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!

April nUUs from Religious Education

Sunday morning Religious Education Zoomers

How are you? No, really, how are you?

“Good, how are you?” just doesn’t seem like enough right now. What normally feels like a simple social nicety feels more like a serious social care taking need right now. There are plenty of things we still need to do together, business to cover, plans to carry out, but first we need to know who we each are in this wild moment. And we may be different tomorrow, or in an hour, or 5 minutes from now.

In the South Church Zoom world, we’ve had lots of iterations of groups meeting online in the past few weeks: South Church staff, teaching teams, worship teams, parents, Senior Youth, Coming of Age, children, and others. Each time, it feels necessary to check in for real before we begin any other kind of work. The intensity of all that is new and uncertain right now deserves naming before we can set it aside to do the things we want to do together. Witnessing, hearing, and seeing how others are, and speaking honestly about how we are at this moment feels right and tends to make the loads easier to bear.

We are very aware of how overstretched most parents are right now. These are unprecedented challenges we’re facing, and if you feel like you are failing, please know– you are not alone in that feeling. The expectations being put on us in this moment are largely impossible to meet. If you have not had a chance to check in with church at all- know that we are here when you are able to find the time. No guilt.

SO, on that note, IF you have a few minutes:

Hey Kids! It’s time to vote for the children’s shared plate recipient: Click here for the Ballot. Please vote on or before April 5th!

This Week’s All Church Challenge! Family Chalice lighting videos! We’re asking for short videos of your family lighting a chalice at home– we’re going to use these videos to create a montage for our worship chalice lighting. If you don’t have a chalice at home, here are some ideas for making one! Send submissions to jendeldeo@southchurch-uu.org Thanks to everyone who submitted short dance videos that were included in worship on 3/15, and/or a photo of yourselves wearing some kind of costume which were used this past Sunday. It’s so wonderful to see glimpses of your faces!

Upcoming offerings: Click HERE for meeting links/more info– (updated often!)

  • Coffee chat For ParentsFriday April 3rd 7:30am –
  • Sparks and Purple Flames! Friday April 3rd, 7:00-9:00pm- https://zoom.us/j/930594613 Meeting ID: 930 594 613
  • Baby and Toddler Story Hour! Saturday 4/4 at 7pm 

Ongoing on Sundays: Click HERE for meeting links/more info.

  • Online Worship at 10 AM on the South Church Youtube page
  • Church Kids zoom group (for elementary-7th grade) at 11:30 am
  • Coming of Age meets at 11:30 am
  • Senior youth meets at 4pm

Looking for creative things to do, parent resources, and more? We have an ever growing list of cool stuff for you, HERE. Sending you all SO much love, and so much gratitude for the sweet gifts you each add to our church community. Take care of your hearts, we’ll see you soon!

Dear parents,

Chalice Lighting at Senior Youth gathering last Sunday

How are your hearts?

We are thinking about you all the time. We are missing you. And we are working hard on setting up new ways for us to be together. In each of our homes there are so many similar experiences and so many unique challenges unfolding, but certainly for every one of us this week has been hard.

As this global crisis continues to evolve and the realities of what is coming starts settling in, try -as much as you can- to slow down. Breath. And listen to your own heart and to those around you. All the rules have changed. None of us know what lies ahead, but we are not alone and there is beauty to be found even in this most difficult moment.

Here is the new Family Resources page, which includes a few links about what’s happening right now, and how to talk about all of this with your children.

If you did not see Kirsten’s letter to our South Church Kids, click HERE and share it with them.

And, if you missed the Worship last Sunday – make sure your children see the story we wrote for them and the bonus material at the very end- it will make you smile! (And we welcome similar submissions from all of you!)

The immediate focus for Kirsten and Jen is building up our new ‘Virtual Offerings’ pages on the RE website, click over for a few Upcoming opportunities to connect:

We are sending so much love to each and every one of you.

