April nUUs from Religious Education

April’s Theme: A community of Transformation


April seems to need some attention folks! I can relate to these first few days; heavy snow, then bright sun, warm air, now relentless rain. Mud, and sprouts, budding trees, and a sled filling with water on the edge of a melting mound of slush.

All the things. Spring.

In this update, you can read about:

  • Volunteering for RE
  • Sparks (5th-6th) and Purple flames (7th-8th) social groups this week!
  • Families Tuugether for families with young kids, Saturday April 8th
  • Pancake Breakfast, Sunday April 9th
  • Easter Sunday details
  • Family resources for April’s theme: A people of Transformation
    • April Workshop info
    • Ideas to connect at home

Volunteers! (that’s you!): As you may know, this year has included a lot of big changes to our program, and part of that change, was moving volunteer recruitment for the bulk of our program away from the months of August and September (which are notoriously busy times for families). Now is the time to articulate how you would like to help make our program happen for the coming year. I will have an RE “Job Fair” table at Social hour beginning on April 23rd, that will articulate all of the following roles, but please, reach out if you are interested in something and would like to know more about it, or if you are ready to jump in! Volunteer roles include*:

  • Workshop Assistants at 9 and 11 am
  • Workshop leaders- to design a single day, or multiple day workshop at 9 or 11
  • Spirit play teachers– to participate in training for this montessori based program, and volunteer in the class at 9 or 11 am
  • Roaming supervisors, to sign on for 9 or 11am and be available to fill in unexpected vacancies and ‘hold down the fort’ so to speak
  • OWL facilitators to attend three day intensive training and help facilitate our comprehensive sexuality education program (offered for 5th, 7th, and 10-11th graders)
  • Coming of Age facilitator (team of 4 to work with 8th graders for the year)
  • Coming of Age Mentors – pairs with one of our 8th grade students to offer structured mentorship in our year long program (fall 2017-spring 2018)
  • Nursery support- be an extra set of hands in our nursery at 9 or 11 am
  • Senior Youth Group advisor- assist Cat Lyons, our RE program assistant and youth group coordinator, at youth group gatherings on Sunday evenings, and support off site trips when available.
*All of our volunteer positions require safe congregation screening. Extra training is offered for Spirit Play, and is required for OWL. Orientations are provided for Coming of Age volunteers, and senior youth group advisors.

Families Tuugether- April 8th 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 8pmPlease note: Families MUST RSVP(kirsten@southchurch-uu.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.

Pancake Breakfast, Sunday April 9th This Sunday is our annual pancake breakfast fundraiser to help our high school youth fund their service learning trip (this year, 11 youth are heading to New Orleans for General Assembly which has a justice theme this year! Please come anytime between 8 and 11 am on Sunday to have a delicious breakfast and to show your support for our youth. We are also still taking donations of eggs, fruit, and orange juice- email me if you’d like to make a donation!

Easter Sunday details Easter Sunday is on April 16th this year, and as always, the service will be an intergenerational worship (no RE programming, but the nursery is still open). After each worship, we have a fun egg hunt for the kids. If your child has allergies, we have a basket of allergy safe treats for which they can trade in their collected sweets. Please bring a donation of filled eggs (or candy for us to use to fill eggs) this week or next! See you soon!

Family resources for April: ‘We are a community of transformation’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 transformation. Think about ways you might take those conversations home to your dinner tables, night time rituals, car drives, and morning routines.

Transformation- The Kind of Transformation that The Church Offers, by Brene Brown “I went back to church thinking it would be like an epidural. But faith and church was not like an epidural but like a midwife…who just stood next to me saying push. It is suppose to hurt… People want love to be like unicorns and rainbows. But Jesus says love is hard, trouble and controversial. Love is not easy… I thought faith would say I will take away the pain and discomfort but what it ended up saying is “I’ll sit with you in it.” And I never thought that would be enough but it’s perfect… Love weeps.”  http://www.mbird.com/2013/07/brene-brown-reflects-on-how-jesus-wept/

In March we talked about risk, and now, over the next two months, we will be exploring transformation and then moving into the idea of embodiment. It seems that we are being called to open our hearts to shift, and I am excited for the prospect. If you have been following the news over these past few weeks, you may have heard about the hiring decision in the UUA and read some of the calls to action that have emerged. It is not a comfortable moment for leaders in our faith, or for those of us who are grappling with how this relates to our own biases, but it is certainly a moment of opportunity if we can embrace this call for transformation, settle into our discomfort, reflect as individuals and as wider circles of community, and challenge ourselves. I am hopeful that we will do so, in all of the imperfect, clumsy, challenging ways we can.

In RE this month we began exploring transformation at our Children’s chapel (offered every first Sunday). This month’s workshops will include a story workshop where students will be making a set for The Hungry Caterpillar and articulating a script so the story can be told during worship in early May; We will also be helping make our pancake breakfast fundraiser happen on April 9th by transforming the dining area after the first seating, and then doing clean up transformation after the second 😉 In the second half of the month we will also have a felting workshop (transforming loose wool into felt creations) and we do have space for a few more ideas toward the end of the month if you have a 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:

UU Stories- Consider asking people in your congregation to talk about our Unitarian Universalism has transformed their lives, or about any moment of transformation that has become a part of their story. How does our community invite us to welcome, and even seek, transformation?

Explore the April theme on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/soulmattersre/april-transformation-soul-matters-2017/

A few resources for parents:

Family Discussions: Here are some prompts you might consider during a dinner conversation, at bedtime, or while going for a drive in the car this month:

  • The relationship we have with our siblings is transformational– changing throughout our lives. Perhaps ask your children about how they see their relationship with one another, and how they would like it to transform?  At children’s chapel we talked about whether or not we agreed that our job as a sibling is not to judge each other but to love each other– and how unique that job can be. Discuss!!
  • Bad things happen- think about a loss your family or child experienced in the past, and ask how they think about it now, and how those feelings have changed. You might be surprised by what comes out. The way we transform pain in our lives into a source of strength is deeply connected to resilience.

As you explore, 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!

“But now that so much is changing, isn’t it time for us to change? Couldn’t we try to gradually develop and slowly take upon ourselves, little by little, our part in the great task of love?  “Rainer Maria Rilke


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.

Our monthly 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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