:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a- Led by Susan York
    • Wreath Sale, 11a-1p at church**
    • Senior Youth~ Meet outside at church 11a-1p
  • Sunday, December 6th:

*Weather permitting **Tentative, details may change


Families at Home: November’s Theme is Healing

We have the courage to face these times, and can practice the skills needed for healing history, healing with gratitude, and healing with service to others.  May you find comfort and healing in your own life. Blessed be.

Our UU faith in pratice:

  • How to tell the true story of Thanksgiving to your kids. Truth and healing go hand in hand. Perhaps you can find a way to engage in that idea during this month of the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Practice Gratitude: It may not be intuitive all the time, but one way to invite healing is to practice gratitude. Here are some ideas for what that might look like: 13 Most Popular Gratitude Exercises
  • Music can be a powerful tool for healing! This song by Lea Morris, “I Can Heal” would be a good one to learn and share with your family around getting feelings hurt.

Our UU faith in action:

  • In connection healing history, consider making a donation this month to the Mashpee/Wampanoag people. Healing involves many steps, and when we are working to heal wrongs that have been done to people, reparations are an important piece of that work!
  • Is your Child a UU7 Secret Service Agent? UU7 is a way for South church children and families to engage in our mission through simple challenges. November missions will be in the mail soon! and we’ll post them online soon!

Dinner Time Discussions: Some questions you might discuss at dinner this month to explore the theme of Healing…

  • Ask everyone at the table to try to remember something that may have hurt us from a long time ago. (For young children, ‘a long time ago’ might not be as long; the idea is to elicit something that is not still raw.
    • reflect on what you remember about when it first happened.
    • Consider if it still feels the same way? Or if it has changed over time.

Chalice Lighting for mealtimes this month:

We come to be free

for more than ourselves

to call love the greatest liberty

to sing of loyalty, courage, and

kindness

to remember we are all

doing the best

we can

excerpt from The Healing in Freedom, by Rev. Gretchen Haley

Upcoming Themes (2020-2021 Church Year)

  • December 2020: We are a community of Stillness
  • January 2021: We are a community of Imagination
  • February2021: We are a community of Beloved Community
  • March2021: We are a community of Commitment
  • April 2021: We are a community of Becoming
  • May 2021: We are a community of Story

October nUUs from Religious Education

Youth writing postcards to voters on Indigenous Peoples day

Hello Dear South Church Families,

Let’s pretend its the beginning of October, ok? 
I suspect most of you can totally relate to feeling like time is in short supply these days. Apologies that our October newsletter is two weeks late!

In this month’s nUUs, we’ve shared some important upcoming dates, as well as some resources for family’s at home to reflect on the month’s theme of Deep Listening. As always, please reach out if you have questions!

One more thing… Please Register your kids for the program year! It keeps our records accurate. click here for the online form!


What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

All ages morning chapel on Zoom Every Sunday at 9:00am. This is a great way to stay in touch with other South Church Families, please join us! Parents encouraged to attend with your kids. Coffee and PJ’s are appropriate attire!

There are many ways to connect with other South church families this fall! Click here for RE Program Information

  • Tuesday, October 13th, 7:00-7:30~ Parents of 6th-7th grade, please join us for a brief service-learning class orientation!  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85260971547, Meeting ID: 852 6097 1547
  • October 14th: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • October 17-18th is our Coming of Age Fall Retreat!
  • Sunday, October 18th-
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a- Music Sunday led by Joanne Connolly!
  • October 25th:
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a- led by Reverend Susan
    • Tentative* 6th-7th grade meet up online
    • Senior Youth~ Meet at the Urban Forestry Center, 6pm Bring Flashlights!!
    • Coming of Age: Meet with mentors on Zoom
  • October 28th: Grades K-5 meet on Zoom
  • Oct 29-31 All Ages FUN~Please see below for details about the Pumpkin Carving Contest and Halloween Monster Mash Dance party!!! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87806340242 Meeting ID: 878 0634 0242
  • November 1st: Clocks change today!
    • All-Ages Chapel 9:00-9:30a on Zoom
    • Worship on Youtube 10a-11a- Honoring our Ancestors~ led by Mitch Pivor

*Weather permitting **Tentative, details may change.