To all the children and youth of South Church,

To all the children and youth of South Church,

I have been thinking about all of you so much this week, and wanting to reach out to you to see how you are? Usually, sending a message to you when our regular routines are being changed for some reason, would be my first priority. But this particular week has been different than anything I’ve ever experienced before, and it’s created a whole new set of work for me and the rest of the staff at church. We’ve been working really hard, but I haven’t had enough time for all of it, so I’m really sorry it’s taken so long to write to you!

SO, here’s the most important thing; I want to tell you how very proud of each of you I am, because you are all doing a great job at being flexible about really unexpected changes. And I want to tell you how sorry I am about all of the things that may have been in your plans over the next few weeks that are being cancelled. I am sure a lot of you are feeling really sad about that, or frustrated, or confused. If you ever want to talk, you can write to me, or Cat, or Jen Del Deo, any time!

My email is: Kirsten@southchurch-uu.org
Cat’s email is: Cat@southchurch-uu.org
Jen Del Deo’s email is: Jendeldeo@southchurch-uu.org

The second most important thing I have to tell you, is that I need your help with one of the coolest projects I have ever seen us try to do at South Church! Starting this Sunday, South Church’s worship will be streaming online! Our in-person gatherings are on pause for at least the next 4 weeks. This means that I am working with a whole bunch of other adults to figure out how to make a space on the internet where we can all come together as a community and share time with one another. Just this week, those of us who have been planning worship have thought about all kinds of cool ways to start this project, but we need your help! I’d be willing to guess that none of us know even a quarter of what most of you know about technology, and we want to make sure we take advantage of all the expertise we can find right now! I’m hoping you’ll help us create this new church space over the next few weeks!?

Tomorrow’s worship will be the very beginning of the adventure. If you haven’t already heard, tomorrow will be extra special because we have just welcomed a new minister to our church, named Reverend Susan (you can sneak a peek at her HERE), and she’ll be at worship with us! Alice O’Traynor, (one of the nicest, smartest people I have ever met!) is giving the sermon, with another amazing church member named Laurie Bilby who will be the worship associate. Joanne will be leading music, with a whole bunch of other musicians joining her, and Jen Deldeo and I are planning a special story for you all.

I hope that you will ‘come’ to worship with your parents. It will be streaming on Youtube live, and we will be posting the link on our website or on our South Church facebook accounts. Make sure one of you have a youtube account, so you can make comments!
South Church members group on facebook
South Church’s public page (you can access this without joining facebook)

Before worship, look around your house and see if you can find something you can use as a chalice at home, so you can light it with us during worship. Maybe you might like to download some some coloring pages too, so you have something to keep your hands busy as you listen and watch the worship. You will have a chance to share a rose, bud, or thorn during the worship, so if you don’t know how to type, you might want to tell a family member what you want to share so they can type it for you.
This coming week, and for the next few weeks Jen Del Deo and I are going to be brainstorming what it might look like to have religious education gatherings online. Maybe we can have a bedtime story hour? or a kid chat where we share ideas with each other about what we do when we’re bored at home?! Maybe you all want to play a game together on a zoom chat?! What do you think would be a good idea? Youth group will be meeting online for sure, as will coming of age. But what other ideas do you have, and how can we support each other and keep one another company? That’s what I want you to wonder about– I CAN’T WAIT to hear the cool ideas you come up with!

I can’t wait to “see” you tomorrow!! Please be extra kind to your family if you can right now, everyone is feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Most of all, don’t forget that I love you all very much! ~Kirsten

March nUUs from Religious Education

Crossing Paths- religious exploration class, just back from attending Mass at Immaculate conception on Feb 16th

We’re getting daylight back, everyone! Clocks change this week, which for me always brings some extra evening energy. It won’t be long before we have windows open, and that pale green of early spring kissing the trees… sweet season, this.

