January theme: a community of prophecy
Happy New Year everyone! I’m sure many of you are chomping at the bit to get this newsletter, as you’ve made your resolution to jump into church with increased vigor and you’re wondering how to start! This is a great beginning! (giggle giggle)
In this update, you can read about:
- Monthly Theme talk: Sunday, January 8th at *10:15 am (*new time) Discussion: Anticipating February’s theme- being a community of ‘Identity’
- Children’s chapel Sunday, January 8th
- Social group for 5th-6th graders and 7th-8th graders- First Fridays
- Families Tuugether, Saturday January 14
- Family resources for January’s theme: A people of Prophecy
- January RE Workshop info
- Ideas to connect at home
Monthly Theme talk- January 8th at 10:15 am– this is a monthly offering intended to provide a much needed opportunity for parents, RE teachers, and other adults (and youth) in our congregation to dig a bit more deeply into the upcoming 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 Sunday we’ll be talking about February’s theme: what it means to be “A community of Identity” If you’d like to attend, we will have a supervised room for kids to hang for this 40 minute gathering.
Children’s Chapel On the first Sunday of each month RE children from first grade through 7th grade gather together for Children’s Chapel. This is our first opportunity of the month to explore the worship theme, and to practice worship in a kid friendly setting. This month we’ll be diving into the topic of ‘Prophecy’. Parents: we participate in a shared plate donation during this gathering, so it’s great if you can send along .50cents or a dollar for your child to contribute.
Social Groups- called Sparks (for 5th-6th grade) and Purple Flames (for 7th-8th grades) meet on the first Friday of most months during the church year. This is a fun way for kids to get to know one another in a fun social setting. This Friday, January 6th, both groups will be meeting together at South Church from 7-9 to play a super fun game called ‘Murder’ (i know, it sounds scary, but it’s a great time!). IF you are interested, please email the Director of Religious Education: email@example.com to get registration information!
Families Tuugether- January 14th at 4:30 to 8pm– 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, 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(firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 January: ‘We are a community of prophecy’– 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. There are 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, and for our weeks to give us inspiration we can return to our community on Sundays!
This month, as we explore the idea of prophecy, think about ways you might take those conversations home to your dinner tables, night time rituals, car drives, and morning routines. It’s kind of a tricky theme, but when you dig into it, I think it’s really timely!
Prophecy- “Our times ask us to exercise our capacity for prophetic witness, by Prophetic witness I mean our capacity to see what is happening, to say what is happening and to act in accordance with what we know…. Prophetic witness …is the ability to name those places where we resist knowing what needs to be known.” -Rebecca Parker, UU theologian and minister
I think for most of us (adults) no matter where we fall on the political spectrum, this moment in our nation is a scary one. We are a divided people in many ways, and finding a road back toward unity and equality seems very complicated. In our own lives, this is probably true as well, as we grapple with blind-spots, growing edges, expected and unexpected challenges. As parents, though, we are also tasked with the honor of ushering a new generation into adulthood. Prophetic witness may seem, literally, over their heads, and yet, our babies are future.
Perhaps, start with this simple seed– each of us has work to do to wake up to the world within us and around us. If our children can begin to learn how to do that, think how much further they might go! How can we help to raise children who possess the ability to name what needs to be known?
In RE this month we will be exploring prophecy in workshops during the 9am and 11am worship for children in Kindergarten through 7th grade. This month’s workshops include a Martin Luther King day workshop on Jan 15th; a music exploration (with Kazoos!!); A bread making workshop- where we explore the prophetic message of Challah!; An art/creativity workshop; and maybe (not confirmed yet!) a palm reading workshop!! We do have space for one more idea toward the end of the month if you have a prophetic workshop in mind! Reach out!!
In our families, here are some ideas to explore this months theme. These are just a few suggestions, but a great way to start thinking about how to bring South Church into our lives in new ways:
- Martin Luther King: I Have Been to the Mountaintop
- 5 Ways to Fight social injustice as a family– great ideas in this link!
- Click this Link to a list of Social Justice books for kids
- Also…For ages 4-8
- Barack Obama’s book for his daughters: Of Thee I Sing– This is a great book highlighting heroes.
- The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant
- For ages 9-11-
- Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood
- Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
- Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Cullerton Johnson
- Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock
- Here’s a Pinterest page with LOTS of great ideas for families to explore the theme of Prophecy
- For youth/parents who enjoy hip hop– this article might interest you: Searching for the prophetic in Hip Hop
- Also for the more aged among us: On Being podcast: The Prophetic Imagination, Walter Brueggemann– about how prophets are often first/also poets.
As you explore prophecy this month, I hope that you will share your knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm with me and with our congregation! There is a bulletin board in the social hall where you can post reflections, our South Church facebook group is a great place to share, and I love receiving emails, too! Sending deep love to your families!
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Programs happening this year in RE (For parents and volunteers looking for the perfect volunteer role!):
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’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: uua.org/re/owl OWL instructors are needed on an ongoing basis (the program runs annually) and We will pay for your training! Please reach out if you are interested.
A community of…