Happy New Year everyone ♥
I am guessing most of you have heard the news at this point that our ministers are departing, January 20th will be their last Sunday. I know that with this news comes a lot of feelings and questions. It will take us some time to figure out some of the details in our next chapter, but we are a mighty family, and the best way forward is one that we all build together. Our congregation is strong and poised to burst into our larger community in incredible new ways. The collective heart of South Church is blindingly bright, so let’s shine, ok?
I invite you to think about this community of ours as practice space. We are working toward the vision of our principles, we are nourished by our sources, and we are bound in our covenant– our commitment to one another. Some of us are just starting to learn what that means, others of us have been practicing for years, and have become incredible mentors, and all of us continue to grow- with every joyful celebration, and every challenging loss. Our power comes from all of this. From those who are regrouping, those who are reaching, and from those who have found the next ledge from which they can reach back and help the rest of us forward.
Parents, you have an extra challenge right now, because you are navigating your own emotions, and are also tasked with helping your children to process this moment for themselves. Many of our kids have only ever known Reverend Lauren and Reverend Chris as their ministers, and seeing them leave is hard. When we shared space in children’s chapel last week, some children shared that they were feeling sad, confused, some felt this wasn’t enough time, or worried that other people at church would be leaving too, and some mentioned that they will miss Jack, and Ben, and Aliyah. They also expressed excitement for Reverend Lauren’s new job, and for the new adventures the Jablonski-Smith family have in front of them, and honestly, some kids seemed ok, and at peace with this transition.
There is no right way to feel in moments like this, and every one of us is different, but if you have not done so already, it might help to find a peaceful moment to ask your children about this coming change, listen to their feelings, and invite them to ask any questions they might have. Remember that you don’t have to have all the answers, our kids can surprise us in their ability to understand when we say we don’t know something. They also appreciate, “I’m going to think about that, can we talk more later?”
I hope that you all know I am here if there is anything I can help with. I have deep faith in the potential of our community, and I have some solid experience to draw on in this moment, so don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help in any way I am able. I would also like to invite everyone to share some messages and favorite memories to include in a journal we will give to Chris and Lauren at the end of the day on January 20th. I know it isn’t a lot of time, but consider sending along a message, memory, or drawing– you can email it to me and I will print it out, you can mail it or bring it to church (before the 20th, 4×6 paper or smaller, please) or you can grab the journal and write/draw directly into it this coming Sunday or next.
Finally, if you did not make it to worship this past Sunday, I think you may find some comfort in Reverend Chris’ story, and Reverend Lauren’s Sermon. They will both be on the podcast soon <–click here for that link. The Reverends are also mailing out a paper letter to your children directly, but you can find that letter HERE, as well.
Church Sundays and Other Important dates this month:
- January 12th: Families Tuugether at South Church 4:30-8pm. (please RSVP) Reverend Lauren and Reverend Chris will be there for the parent discussion.
- January 13th: Reverend Lauren and Chris will be hosting an open-to-all conversation about the current transition this Sunday after the second service (12:10pm- Childcare available in nursery). It is a *Regular RE program day. (see below)
- January 20th: MLK Weekend. Children’s choir starts today! (SEE BELOW for more info), Spirit play, elementary, and 6-7th grade classes meet- No OWL or Senior Youth today. Extended social hours to say farewell to our ministers.
- January 25th- Sparks and Flames social groups for 5th-8th grade go iceskating at Puddledock, 7-9pm!
- January 27th: It is a *Regular RE program day. (see below) and the Annual Congregational Meeting will be held in the sanctuary at 12:15- childcare is available in the nursery. Coming of Age meets at 4:30-5:30 with their mentors today
- February 3rd Children’s Chapel (don’t forget your UU7 mission forms and a few coins for the collection!). 5th grade OWL concludes today, with parents joining at 10:15.
[*Normal RE program day: Both services include Spirit Play and Theme workshops for grades 1-5. 11am worship also included: 6-7th grade religious exploration and Coming of Age for 8th grade. OWL for 5th grade is currently meeting at 9:30 most Sundays. OWL for 7th grade and Senior Youth meet on Sunday evenings at 4-5:30 pm.]
Children’s Choir! Children of all ages are invited to join two amazing music makers, Pam Felber and Sally Hirshberg, for our first of two children’s choir offerings this year. Rehearsals will be: Sundays between worship services from 10:15-10:50- Jan. 20, 27, and Feb. 3rd, and on the day of the performance from 8:15-8:45. The Children’s choir will Perform during the ‘Love Fest’ worship on Sunday, Feb. 10th at 9 and 11am. For more information, or to RSVP: Sally Hirshberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Family resources for January’s theme: A people of Possibility
These resources help parents/guardians as they engage the question: “What does it mean to be a family of Possibility?”