Corona virus: There are still a lot of unknowns about what might be on the horizon for our community related to the spread of Corvid 19, but I will be communicating with families as necessary while things evolve. In the mean time, I think this comic is a great way to sit down and talk with your kids– they are surely hearing things about this virus, so making time to reflect with them will allow them to communicate any fear or anxiety they might be feeling. While we’re on the topic, here’s a link to a more reflective, deep dive connecting this virus with larger elements of our world right now, written by Susan Raffo: “Coronavirus, Climate Change and Community Care”

This Month… (follow the program links for more information)

  • March 6th– Sparks and Purple Flames social groups will be competing in our 2nd annual CHOPPED! competition at South Church from 7-9pm. Please RSVP if you can join us! I need extra chaperone/judges, too: Sign up to volunteer
  • March 8th– Worship at 10a- Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Meditation and Theme Workshops will convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th graders can choose to join us in the theme workshops, or attend worship with your families- no crossing paths this week. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet WITH PARENTS at #73 Court st after the time for all ages. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St.
  • March 14th: Families Tuugether 4:30-8pm. Remember to RSVP!
  • March 15th– Worship at 10a- Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Meditation and Theme Workshops will convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th grade Crossing Paths will meet to explore Buddhism (10am-11:30). Coming of Age (8th grade) will meet in the social hall to set up for Lunch with special guests– extended class today (lunch from 10a-Noon). 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court.
  • March 22nd: Worship at 10a- Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Meditation and Theme Workshops will convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th grade Crossing Paths visit to Aryaloka Buddhist center today. Coming of Age (8th grade) will meet with mentors at Court St. for a scavenger hunt- so we’ll be going till 11:30 today! 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court.
  • March 29th: Worship at 10a- Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Meditation and Theme Workshops will convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th graders can choose to join us in the theme workshops, or attend worship with your families- no crossing paths this week. Coming of Age (8th grade) will meet with mentors at Court St. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court.
  • April 5th: Worship at 10a. Pancake Breakfast today!

Save the date! There will be a No Cages No Carbon summit, hosted by the UUNH Action Network which will take place at the UU church in Exeter on Saturday, May 9th. The programming has been planned to include adults and youth of middle school age and older, and there will be children’s programming for younger kids. I hope you will join me!

Family Resources to engage the question: “What does it mean to be a family of wisdom?”

  • Story To Read Together: I am Jazz (for Transgender Day of Visibility Mar 31) by Jessica Herthel  (Author), Jazz Jennings (Author), Shelagh McNicholas (Illustrator). Find the Book here. “The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.” – Amazon
  • Family Discovery: The Wisdom of Simplicity: Make a Kite
    • Option #1: A simple activity is building and flying a kite. You can make one for under $1 out of a plastic garbage bag, two dowels, tape and string. Here are the instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u5Aa3BkCQg For a group, we recommend making some premeasured templates so the children can use them as a guide to cut their bag to the right shape, instead of measuring it. Reflect on how the building of the kite teaches you the wisdom of careful following of instructions.
    • Option #2: We recommend this “Color a Sled Kite” as “the best ever for RE kids and young youth!” It allows you to design the image yourself, and it flies well in little wind. Order these beforehand @$7.50. https://intothewind.com/kites/foil-sled-kites/color-a-sled-kite.html P.S. There is an inexpensive small box of crayons provided in the kit. You may want to use permanent markers on the Tyvek surface of the kite for more satisfying graphics.
  • Family Movie Night Idea: Song of the Sea “.. But what really makes Song of the Sea such a winning and delightful film is its focus on the two siblings, the use of traditional music, and the stories within the story. Ben is the keeper of his mum’s stories (all of which are true, we learn), and Saoirse is the keeper of the song that will set the fairy spirits free from their imprisonment. It may sound a bit complicated, but in the context of the movie, even young kids will understand what’s going on and how the various stories interconnect..” – Common Sense review
  • For Parents: (Support for Adults as Faith Formation Guides): The Wisdom of Play a great publication about how children learn to make sense of the world through play

Sending love to you all, may this season of change offer your family inspiration and growth!

February nUUs from Religious Education

Exploring integrity through group fort building!

Happy February everyone!

I am getting ready to drive my eldest back to college tomorrow, and so I am feeling a little sentimental as January comes to a close. Having him home this month was such a delight– even the wet towels on his bedroom floor 😉 So, my advice should you want it? Snuggle up with your little ones and smell their heads. They will be out of reach, sharing their magic with the wider world too soon.

