December ’21 nUUs from Religious Education

Transitioning into the Season of Light (photo by Betty O.)

Bright greetings to you, Friends! 

Our church theme this month is “Opening to Joy.”

Yes, let’s. Let’s open to joy and uncover the light in these dark days.

There are plenty of obstacles, but we as humans do have a super power to find and share joy, even in the toughest and darkest moments. Connecting in meaningful ways generates a light and joy that can sustain us.

Our 6th and 7th graders are holding a food and supplies drive to benefit Gather! Please bring donations to church between now and Sunday, 12/12. There will be collection bins in the narthex. No glass containers, please. To see Gather’s wish list items, visit their website:

Senior Youth families: Commitments and deposits for our June trip will be due soon! See the Senior Youth page for more info! (Click HERE)

Thank you to everyone who supported our high school youth by purchasing the wreaths they decorated! Proceeds will go toward their service learning trip to West Virginia in June.

Make sure to come to the beloved South Church Christmas Pageant on December 19th during worship! Everyone is invited to participate. No rehearsals, just show up and join the fun!

There are some important logistics changes to know about. In case you missed the email sent out last week, here are some things to pay attention to:

  • Beginning Dec 26th, we will likely move to one worship time. This means you won’t miss your friends that do to a different worship time! RE classes will remain in the same structure, just happening during that one time. NO time change for OWL 5, OWL 7, or Senior Youth.
  • We will be requiring proof of vaccination for all eligible people attending worship, beginning on Christmas Eve. Parents, we know that this is sudden for children who only just became eligible. We want to hear from you. If your child has not yet started the vaccine process, you don’t need to stop coming but please reach out to Jen DD or Kirsten. Masks will still be required for everyone in our buildings.

If you did not receive that email and would like to know all of the many details it contains, then reach out to any staff member.

These decisions have been made by our Board of Trustees, with the interests and safety of our church community as their priority. We understand the really difficult nature of setting these kinds of policies, as well as the wide range of emotions, opinions, and concerns connected to these topics. Board President Janis Wolak, Reverend Susan Suchocki Brown, and Director of Lifespan Ministries Kirsten Hunter are available to address your questions or concerns.

Finally, if you haven’t yet, PLEASE REGISTER YOUR CHILDREN, whether you plan to attend regularly or not! It is tremendously helpful for us to keep track of who our young people are and what we need to know about them.CLICK HERE for RE registration!

What you need to know this month… 

Click Linked Items for additional Details:

Click here for 2021-2022 RE Program Information

  • Friday, December 3rd:
    • Families Tuugether! 5:30-8:00. RSVP:
  • Sunday, December 5th:
    • Worship at 9:00a and 11:00a, Sermon offered by Reverend Susan
    • 9:00a service will stream live on YouTube
    • Young Church meets downstairs following TFAA
    • Coming of Age meets 1:00-4:00 for service project with mentors! Piscataqua Room
    • 6th/7th grade Service Learning meets 11:00-12:00, Carson Room
    • OWL 5 meets 9:30-11:00, Court St classroom
    • OWL 7 meets 4:00-5:30, social hall
    • OWL 7 Parent Discussion Group, 4:00-5:30 in sanctuary
    • Senior Youth meet 4:00-5:30p upstairs at Court St building
  • Friday, December 10th:
    • Sparks and Flames Social Event! 7:00-9:00p. RSVP for location:
  • Sunday, December 12th:
    • Worship at 9:00a and 11:00a, Sermon offered by Rev. Susan
    • 9:00a service will stream live on YouTube
    • Young Church meets downstairs following TFAA
    • Coming of Age meets 10:45-12:00, Piscataqua Room
    • 6th/7th grade Service Learning meets 11:00-12:00, Carson Room
    • OWL 5 meets 9:30-11:00, Court St classroom
    • OWL 7 meets 4:00-5:30, social hall
    • Senior Youth meet 4:00-6:30p upstairs at Court St building
  • Sunday, December 19th:
    • Worship at 9:00a and 11:00a, PAGEANT DAY!! All-ages worship.
    • 9:00a service will stream live on YouTube
    • Coming of Age, 6th/7th Service Learning, Sr Youth and OWL 5: These do not meet today–come to the pageant!
    • OWL 7 meets 4:00-5:30, social hall
  • Sunday, December 26th:
    • Worship at 10:00a only, offered by Worship Associates
    • Service will stream live on YouTube
    • No RE programming today
  • Sunday, January 2nd:
    • All-Ages Worship at 10:00a, sermon offered by Kirsten Hunter
    • OWL 5 meets 9:30-11:00, Court St classroom
    • Coming of Age meets 10:45-12:00, Piscataqua Room, with mentors
    • OWL 7 meets 4:00-5:30, social hall
    • Senior Youth–help with worship!

Families at Home: December’s Theme is “Opening to Joy

Our UU faith in practice and action:

  • UU 3rd Principle: “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.” Or, in kid friendly language, “We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.” In Unitarian Universalism, spiritual growth doesn’t necessarily mean growing closer to god. Maybe it’s more like searching for truth and meaning within own selves, and supporting each other in doing that. This doesn’t happen only in church. While church can be the community part of our spiritual growth, and can inspire us to grow, we also should find our own spiritual practices outside of church. This includes helping our children develop sources of spiritual connection and rituals in daily life. Here are a few things kids can try, to find spiritual practices that they can connect to:
    • Go for a walk in Nature, and let natural curiosity inspire a sense of wonder and awe
    • Try meditation. There are some great guided meditations for kids on YouTube and various music streaming platforms. Start with something short as they build their endurance for meditating. Here’s a nice one as an example.
    • Gratitude practice. Find a time of day where you can start a daily gratitude practice. There are many ways to do this; you could take turns sharing your gratitude at the dinner table; keep a gratitude journal next to bed, where you write one large, medium and small thing you are grateful for when you wake up; set a 1-minute timer at bedtime and name as many things you are thankful for as you can before time is up. Here’s a great article related to this, including more ideas.
    • Explore spirituality through music together. You can listen to music (try tracks from Beautiful Chorus, or from our Director of Music Ministry, Jonny Peiffer, as Sojoy, for example) or make music. If you don’t play instruments you can drum a beat that matches what’s in your heart or what you want to invite in. Or try humming as a spiritual practice (read more HERE.)
  • Taking our monthly theme home: “Opening to Joy”
    • Do you find joy in the act of giving, sharing, spending time with family or friends? Where else do you find joy? Make a list together.
      • HERE‘s a book about someone sharing the joy they find in words, read aloud by Barack and Michelle Obama. Consider writing a secret poem to someone to share joy!
    • Have a joke telling session at home! Kids are great at making up their own. Or, HERE are some to get you started.

Chalice Lighting for mealtimes this month:

It’s Flung * 

By Rev. Scott Tayler (Permission secured by Soul Matters) 

Joy doesn’t simply arise 

It flies. 

It flings. 

No, it is flung. 

It is passed, 

it is spread, 

between you and me, 

between the one who just received a gift 

and the one that has been looking for it a long time. 

It’s a beautiful and elegant contagion, 

over which we have more control than we think. 

If only we share it. 

If only we notice that joy is not ours to keep, 

but ours to pass on. 

So let’s light up the world, friends! 

Joy blesses us with its exuberance, 

so we can make that blessing grow! 

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