We encourage you to buy your pumpkins from one of the local churches that are hosting “Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers”, which employs over 700 people from the Navajo Nation. Two local churches supporting this organization are: First United Methodist Church, Miller Ave Portsmouth, and First Parish Congregational Church, York Street, York ME. To learn more about Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers, visit their website.

Family’s at Home: October’s Theme is Deep Listening

Our UU faith in pratice:

  • Family Nature Club – take a walk in nature and deep-listen for sounds. Invite everyone to be as quiet as they can for a few minutes of the walk, and just notice what you hear. Another idea is to actually find a place to sit and listen… did anything surprise you? How do you feel after that quiet listening?
  • Storytime: Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth, By Douglas Woods. A boy finds wisdom from his grandfather. This grandad knows how to deeply listen to the earth. After his grandfather dies, the boy slowly understands the wisdom of what his grandfather was saying. It gives him a path for connecting and healing. Video recording of the story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlI-6D8lVXU. Book: HERE
  • Movie Night: There is a wonderful movie on Netflix right now titled My Octopus Teacher, which is a perfect way to think about listening. Please send us an email and share your thoughts after you watch it!

Our UU faith in action:

  • Is your Child a UU7 Secret Service Agent? UU7 is a way for South church children and families to engage in our mission through simple challenges. Click Here for the: October UU7 missions!
  • Find ways to help get out the vote! Put up a yard sign, sign up for online phone banks, more ideas here: https://www.uuthevote.org/
  • Practice Anti-racism together we have gathered many resources to help families in the practice of anti-racism, and we’ll reach out with opportunities to engage in demonstrations as they happen.

Dinner Time Discussions: Some questions you might discuss at dinner this month to explore the theme of deep listening:

  • What are some ways to show someone you are listening to them? (It could be fun to play a game where you practice listening to each other, and then pretend not to listen.. and talk about how it feels!)
  • We talk at church a lot about how important it is to find time outside, to move your body, to rest, and to be in quiet space. Why? Talk as a family about what happens when you don’t make time to rest/restore. Ask what it means to practice deep listening of your own body? How do you help support each other in that important work?
  • Deep listening of Indigenous People: the movement to redefine our Nations October holiday brings up lots of thoughts around deep listening. Thinking about deep listening as a way to move toward truth and reconciliation is powerful. What parts of our history have we listened to? What parts have we ignored? what are the consequences of those choices? How can we do better?

Chalice Lighting for mealtimes this month: “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” ~ Karl Menninger

Upcoming Themes (2020-2021 Church Year)

  • November 2020: We are a community of Healing
  • December 2020: We are a community of Stillness
  • January 2021: We are a community of Imagination
  • February2021: We are a community of Beloved Community
  • March2021: We are a community of Commitment
  • April 2021: We are a community of Becoming
  • May 2021: We are a community of Story

September nUUs from Religious Education

Senior youth welcome back, in the woods! August 30th, 2020

Boy do we miss you all! 
Really hoping to see many of your faces as we collect water donations over the next two Sundays and have several other in-person, outdoor gatherings coming up as well. Whether that happens or not, know that you are loved and appreciated as we embark on a new church year together. Until then, I send you virtual greetings and hope for smooth transitions with whatever you are navigating.

In this month’s nUUs, we’ve shared some important upcoming dates, as well as details about September’s Water In-Gathering, and some resources for family’s at home. As always, please reach out if you have questions!

Also, Please Register! It is a strange one, but it’s still a new church year! Renew your family registration by clicking here!

What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

All ages morning chapel on Zoom Every Sunday at 9:00am. This is a great way to stay in touch with other South Church Families, please join us! Parents encouraged to attend with your kids. Coffee and PJ’s are appropriate attire!

There are many ways to connect with other South church families this fall! Click here for RE Program Information

*Weather permitting **Tentative, details may change.