Have you registered for the RE program this year? If not, you can register by clicking here!

This Month… (follow the program links for more information)

  • February 2nd– Worship at 10a- young people (preschool-5th grade) head downstairs for Children’s Chapel after the time for all ages (don’t forget to bring a small donation and your UU7 Challenge sheets!) 5th grade OWL– 9:30 at Court St- and 5th grade OWL parents: read this. 6th-7th grade Crossing Paths will meet at 10am to reflect on last weeks Quaker visit. Coming of Age (8th grade) meets at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St
  • February 7th– Sparks and Purple Flames social groups will be playing a game called MURDER at South Church from 7-9pm. Please RSVP if you can join us!
  • February 8th– Senior youth worship rehearsal and overnight.
  • February 9th: Senior Youth will be leading worship at 10a- there is no upper grade programming this morning, in hopes that older children will attend the youth worship. The Nursery will be open and there will be Spirit Play, and Elementary age church programming after the Time for all ages. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm as usual. No Senior Youth group this week.
  • February 15th: Families Tuugether 4:30-8pm. Remember to RSVP!
  • February 16th: Worship at 10a. Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages.  6th-7th grade *tbd. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet with mentors at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St.
  • February 23rd: Worship at 10a. Multi-age school vacation programming this week. No upper grade classes or OWL.
  • March 2nd– Worship at 10a (led by Kirsten). Young people (preschool up to 7th grade) are invited to Children’s Chapel after the time for all ages (don’t forget to bring a small donation and your UU7 Challenge sheets!) Coming of Age (8th grade) meets at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St

Family and Parent Resources for exploring Resilience These resources help parents as they engage the question: “What does it mean to be a family of Resilience?”

Story To Read Together: Richard Right and the Library Card. Book here. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ4kZpi9EY4 “As a young black man in the segregated South of the 1920s, Wright was hungry to explore new worlds through books, but was forbidden from borrowing them from the library. This touching account tells of his love of reading, and how his unwavering perseverance, along with the help of a co-worker, came together to make Richard’s dream a reality ” – Amazon. Theme Connection: Richard Wright was a real person. A resilient African American man who had to have grit to get access to books in the library. From the hard times of racism, he rose to become one the most brilliant writers in the U.S.

Family Discovery: Laugh with Me Video (19 min) which we will be using in the meditation room this month. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVkG3L79sL4 Engaging directions for different laughter exercises: Driving Laughter, Puppet Laughter, Blossom Laughter, Surfing Laughter, Laughter Cream, A Gentle Laughter Meditation.

Family Movie Night Idea: Odd Squad https://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/odd-squad Theme Connection: Each episode sees kids confronted with a problem that must be solved with grit and determination.

For You (Support for Adults as Faith Formation Guides):

  • Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance (Ted talk) Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.
  • How I Learned to Let My Kid Fail, by Diane Tavenner https://time.com/5687129/children-failure/

January nUUs from Religious Education

It’s a NEW DECADE, everyone!

I am sitting at the front desk at church right now, listening to a full room of laughter and light as our high school youth feed the First Night revelers hot bowls of chili! Thank you so much to all of you who made pots of chili to donate, who showed up to help with serving, or who came to eat and take it all in!

Have you registered for the RE program this year? If not, you can register by clicking here!

This Month… (follow the program links for more information)

