September’17 nUUs in Religious Education


Greetings on the last day of August!!

I hope you have all had a wonderful summer, and that returns to school have gone smoothly, but, if it’s bumpy and awkward and you are feeling tired and overwhelmed, know that you are not alone! (Not by a long shot!)

I have a lot of news for you in this post, and there are details still to be ironed out as we continue getting families registered, filling volunteer roles and finalizing the calendar. Cat Lyons and I are really excited for how this year is looking, as we settle into some of the changes that were implemented last fall with a bit more certainty. Can’t wait to get you all involved and see your kids!

In this post:

  • It’s time to REGISTER for the 2017-18 church year!
  • Sundays this month:
    • September 3: Holiday weekend RE- one service at 10am (scroll down for more info)
    • September 10:  Water In-Gathering worship- Two services (9 & 11)
    • September 17: Return to the Sanctuary! RE Welcome workshops (Two services at 9 and 11 until memorial day…)
    • September 24: R.E Welcome workshops and Bring your weight in Food Drive!
  • OWL for 5th grade, 7th grade, and 10-11th grade
  • Coming of Age for 8th grade
  • Senior Youth Overnight and start of year (9-12th grade)
  • Other upcoming dates: more info on each at the end of this post!
    • September 22nd- @ 6pm in Sanctuary- Coming of Age program orientation (8th grade youth and parents)
    • September 23rd- Senior Youth orientation and overnight (parents too, at 6pm!)
    • October 1st between services (10:15-10:50) Theme talk: “Courage”
    • October 6- first Sparks and Purple flames (social groups for 5-6th and 7-8th grades)
    • October 14th- All church celebration & blessing of the Sanctuary
  • Family resources for September’s theme: A people of Welcome
  • Descriptions of Volunteer opportunities if you’re not sure how you’d like to get involved! 

More Details on the list above:

R.E on September 3 and 10:  We are excited to re-start our year in Religious Education and we’ve decided to kick it off with a story!  This coming Sunday we will be making some props and learning about the story of Stone Soup – a tale about sharing and working together to help everyone.  The following Sunday will be our Water Ingathering service at 9 and 11.  We need some kids to help us tell our story at each service.  I’ve attached the script so that people can get familiar with the story at home if you aren’t at church this week (holiday weekend).  We hope to see you this week for prop-making and at our Water Ingathering to help tell this fun story.  Script:

Water In-Gathering- worship for all ages (at 9am or 11am on September 10th) 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!

OWL- Our Whole Lives- is a comprehensive sexuality education program that we offer multiple times throughout our children’s adolescence at South Church. OWL is a nationally acclaimed program and it is an invaluable experience for our children/youth. You can read more about it here:   The 10-11th grade class will be offered in the winter months, but 5th grade and 7th grade OWL orientations are now set:

  • 5th grade OWL parent orientation (not kids)– October 1st at 12:30-2pm
  • 7th grade OWL parent orientation (not kids)– October 1st at 4:00-6:00 pm

Coming of Age program orientation (8th grade youth and parents) Friday, September 22nd @ 6pm in Sanctuary- – This is an important gathering if your 8th grader is planning to participate in this incredible year long program. We’ll be sending out letters to each of the families next week, but feel free to email if you have questions!

Senior Youth orientation and overnight (parents too, at 6pm!) Saturday 9/23 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 have any questions! a few details:

  • We will have a Saturday evening of getting to know our new group and then those who wish will sleep at the church and we will lead the Bring Your Weight in Food Drive on Sunday morning at church.  It is our first big gathering and social justice event and a good time for everyone.

  • Sunday 10/1 4-5:30pm is the first regular youth group meeting of the year.  We will meet on the top floor of Karnan house and start getting into our regular rhythm and planning out the year ahead!

Bring-Your-Weight-in-Food Drive benefiting Gather; the Seacoast 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)

Sparks and Purple flames (social groups for 5-6th and 7-8th grades) Friday, October 7th will be our first Getting to Know each other gathering from 7-9pm in the Social hall at South Church.  I will be reaching out to families in the next week with more details. You can register for this program on the 7th, but please RSVP so I know you’re coming!

Programs happening this year in RE (For parents and volunteers): 

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.

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, and will connect to the theme schedule which is listed below. Often, the groups will be open to a range of ages, but may be split in age groups for particular offerings.

*We will also be running month long faith explorations for upper elementary (particular 6th grade) students (parents are welcome too). Keep your eye out for details on this program in our October nUUs-  it will include visiting other nearby faith communities and learning some basics about each tradition we explore. If you are interested in helping facilitate for a specific month, or throughout the year, please reach out!

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!

Senior Youth Group- Our high school youth group strives to be a place of community service and empowerment. We build community through deep sharing, witness, playing games, and sharing time in reflection. Each year includes a number of service learning opportunities. The program gives our youth an opportunity to build deep friendships, develop a better understanding of themselves, and of the world in which we live.

Our monthly church-wide themes this year:
A community of…

September: Welcome
October: Courage
November: Abundance
December: Hope
January: Intention
February: Perseverence
March: Balance
April: Emergence
May: Creativity

Family resources for September: ‘We are a community of welcome’– 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 for your family and for our community.

This month, as we explore the idea of welcome, 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!

[From Soul Matters RE Packet:] Playing off our monthly theme question of “What does it mean to be a people of Welcome?”, we invite parents to ask “What does it mean to be a parent of Welcome” or “What does it mean to be a family of Welcome?”

As you use these resources to engage these questions, keep in mind some additional ways to use them with other parents or your church community:  

  • Read it and reflect with those in your family.
  • Share and discuss them with other parents or another family.
  • Use them in a Parent Circle that meets on Sunday afternoon or mid-week.
  • Use them at a Wonderful Wednesday night that includes dinner, spiritual practice and activities on the theme, including times together as families, and separate as kids and adults. Be sure to gather at the end for a goodnight hug and lullaby!

Your Five-Year-Old is already Racially Biased and What You Can Do About It

Helping our children be more welcoming and intercultural competent.

7 Tips for White Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Police Murders of Black People

Welcoming and talking about hard truths.

Family Activities on Welcome

from Tapestry of Faith, Signs of Our Faith

Raising Children to Be Interfaith Ambassadors

by Michelle Richards

A Candid Welcome; Top 10 Reasons You May Not Feel Comfortable and Welcome in a UU Congregation

A list of welcoming and unwelcoming beliefs from a UU perspective. Helps parents engage their children in the question, Is UUism about believing anything you want?

“How Tonglen helps Children Handle Pain”

Helping children welcome the hard times

The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving

by Dr. Lisa Miller

Welcoming spirituality to childhood!

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