With Your Kids (Ideas to engage Mystery as a Family)
Family Adventure Ideas
- Day Trip to Boston!! There is an incredible exhibit at the ICA right now, William Forsythe has created work that engages children and adults in deep and playful ways- Possibility plays a large role in the experience, and I highly recommend it! The exhibit is showing through February 21st. https://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/william-forsythe-choreographic-objects
- 30 Days of Love Family Calendar: Practice the Possibility of kindness and love with this calendar of family activities, one for each day from Mid-January until Valentine’s Day. https://resouthchurchuu.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/eb378-30DOL2018AllAgesCalendar.pdf
- Create a New Year’s Resolution together
- Focus on the Possibilities….
- One thing I want to learn more about…
- One thing I want to stop being afraid of…
- I want to improve my …
- I want to spend more time….
- I want to spend less time…
- I want to be more…
- Game: Play “Sorry,” the board game. “Sorry! is marketed for two to four players, ages six and older. The game title comes from the many ways in which a player can negate the progress of another, while issuing an apologetic “Sorry!” – from the game description. Practice your humility as you are jumped over and sent back in this classic board game.
- Books To Read Together:
- Good People Everywhere, by Lynea Gillen (Author), Kristina Swarner (Illustrator) https://www.amazon.com/Good-People-Everywhere-Lynea-Gillen/dp/0979928982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539373198&sr=8-1&keywords=good+people+everywhere “A colorful picture book that will warm the hearts of children and adults alike, each of its pages contain endearing examples and vibrant illustrations to inspire children to grow into grateful, caring, and giving people. It provides a wonderful way to calm children before sleep, ease their fears, and help them develop an appreciation for good work.” – Amazon
Family App Ideas
- Curious About Me with Curious George (preschool)- (Theme Connection: What are the possibilities of you?)“Curious About Me features preschoolers’ favorite monkey, helping kids create movies that let them think and talk about their own lives and experiences. Kids take photos of themselves, their families, friends, and pets; record audio and video to add to their stories; or create their own art. The movie incorporates these contributions into the stories, which are automatically saved in-app or to the device’s camera roll. Note: It requires quite a bit of storage space to hold all the pictures and videos kids can add to their stories.” – Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/curious-about-me
Family Movie Night Ideas
- Ratatouille (G) Theme Connection: Celebrating the impossible possible, even in fantasy. “Parents need to know that, like all of Pixar’s other films, Ratatouille includes nuanced humor (about the French, haute cuisine, food critics, and so on) and references aimed directly at adults. Kids will miss most of these references but most likely will still enjoy the plot and animal characters. Not surprisingly for an animated kids’ movie, the protagonist, Linguini, is an orphan — although at least he’s a young adult and not a child. There’s some moderate peril involving the rats and weapon-wielding humans that may frighten sensitive and younger viewers; the sewer sequence is particularly tense and potentially scary, as is the gun-toting grandma. There are a few mild insults, such as “stupid” and “loser,” and one “hell.”” – Common Sense Review https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/ratatouille
- A Goofy Movie (G) Theme Connection: The possibility of being wrong and restoring a relationship. “Free of the pressures that sometimes smother the big Disney releases, this movie has a refreshingly casual feel, with some sly humor, even daring to poke fun at Disney itself. The teen characters are contemporary without the prepackaged feel of other Disney productions (like “The New Mickey Mouse Club”), and there are lively songs performed by Tevin Campbell. It’s a shame that the G rating might scare off the film’s optimal audience, the 10-14 age group. If you can persuade them to take a look, they will find much to enjoy and identify with. At the center of the story is Max, struggling through the torturous insecurity and self-consciousness of adolescence. Like all teens, he is humiliated by his father’s goofiness. But the movie’s great joke is that in this case, his father is not just goofy, he is Goofy, the Goof of all Goofs, the Uber-Goof!” – Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/a-goofy-movie
- Gym Teacher: The Movie (age 6+) Theme Connection: The possibility of change. “Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie touches on themes like teamwork, perseverance, and self-perception and examines what it means to be a winner. There’s some poor sportsmanship and bullying (tweens tease a classmate, putting him down and throwing things at him), but it could prompt family discussions about respecting others and being tolerant of differences…” – Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/gym-teacher-the-movie
For You (Support for Parents as Faith Formation Guides)
- Starting over; Despite our best intentions, all parents make mistakes, act inconsistently, and generally fall short of our goals. But we can also model asking for forgiveness. Michelle Richards reflects more in this article: https://www.uuworld.org/articles/starting-over
- How to Teach Humility to Your Kids in a Digital Age https://www.thetechedvocate.org/how-to-teach-kids-humility-in-a-digital-age/