August Nuus from Religious Education~ a new church year!



Hello to all of you!!

It is hard to believe it is August already! It has been an exciting summer at South Church with lots of construction. If you haven’t been at church you will be surprised when you return! We also had a wonderful service learning trip at the end of June with the 13 youth pictured above, who traveled to West Virginia for a week of hard work and mind opening experiences. We met some wonderful people, got good and messy, and really got to know each other in a new way as well. Join us on September 4th and you can hear more about it during worship or at the slideshow and discussion following the service that day! Finally, there were nearly 70 of us on Star Island in July, and if you didn’t make it I hope you consider it next year- such fun!

I have a lot of news for you in this post, and a big request– this year we need for folks to step in and help us make some big changes in our RE program. Please think about how you might be able to help, and sign up! I am truly excited about the program changes that our capital campaign is helping to push to the front burner, I have a vision that will feed us all in new and wonderful ways, and I need your help to make it happen! If this is news to you, check out this post for some background info: Introducing-theme-based-workshops/

In this blog:

  • It’s time to REGISTER for the 2016-17 church year!
  • This year in RE & Volunteer opportunities
    • Spirit Play (pre K-Kinder)
    • Theme based workshops- 1st-7th grades
    • OWL for 5th grade
    • OWL for 7th grade
    • Coming of Age for 8th grade
  • Teacher Training for all RE volunteers- September 11th at 11:30am
  • Family resources for theme based church
  • Upcoming Sundays- more info on each at the end of this post!
    • August 14 (this week!)- RE Theme talk 8:45 am (childcare provided)- “A community of Covenant”
    • August 28th- RE is offsite @ the Urban Forestry Center
    • September 4th- Appalachia worship and coffee hour discussion
    • September 11th- RE theme talk 8:45 am (childcare provided)- “A community of Healing”
    • ALSO on Sept. 11th- Water In-Gathering (all ages in worship)
    • September 17th- Senior Youth orientation and overnight (parents too, at 6pm!)
    • September 18th- Bring your weight in Food Drive and RE Begins! 

Registration: Every year we ask families to register for the church program, and this year is no exception! Please take a few minutes right now and register-click here– it does not require a ton of time and is tremendously helpful in planning the program!  If you are not sure how you are able to volunteer, feel free to reach out to me and we can talk about possibilities- there is something for everyone, I promise! (see below for some ideas 🙂

This year in RE: 

Spirit Play: Our Pre-Kinder (4 year olds) and Kindergarten classroom uses Spirit Play, a montessori approach to religious education that invites children to explore life’s big questions through stories, “wonderings,” “work” (activities) and songs. Later in the fall and throughout the year 3 year olds are welcome to move up into the classroom as well. Interested in being a spirit play teacher? we will be offering a training for this classroom in late September! We’d love to have you join us!

Theme based Workshops: Students in 1st-7th grade* will be engaged in a workshop styled program beginning this fall. The monthly workshops will be created by congregants in connection with the month’s worship theme, so specific offerings will change throughout the year. Often, the groups will be open to a range of ages, and as we begin to experiment more details about the exact structure will become clear, so stay tuned!  Volunteer as a workshop presenter (short term commitment – a single month), or sign on as a small group leader (1-2 times/month for the year) We’d love to have you join us!

OWL- Our Whole Lives- Comprehensive Sexuality Education– This year we are offering programs for 5th grade (an 8 week program) and 7th grade (a year long program). OWL is a nationally acclaimed program and it is an invaluable experience for our children/youth. You can read more about it here:  OWL instructors are needed! We will pay for your training! Please reach out if you are interested.

Coming of Age– This is a rite of passage year for our 8th grade students. They will be spending this year (at 11 am most Sundays) exploring big questions, getting to know a mentor and one another, and creating a personal credo. The COA program is a really special year for our kids and for every adult who gets to be involved. We are looking for a few more facilitators to help make the program run throughout the year, and also need mentors to match with each of the participating youth. Please reach out if you’re interested!

Teacher Training for all RE volunteers- September 11th at 11:30am-1:30 pm: No matter how you decide to engage in our RE program, teacher training is important so our volunteers understand our safety policies and procedures, know what their jobs entail, and how the program works! This training is also a great opportunity to meet other volunteers and we do a fair amount of deepening and reflection to boot. It’s two hours well spent, and I’ll feed you, to boot!

Family and Volunteer resources for theme-based church: Interested in our monthly themes and wondering if there are resources to use in a small groups, at home, or on Sundays as a volunteer?  Check out the Soul Matters website. This site is a collaborative collection of theme resources, receiving contributions from many of the ~200 participating congregations. There are workshop ideas, opening and closing words, worship materials and much more!  Here’s the theme calendar for this year. Stay tuned for lots more!

Our themes related to this concept:
A community of…

September: Covenant
October: Healing
November: Story
December: Presence
January: Prophecy
February: Identity
March: Risk
April: Transformation
May: Embodiment
June: Zest


Upcoming Sundays- Mark your calendars!

  • August 14 (this week!)- RE Theme talk 8:45 am (childcare provided)- this is a brand new monthly offering that I am hoping will provide a much needed opportunity for parents, RE teachers, and other adults in our congregation to dig a bit more deeply into the monthly worship theme in a small group discussion.  These talks will hopefully help us to better find connections between church and our lives throughout the week. For parents, I am hoping it provides some ideas for how to teach our children about Unitarian Universalism and exploration of ideas in the context of a spiritual community. Whomever you are, I hope you will come join us and see what it’s all about! This month we’ll be talking about “A community of Covenant”
  • August 28th- RE is offsite @ the Urban Forestry Center– If you are coming to church on the 28th, drive over to the UFC first and drop off your kiddos!  We’ll be doing some nature walks, playing some games and eating watermelon– The day is sure to Delight! (that’s the theme this month!)
  • September 4th- Appalachia worship and coffee hour Forum- Worship will begin at 10, and the discussion during coffee hour will start at 11:15. Come hear about our trip to West Virginia, we’ve got some great stories!
  • September 11th-RE Theme talk 8:45 am (childcare provided) open to youth and adults- this gathering we will be talking about “A community of Healing”.
  • September 11th- Water In-Gathering (all ages in worship)- Each year, members and friends of all ages collect water from special places for our ingathering ritual in the fall. On September 11th, we’ll gather as a community to start the new church year, and all are invited to share a bit of water in the ritual. This is the last day of 10:00 am worship, Starting on September 18th, Worship will be offered at 9am and 11 am.
  • September 17th- Senior Youth orientation and welcome back overnight! Parents of high school youth, please plan to join us with your youth at 6 pm for orientation. The youth will then remain for an overnight and will be helping out with the food drive on Sunday morning.
  • September 18th- Bring your weight in Food Drive and RE Begins! – We will be hosting our 4th annual food drive for Seacoast Family Food Pantry on September 13th. Donations will be collected curbside from 8:30-11:30 that morning!  Bring as much as you can muster, help us fill the shelves which tend to be pretty sparse in autumn months!


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