  • January 3rdSparks and Purple Flames social groups will be ice skating tonight! 7-9pm at Puddledock pond. RSVP if you can join us!
  • January 5th: Worship at 10a- with a special New Year ritual before out young people (preschool-5th grade) head downstairs for Children’s Chapel don’t forget to bring a small donation and your UU7 Challenge sheets (if you completed any of them)! 5th grade OWL– 9:30 at Court St- and there is 5th grade OWL parent forum this week at 9am.  Coming of Age (8th grade) meets at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group and parents will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St for our first GA planning potluck!
  • January 11th: Families Tuugether 4:30-8pm. Remember to RSVP!
  • January 12th: Worship at 10a. Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. 5th grade OWL- 9:30 at Court St. 6th-7th grade will meet in the Carson Parlour. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St.
  • January 18th: *community event* The NH Women’s March an empowering event in support women’s rights, human rights, social and environmental justice. This event is hosted by several grassroots organizations with deep roots and commitment to advancing these values in our community. We will meet at Noon at South Church to make posters. There will be speakers at 1 pm in Market Square followed by the magnificent Leftist Marching Band! Dress warm!
  • January 19th: Worship at 10a. 6th and 7th grade Crossing Paths meet at 10am to prepare for our visit to the Quaker meeting house next week. Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. There is NO OWL or Coming of age this week. Senior youth will lead a coffee sale in the morning, but there is no youth group Sunday night.
  • January 20th: *community event* Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast  This is not listed specifically as a family event, but a great way to celebrate MLKjr. Pancake Breakfast 8:30am, speakers and music from 10:00-12:00. Program includes Keynote Speaker Reverend Jeffrey M. McIlwain, Pastor at North Star AME Zion Church, Newington NH. Music by North Star Right Now Band with Choir, Marie Foti, and Gary Richardson. Hosted by Reverend Robert Thompson, Chair, Black Heritage Trail New Hampshire. Join us afterwards for a tour of the Black Heritage Trail with Sankofa Scholar Nur Shoop.
  • January 26th: Worship at 10a. Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. 5th grade OWL- 9:30 at Court St. 6th-7th grade will meet in the Carson Parlour. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St. The Annual Meeting is today after church, childcare will be available.

Family and Parent Resources for exploring Integrity These resources help parents as they engage the question: “What does it mean to be a family of Integrity?”

  • Story To Read Together
  • Family Discovery
  • Family Movie Night Ideas
    • Mary Poppins “Families can talk about how Mary Poppins gets her messages across. What’s easier to hear, a command or a song? How does Poppins get respect from others? Why is it important to spend time together? What happens if people get too busy sometimes to “go fly a kite”? How does Mary Poppins teach and demonstrate … integrity?”
  • Support for Parents as Faith Formation Guides

December ’19 nUUs from Religious Education

Senior Youth in Orland, ME for an annual day of service at H.O.M.E inc.

Happy December, everyone!

This can be a sweet and magical month. It can also be a challenging time, with high expectations and not enough hours in the day. For the past few years I’ve tried to set intention to help maximize the magic and minimize the challenges. It includes intentional rebellion against the materialism that this season pushes us to embrace. I try to prioritize time with loved ones, and time serving people who are navigating difficulties in this moment. I try to focus on the beauty of twinkling lights, snow fall, clouds of breath as people laugh in the crisp air of winter. I take a little time to put on music before I start dinner, or brew a cup of tea before I sit down to sort through mail. Whether you makes space to send a letter to a dear friend you haven’t seen in a while. or push yourself to catch some daylight hours in nature, I send you love and support in your own intentions. By the end of this month, the hours of sunlight will be a little longer every day, in the mean time, may you embrace these dark cozy December days and find sweet joy-filled moments within them.

Have you registered for the RE program? If not, you can register by clicking here!

This Month… (follow the program links for more information)