Water In-Gathering*- is the beginning of a new church year. As part of this annual tradition you are invited to bring a small vessel with water from somewhere meaningful; the beach where you walk in the mornings or a stream in your neighborhood, something collected on a trip you’ve taken, or just a small cup from your kitchen sink. We mix all of our offerings together along with water from years past, and that water is used for blessings and other ceremonies over the coming year.

*This year, Please bring your water in advance! Reverend Susan and Kirsten will be at church August 30th and September 6th from 11a-1pm or you can come anytime. More info Here

Family’s at Home: September’s Theme is Renewal

Our UU faith in pratice:

  • How is your family doing? A family covenant could help set intention as we start this new school year!
  • Got a Chalice? consider using a chalice before meals, or having one out during worship on Sunday mornings. It may seem a small thing, but simple rituals can have deep impact. Here are some words you can share as you light your chalice this month:

As we light this chalice… “This promise we fight for: to persist in kindness, persevere in compassion, and prevail in a life that is bound entirely to love”

excerpt from ‘On Claiming this Time for Renewal’, by Rev Gretchen Haley

Our UU faith in action:

  • Schedule time with your children to support Crossroads House, they are currently accepting donations for back-to-school supplies to help the many children who are living in their temporary housing right now.
  • Practice Anti-racism together we have gathered many resources to help families in the practice of anti-racism, and we’ll reach out with opportunities to engage in demonstrations as they happen.

Dinner Time Discussions: Some questions you might discuss at dinner this month to explore the theme of renewal:

  • Whose way of being in the world renews your faith in humanity? (Who do you admire? Who makes you feel happy?)
  • During fall, the trees turn their energy away from reaching out to the sun. Instead, they let go of their leaves and seek renewal in the rich soil where their roots live. How about you? How do people recharge their batteries? Are there different ways?
  • Sometimes when we feel tired we assume we need rest, but can you think of a time when what you really needed was play?
  • A lot has changed this year, do you still feel like you are connected to the community you live in? If not, how could you renew those connections?

Upcoming Themes (2020-2021 Church Year)

  • September 2020: We are a community of Renewal
  • October 2020:  We are a community of Deep Listening
  • November 2020: We are a community of Healing
  • December 2020: We are a community of Stillness
  • January 2021: We are a community of Imagination
  • February2021: We are a community of Beloved Community
  • March2021: We are a community of Commitment
  • April 2021: We are a community of Becoming
  • May 2021: We are a community of Story

What this year may bring…

Hello all,

Kirsten here 😊

I am reaching out to all of you to say all the things.

I miss you. Jen D and I are thinking of you. We’re worrying and scratching our heads about what the next school year will bring; and we keep reflecting on how our church community can help us navigate this crazy life with more intention, grace, and support.

So, let’s talk about that last thing, ok? What does our church and our faith offer us right now- especially right now- and what do we need to do to harness the opportunity?

Support. Perhaps one of the most challenging and fascinating aspects of this moment in history is how we are in some ways more collectively living a singular experience (this pandemic is turning the entire globe on it’s end, as is the climate crisis), and yet, the experience is unique for each and every one of us. For some of us, our work life has shrunk drastically, for others, work has remained fairly steady, and still others of us have had to shift to an entirely new hyper-speed gear in regard to work; Financial implications of all of those realities are equally disparate. Last spring, some of our children shifted to online learning with ease, for others, it was an utter disaster. Our health risks related to Covid 19 are wildly different, as are the degrees of loss- some of us are grieving the loss of beloveds, other’s don’t have any close family or friends who have died. Some of our parents are safe, some are needing unprecedented help from their adult children at a time when those same children are simultaneously stretched in every other way. Still, no matter your particular circumstances, all of us are grieving deeply right now. This moment of uncertainty and looming fears takes a deep toll on our hearts- even if we are doing relatively well through it all. You may notice it in spells of lethargy or hopelessness. I’ve taken to calling it “the corona-coaster”: some days it feels like things are ok, other days are so, so heavy. That grief needs care and tending, and dear parents, sometimes we are not great at tending to our own grief. For example, some of the things I say and do to avoid tending to my own grief:

My inner (or sometimes outer) voice diminishes my sadness: “Yes, this is hard, but compared to X, I’m so fortunate…”

I think to myself: “I just need to keep going, if I start thinking about it all I will crumble.

