September Nuus in Religious Education

20160821_101623Hello to all of you!!

We are beginning a new church year this month! Tomorrow will be our last single service until May and we will worship together, young and old, with the Water In-Gathering!

I have a lot of news for you in this post, and there are still a lot of unfilled volunteer positions in our RE program! Please read through this update, 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, we have a vision that will feed us all in new and wonderful ways, and I need your help to make it happen!

In this blog:

  • This Sunday- September 11th:
    • Come to the October Theme talk! at 8:45 am
    • Join us for the Water In-Gathering worship
    • Stay for an RE program overview- after church, for parents and RE volunteers
  • It’s time to REGISTER for the 2016-17 church year!
  • Upcoming Sundays- more info on each at the end of this post!
    • September 17th- Senior Youth orientation and overnight (parents too, at 6pm!)
    • September 18th- Bring your weight in Food Drive and RE Begins!
    • September 23rd @ 6pm in Sanctuary- Coming of Age program orientation (8th grade youth and parents)
    • October 7- first Sparks and Purple flames (social groups for 5-6th and 7-8th grades)
    • October 8- first Families Tuugether night
  • Family resources for September’s theme: A people of Covenant
  • Descriptions of Volunteer opportunities if you’re not sure how you’d like to get involved!

This Sunday: 

  • Monthly Theme talk 8:45 am (childcare provided)- this is a monthly offering intended to 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 and RE volunteers, it  may also provide some ideas for how to talk with our children about Unitarian Universalism and the 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 what it means to be “A community of Healing”
  • Water In-Gathering- worship for all ages at 10am (the last single service till May) This annual service includes an opportunity for each of us to bring and share a small amount of water from somewhere meaningful, whether it’s your kitchen sink, or the lake you spend your summers. Join us for this beautiful start to a new year!
  • RE Volunteering info session 11:30am- This week we were planning to have a teacher training, but we are still in need of many volunteers for this year, so instead we will be having an information session to explain some of the new changes this year, and articulate the volunteer needs we have to make it all happen. You are not committing to anything by coming to this gathering, so please join me!

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🙂 )

Upcoming Sundays- Mark your calendars!

  • September 17th- Senior Youth orientation and overnight (parents too, at 6pm!)- We will begin the evening with an orientation for families which will include an overview of the year, a bit of paperwork, and an opportunity for Q & A. The orientation should take about an hour and the youth will remain for an overnight. Please email for more information if you haven’t received more details already!
  • September 18th-
    •  RE Begins! for grades pre-k through 7th grade. Begin worship in the sanctuary and then head downstairs (parents and children) after the story for all ages to join us for the beginning of a new RE year!
    • Bring-Your-Weight-in-Food Drive benefiting the Seacoast Family Food Pantry. Our community’s generosity at this strategic time of year makes a big difference in the community. Early donations may be dropped off at the church during office hours the week prior to Food Drive Sunday. (Tues-Friday, 9-2)
  • September 23rd @ 6pm in Sanctuary- Coming of Age program orientation (8th grade youth and parents)- This is an important gathering if your 8th grader is planning to participate in this incredible year long program. Again, if you haven’t already received a more detailed email, please reach out!
  • October 7- first Sparks and Purple flames (social groups for 5-6th and 7-8th grades)- I will be reaching out to families in the next week with more details, but we will be gathering at Church on October 7th from 7-9pm. You can register for this program along with your basic RE registration (link is above!)
  • October 8- first Families Tuugether night- Open to children 8 months through Sixth grade, Families Tuugether is a popular program for families of young kids; an opportunity for parents to reconnect and to recharge. Offered monthly during the church year starting in October, children are dropped off at South Church at 4:30pm with a potluck dish to share (Ready to serve, please.), and parents head up to the sanctuary for a short group gathering before heading out to enjoy some quite time. Children will strengthen friendships, enjoy a movie, and play fun games. Parents return to get their child no later than 8pm. Please note: Families MUST RSVP if they plan to come to this event, so that we are able to meet the staffing needs. Program is be closed after 25 children register, to ensure we have a safe and fun event.

Family resources for September: ‘We are a community of covenant’– one of the wonderful things about theme based church is that there are multiple opportunities for parents and children to explore a specific idea throughout each month. This means there are also lots of opportunities for ideas and inspirations we come across on Sundays at South Church to find their way into our lives throughout the week.

This could be very meaningful.

This month, as we explore the idea of covenant, think about ways you might take those conversations home to your dinner tables, night time rituals, car drives, and morning routines.  Here’s a small framework to whet your palate, let me know if you have any great family moments!

Covenant, Definition: a formal and serious agreement or promise. In Jewish and Christian theology, an agreement between God and God’s people; in Unitarian Universalism, an agreement about how we will strive to be in relationship with one another.  Synonyms: commitment; trust; bond; pact; pledge; agreement; understanding

To seek the truth in love means that even when we stumble, we continue to love. Even when we flail, we stay in relationship. To seek the truth in love means that we talk about the hard things rather than denying that things can be hard. This is a very difficult task. It is not something that I have found easy to do, but it is something that I continue to try to be brave enough to do.~ Rev. Anne Mason, Soul Matters Minister

Programs happening this year in RE (For parents and volunteers looking for the perfect role!): 

Spirit Play: Our Pre-Kinder (4 year olds) and Kindergarten classroom usesSpirit 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!

Our mothly themes this year:
A community of…

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


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