  • December 1st: Worship at 10a- and an all ages Children’s Chapel will be offered this weekend. There are no other classes convening today as many families travel over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I am going to start posting a summary of our chapel each month for families who weren’t able to be there. You can find that HERE. Click HERE for December’s UU7 challenge
  • December 6th from 6:00-8:00pm: South Church Holiday Celebration and Auction! Please come join us for our annual holiday potluck. Bring a dish that is special to your family during the holidays. There will be some crafts set up for children, lots of folks to celebrate with. We’ll sing some holiday songs and maybe scoop up some special items at the holiday auction, too!
  • December 8th: Worship at 10a. Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. 5th grade OWL- 9:30 at Court St- Optional 5th grade OWL Parent forum this week at 9am!!6th-7th grade will be attending worship at the Catholic church in Dover today (we’ll meet at church at 10am). Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL will meet at 4pm at South Church, and Senior youth group will meet at 4pm at 73 Court St.
  • December 11 Community Event: Taming Technology: A Practical Guide to Effective Digital-Parenting This speaker was highly recommended by one of our members, and the topic is certainly relevant for our families! It is happening at Wentworth Douglas hospital from 6-8pm that evening.
  • December 15th- Worship at 10a. Spirit play for preK-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th grade meet at 10a. 5th grade OWL meets at 9:30a at Court St. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a for a community service day- Dress Warm! 7th grade OWL meets at 4pm. Senior youth meet at #73 Court at 4pm
  • December 22nd: Worship at 10a is our annual multigenerational Holiday Pageant day. There are no RE programs today, but the nursery will be open for young ones from birth up to age 4.
  • December 24th: Christmas eve services will be offered at 5, 7 and 9pm. Typically, the 5pm service is very full and there are lots of children, so come early to get seats! Children are welcome at all services, but the 9pm worship tends to be more reflective/quiet- which is helpful to keep in mind when you are choosing which service to attend.
  • December 29th: Worship at 10am. Special programming for RE! We will have a magic show following the story for all ages in worship. No other RE classes today, but the nursery will be open.
  • December 31st: First night Chili Sale! Please consider stopping in at South Church on New Year’s Eve if you are out and about. Our High school youth will, once again, be selling chili to raise funds for their end of year learning journey. If you want to help support them even more, consider making a batch of chili to donate to the sale!! All chili donations can be dropped off at church between 4:30 and 6pm on New Years Eve.

Family and Parent Resources for exploring Awe These resources help parents as they engage the question: “What does it mean to be a family of Awe?”

  • Story To Read Together: Rosa by Nikki Giovanni  (Author), Bryan Collier (Illustrator). Video Read Aloud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiHNJK5vZXQ “Fifty years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, Mrs. Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in the American civil rights movement. This tribute to Mrs. Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed. Award-winning poet, writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni’s evocative text combines with Bryan Collier’s striking cut-paper images to retell the story of this historic event from a wholly unique and original perspective.”
  • Family Activities:
    • Ancient Earth Interactive Map Type in your address and how many millions of years ago you wish to see and view an interactive online map of what the earth looked like.
  • Family Movie Night Ideas:
    • The True Meaning of Crumbfest Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scsnf4EYMpo Book: https://www.amazon.com/True-Meaning-Crumbfest-David-Weale/dp/0969860641/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+True+meaning+of+crumbfest&qid=1568041483&s=books&sr=1-1 “Winner of the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature; over 17,000 copies in print; animated Christmas special on TELETOON, with the spin-off series Eckhart The True Meaning of Crumbfest is the story of a curious little mouse named Ekhart, who sets off to discover the truth about that most abundant time of year called “”Crumbfest,”” when bounteous crumbs miraculously appear in the old Prince Edward Island farmhouse in which he lives. … this a heartwarming tale of the magic that happens when the “Outside” and the “Inside” come together.” – Amazon
    • March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World This collection manages to explain how black people were treated unequally in a way even preschoolers should understand on a basic level. Those unfamiliar with Scholastic’s Storybook Treasures series should be aware that these are animated adaptations of books; they’re old-school narrations (often by the authors themselves or celebrities, in this case Lynn Whitfield, Michael Clarke Duncan, and writer Nikki Giovanni) accompanied by the books’ illustrations and some historical photographs. That said, the March On! collection is a perfect introduction to the civil rights movement and black history for young kids. The four easy-to-follow stories all depict a time in American history when African Americas were treated either as chattel or second-class citizens. A great follow up to our children’s chapel conversation, which you can find here, if you missed church December 1st.
  • For Parents as Faith Formation Guides– Check out his article: Celebrating the Winter Holidays By Michelle Richards, UU World

November ’19 nUUs from Religious Education

Cozy November greetings to you all!

Our theme at church this month is exploring how we are a community of attention (ideas for family exploration are offered at the end of this post). I am already finding rich rewards as I prepare for the weeks ahead. Life is wildly full for many of us, and particularly because of that, I invite you to spend some time thinking about attention over the next few weeks. It has the potential to shift things in magical ways.