The moment I stop working or parenting, I keep catching myself filling my time with television or an audiobook so I can continue to avoid my thoughts.

I really want to pour a glass of wine or open a beer at night.. most nights..

I suspect many of you could make your own list of habits that you know aren’t serving you well, and yet, many of us have consciously or subconsciously excluded ourselves from the list of the people for whom we are responsible. Where do we rank amongst our children, our jobs, our family, and our friends?

My family snuck away for a vacation with a few other families last week– each family rented neighboring cabins. We did our (imperfect) best to minimize Covid risk (kids stayed out of other peoples living spaces, we socialized outdoors.) It was probably not the safest thing to do, but we needed it desperately. IT. We needed each other. We needed to see each other doing our imperfect best, we needed to share the load of parenting, we needed to vent and laugh, and strategize, and wring our hands. Our kids needed to be with other kids- not siblings, and they needed to be with other adults- not their parents.

Our church can help offer those things to us all the time, and especially now. I know it can feel like one more thing to fit in, but it’s different. Our collective can share the load of each of it’s parts. We can offer one another space to mourn ‘the everything’ of this moment, we are the ‘other’ adults for the children of our congregation and our children are given space at church to feel all the feelings of this moment, too– we all need to play and laugh (and dance!) and learn about serving others, and take action to change the world. That is how to tend to this grief, it is tremendously important for us to keep practicing those skills together.

Church looks different right now, and it will surely continue to look different in the coming months, but it’s still here. Jen and I are working on creating outdoor times for our children to connect. We are thinking about how and when we might endeavor to meet one another indoors with safety measures in place. We are reflecting deeply about how to time those opportunities so that they don’t overwhelm our families who will surely be stretched again this fall no matter what form our schools decide to take.

There is not going to be one answer to what church looks like for South Church families in the coming year. Please offer yourselves Grace when something doesn’t work for you; I do not believe that church participation rooted in guilt nourishes any of us. AND, Also… Please set Intention around your commitment to all of us, just as you do with so many other things in this wild, busy life. If you have not encouraged your kids to join a church zoom offering, consider trying one out this summer while they have more free time- there are some really sweet things happening in those spaces- imperfectly sweet, not-the-same-as-in-person sweet. Definitely try to join us for the in-person offerings being planned as well! Kids need to have regular contact with one another or their connections fade, and sometimes when connections fade, it’s hard to get them started again. Come to worship as a family on Sunday mornings. Gather some coloring supplies, or a favorite toy. Bring a candle so you can light the chalice with us. If your children lose interest after the time for all ages, let it be, but ask them back for that beginning again the next week.

I promise you, that pushing to keep your children in relationship with South Church, and choosing to keep that relationship alive for yourself will nourish you all through what you receive and what you are able to give in the exchange.

Last week I was fantasizing with our travel crew about how amazing it would be to live more communally– to have a homestead organized around shared common space where many families shared meals and co-parented. South Church isn’t quite that, but it’s a far cry from doing this work alone, and that is, perhaps, the best news I can share with each of you– we have each other. Whatever comes in the coming months, I am so grateful to be facing it together with all of you. 🖤

Click here for Current RE Offerings

Monday, August 3rd~Parent reflection and vespers service– 8pm. We will meet on zoom for a 45 minute facilitated reflection on parenting in this moment, and we will close with a 15 minute shared vesper service. Please arrive on time, and give yourself a minute before hand to ground yourself in your space- if at all possible, avoid multi tasking for this hour. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87474902814

As our country reels again…

Dear parents,

I have been reflecting on the trauma, anger, and violence that has been re-awakened across our country following the murder of another black person by a police officers. It is a reaction to injustice that has been tolerated for too long– and it can feel paralyzing. Again and again I find myself asking what am I called to do in this moment? -as a mother, as an ally, as a white woman, as a person with some financial security, and a person who has the immense privilege of living in a place where white residents are insulated from the realities of racism, violence, and extreme hardship in our world.

