May’s theme: a community of Embodiment
It is an absolutely beautiful May day as I write this update for all of you! I hope you are soaking up spring at every opportunity!
In this update, you can read about:
- State of the program and the church- (RE version)
- End of year Sparks (5th-6th) and Purple flames (7th-8th) social groups this week!
- Theme talk (and Children’s chapel) this Sunday, May 7th
- End of year Families Tuugether (for families with young kids), Saturday May 13th
- Mother’s day flower sale May 7 and 14th
- Family resources for May’s theme: A people of Embodiment
- May Workshop info
- Ideas to connect at home
State of the program and the church (RE edition): I know you are all in different places in terms of what you know about the improvements here at church, so, briefly, we are in a period of discernment about whether to move forward with planned improvements of Karnan house (the auxiliary building where some of our RE classes and other church events are held), or whether to instead purchase the purple-brown church down the road on Court Street (past the African Burial Ground). There was a Q &A last Sunday, and we will be engaging in discussion for the next several weeks before voting as a congregation on the choice on May 21st. If you have questions/concerns, please seek out a staff member or board member!
Our RE program is certainly a big piece of the conversations that are happening related to space, and there is a larger discussion to be had about the program going forward- I need input and engagement from all of you to make it fit our needs. I love working with your kids, and there is so much we can accomplish, but it requires everyone to be involved! In the next few weeks May 14th and 21st, I will be in the social hall with information about roles we need to fill for next year. Please stop by to see how you can plug-in as we head into this next year of growth and changes!
- 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.
Want to chat more! Email me and we can set up a time for coffee. I love getting to connect one on one to hear how the program can best fit your family.
End of year Sparks (5th-6th) and Purple flames (7th-8th) social groups this week! If your child is in 5th-8th grade, they are welcome to join us this Friday whether or not they have been registered for the program all year! Please plan to bring a favorite snack and well fitting sneakers as we will be playing games and celebrating the year.
Theme talk this Sunday, May 7th This will be our last Theme talk for the year, this time exploring the idea of being a community of embodiment. All of our south church “grown ups” are invited to join us at 10:15-10:55 for what is always an interesting conversation!
and Children’s chapel is this Sunday. too! Our kids will be meeting together for our monthly children’s worship time, which will include an introduction (on a kid level) of this months embodiment theme.
Families Tuugether- May 10th 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 than8pm. Please note: Families MUST RSVP(email@example.com) 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.
Mother’s day flower sale May 7 and 14th- Our High school youth will be selling hanging flower baskets this Sunday and next as a fundraiser for their trip to New Orleans. Each basket will cost $25. They make GREAT gifts 😉
Family resources for May’s theme: ‘We are a community of embodiment’– 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 embodiment. Think about ways you might take those conversations home to your dinner tables, night time rituals, car drives, and morning routines.
Embodiment- A poem: The Paradox by, Sarah Kay:
When I am inside writing,
all I can think about is how I should be outside living.
When I am outside living,
all I can do is notice all there is to write about.
When I read about love, I think I should be out loving.
When I love, I think I need to read more.
I am stumbling in pursuit of grace,
I hunt patience with a vengeance.
On the mornings when my brother’s tired muscles
held to the pillow, my father used to tell him,
For every moment you aren’t playing basketball,
someone else is on the court practicing.
I spend most of my time wondering
if I should be somewhere else.
So I have learned to shape the words thank you
with my first breath each morning, my last breath every night.
When the last breath comes, at least I will know I was thankful
for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be.
All those places I made it to,
all the loves I held, all the words I wrote.
And even if it is just for one moment,
I will be exactly where I am supposed to be.
In RE this month we began exploring embodiment at our Children’s chapel (offered every first Sunday). This month’s workshops will include learning about Marley Dias’ 1000 books project and doing a classroom audit, where we look at the books on the bookshelf and evaluate who is represented in them. We will also be making prayer flags this month, and doing some meditation (perhaps including a labyrinth! 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:
A few explorations for parents:
- Podcast- Who We Want to Become: Beyond the New Jim Crow What world do we want to embody? What does it look like to embody hope and justice as a culture? http://www.onbeing.org/programs/michelle-alexanderwho-we-want-to-become-beyond-the-new-jim-crow/
- Podcast- Why Is the World So Beautiful? The world’s beauty as an embodiment of truth… http://www.onbeing.org/programs/frank-wilczek- why-isthe-world-so-beautiful/
- Article: The Shared Experience of Built Sacred Spaces by Sarah Smarsh … https://onbeing.org/blog/when-the-physical-becomessecondary-the-shared-experience-of-built-sacred-spaces/
Family Discussions: Here are some prompts for embodiment you might consider this month:
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/soulmattersre/mayembodiment/
- Watch this together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY -that is all 🙂
- If you are out in nature this month: http://artfulparent.com/2010/01/richard-shilling-on-land-art-for-kids.html
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!
“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” – Epictetus
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…