Thank you to everyone who has already registered for the new church year. If you have not yet had a chance, you can do that 
by clicking here!

This Month… (follow the program links for more information)

  • November 3rd: All Souls Worship at 10a- bring a photo or item to remember a beloved one who has died. Spirit play for preK-Kinder students and Children’s Chapel for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th grade no class (temple visit Nov.1). 5th grade OWL starts today. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL meets at 4pm. Senior youth meet at #73 Court at 4pm
  • November 10th: Worship at 10a- Veterans day service. Spirit play for pre K-Kinder students and All ages Elementary age workshop convenes after the story for all ages. 5th grade OWL- 9:30 at Court St. 6th-7th grade meet in the Carson parlor at 10a. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a. NO class for 7th grade OWL today or Senior youth group today.
  • November 15th- Sparks and Purple Flames social groups meet for Bowling at Bowl-O-Rama in Portsmouth 7-9pm. Volunteer parents needed: sign up here!
  • November 16thFamilies Tuugether meeting at 73 Court St!! Remember to RSVP
  • November 17th: Worship at 10a. Spirit play for preK-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th grade meet at 10a. 5th grade OWL meets at 9:30a at Court St. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL meets at 4pm. Senior youth meet at #73 Court at 4pm
  • November 24th: Worship at 10a. Spirit play for preK-Kinder students and Elementary age Workshops for 1st-5th grade convene after the story for all ages. 6th-7th grade meet at 10a. 5th grade OWL meets at 9:30a at Court St. Coming of Age (8th grade) meet at #73 Court st at 10a. 7th grade OWL meets at 4pm. Senior youth – H.O.M.E trip Friday-Saturday, wreath sale Sunday morning! No group Sunday eve.

Annual Senior Youth Wreath Sale

November 24th! Support them by taking home a wreath to decorate your door. $25 each.

Family Resources for November’s Theme of Attention:

These resources help parents as they engage the question: “What does it mean to be a family of Attention?”

With Your Kids -Ideas to engage Attention as a Family-:

  • The Man with the Violin. A famous violinist plays in the subway. Only 7 people pause out of 1,097. The story about the experiment: https://www.liveabout.com/a-violinist-in-the-metro-3299658 “…In the 45 minutes the musician played, only six people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
  • There is also a children’s picture book: The Man with the Violin, by Kathy Stinson  (Author), Dusan Petricic (Illustrator), Joshua Bell (Afterword)
  • Moody Cow, by Kerry Lee MacLean.  Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbzeRg7Ms1A “Peter the cow is having a BAD day. After missing the bus and wiping out on his bike he loses his temper and gets in trouble. To make matters worse all the other kids are teasing him, calling him Moody Cow. Peter’s day just seems to get worse until his grandfather comes over and teaches him how to settle his mind and let go of his frustration through a simple and fun exercise.” – Amazon
  • Making a Mindfulness Jar Just as in the book, Moody Cow, make a jar filled with glitter. Watching the glitter settle is a way of maintaining mindfulness and paying attention to being centered.
  • Movie Idea: My Neighbor Totoro (G) “Unlike the majority of animated movies, this isn’t full of pop-culture or consumerist references that, while funny when handled correctly, can also bog down animated films or zap them of their childlike fantasy. Satsuki and Mei need Totoro to help them through a difficult time in their lives — new home, sick mother — and it’s quite lovely to see the sweet little moments that cement their friendship. It’s a shame more family movies aren’t as simple and beautiful as My Neighbor Totoro.” – Common Sense Media

For You(Support for Parents as Faith Formation Guides)

  • The 5 Main Tenets of Mindful Parenting As parents, perhaps the most precious thing we can give our children is the gift of our full presence, in the moment. “ As we become more aware of our own deepest needs through practice, mindful parenting also involves decoding and addressing the deeper needs of our children, rather than getting mindlessly caught up in and reactive to surface behaviors. Therefore, the cultivation of self-compassion/love, healthy self-acceptance and self-awareness are essential components of skillful and effective mindful parenting.” – from the article