I am seeing and talking with many of you who are recommitting to the fact that we have work to do to help create a future where this kind of violence and hatred is no longer tolerated. It is a part of my job at South Church to support each of you in this work to the best of my ability*, and so here is a beginning, as I ask what am I called to do in this moment?

Keep working to dismantle white supremacy within myself, find ways to take action, and teach children how to practice anti-racism. The path toward dismantling white supremacy in our country requires that white families teach our children how to be anti-racist; we need to talk to our children about our country’s 400 year legacy of oppression, and teach them how to help end that system. There are so many clear resources and strategies for having these conversations in age-appropriate ways. Black and brown families do not have the privilege of protecting the innocence of their children in the United States; they are all to aware that there is a different set of rules and risks that their children will have to navigate. They are forced to prepare their kids for the potential risks they will face in myriad ways, and that means, as white folks, we have an equal responsibility to address this ongoing reality.

Many of you are familiar with our OWL sexuality education program at church, and the framing of that program is helpful to keep in mind. Teaching our children how to be anti-racist is ongoing work; for white folks, it is conversations and learning moments that build on one another and slowly form a comprehensive understanding about what it means to be white, as well as how white people have benefitted in this world at the expense of black, brown, and indigenous people.

As part of this reflection, parents, please stop reading now, and watch this time for all ages offered by Lauren Wyeth, the religious educator who serves the UU congregation in Minneapolis. Recorded for worship this past Sunday (May 31, 2020) in the wake of a week of protests following the murder of George Floyd: https://youtu.be/95EXM-pGmgQ

When you watched that segment, I wonder how many of you found yourself wanting to soften it’s message a little? Wondering if the conversation could be a little less specific about what happened. We want to protect our children from knowing how violent human beings can be when they dehumanize others, but her words are so true: “Knowing hard things is still easier than having questions that we can’t ask, or feelings that we can’t express.” When we actively insulate our children from the truth that exists for so many others, we might protect them from “knowing hard things” for a while, but we also prevent them from developing an understanding of themselves in the context of our larger world, we slow their development of an understanding of whiteness. The longer you wait to start to develop an understanding of what it means to be white, the longer you accumulate bias, and the longer it will be before you can begin to truly embody a practice of anti-racism.

When my colleague was asked if people could share her children’s message in other congregations, she responded: “Yes, please do, so long as you don’t make edits that shift the focus onto the needs and perspectives of white people. This means, among other things, do not add mention of exceptional white cops or fail to call this murder or leave out the demands of Black communities. I understand your congregations may not allow you to tell the truth about George Floyd and police violence; if that’s the case, I’m with you in your despair and rage.”

She also shared that she worked closely with several colleagues and families within her congregation to create that message. “And here’s the bottom line:” she said, “it’s not that hard. This is a *simple* message. No bells and whistles. Just talking to kids about real things, directly and with love. That’s all it is.

I think that’s a good place to end this part of an ongoing conversation. I send love to all of you, as you navigate the hard work of living in this complicated and broken world, and reminder that you are not alone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are all doing this work together.

*There is a collection of resources to support conversations on race, racism, and resistance HERE

May nUUs from Religious Education

Video update on Religious Education at South Church

Our May nUUs is a bit late, but here it is in video form! What’s in it:

Descriptions of our current weekly religious education offerings, which can be found here.

Our intentions for children, youth and families right now are simple: To check in with each other and share how we are doing; create community and opportunities to connect with others; have fun. 

Chapel For All Ages: Sunday mornings at 9:00. This is a sweet 30 minute community time for families. Kids can come with or without parents! https://zoom.us/j/95961550736

Be sure to watch the Bridging worship service at 10am on Sunday 5/31. Also, our 8th graders will be hosting the annual Coming of Age worship on June 14th. Both will be streamed on the YouTube channel!