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!
  • 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!

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