We are a Unitarian Universalist family.
This month in Children and Adult Religious Education we are asking ourselves "What does it mean to be a community of identity?" What makes up one's identity? Certainly, we identify ourselves by how we look, what are families are like, our interests, and our Unitarian Universalist faith among other factors.
As UUs we are lucky to be made up of so many different types of people. Gay, straight, transgender, cis, believers, athiests, humanists and more make up the people in our community. We are learners and doers. Accepting others' identities is core to who we are as a faith.
It’s one thing for a religion to offer you an identity; it’s quite another for a religion to celebrate your identity. At our best, we seek both - Soul Matters
We are discussing identity as it relates to family, race and culture, and gender identity during our time with the kids in class this month.
Questions to ask your kids this month:
The world has been hard lately. You know what I mean. The assumption that all people are good, loving, and accepting has seriously been challenged. As we look forward to the next few years of our American life, the future is unknown.
What will our nation look like in four years? Who will be hurt along that journey? How can we protect those who are dear to us and make the world a more loving and safe place for everyone?
I propose we do have the power of prophecy. Prophecy is the theme for January, and so very relevant today. This power of prophecy comes from within. We can trust our internal purpose and unignorable call to action to help us shape the future.
This coming week in Children's Chapel we will hear the Sicilian story of The Bell of Justice.
Men and women of Atri, the bell hanging in this market place I have had put here for you. Any one of you may come and ring it, old or young, rich or poor. But no one must ring it unless he has been unfairly treated by someone else. This is a Bell of Justice
I'm inspired to ring the "Bell of Justice" and empower others, most importantly our children, to ring that bell too.
Family Resources for Prophecy-January 2017
Resources from Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson
October has been a month of growth for our RE program. Not only growth in numbers, but growth in the way that we do Religious Education at SMUUCh.
Our new model of themes along with a new schedule (first Sunday Children's Chapel, second and third Sundays we divide to classes, and fourth Sundays we gather for Service is Our Prayer) has worked out well. Teachers and staff are discovering areas that need to be tweaked as we go along.
How can you help? When you see RE teachers, please take a moment to thank them. They are intentionally working together to create a space of safety, peace, and learning for your children. Also, encourage your children in their spiritual growth on Sundays. These moments of self-discovery, learning, and fellowship help to shape who they are as humans. I am grateful to be a part of that growth for our students, and I recognize that you are your child's primary religious educator.
In October we asked ourselves, "What does it mean to be a community of healing?" And in November we will be asking ourselves, "What does it mean to be a community of story?"
Our Unitarian Universalist faith is a story in and of itself. We can look to the stories of our ancestors in this movement for inspiration and courage to act on our beliefs. Each of us is a story, and when we share our stories, we learn to understand our world and each other better.
October 30th -
Children's Fellowship - Mask Making for Pre-K through Middle School. Led by teaching artist Brad Shaw of Kansas City Young Audiences, students will create their own unique mask using paper mache and paints. Please bring a can of food for Salem Food Pantry. They accept items such as canned meat and canned spaghetti sauce. No glass jars please. Students are welcome and encouraged to dress up in their Halloween finery.
Altar of Remembrance - Your child is invited to bring a picture or memento of a loved one who has passed on. We will have a butterfly token to place on the altar if you are unable to bring an item of your own. This will happen during our Time for All Ages.
November 6th: Children's Chapel introducing "Story"
November 13th: Classes
November 16th: Christmas Pageant Auditions @ 6:00 in the Sanctuary
November 20th: Classes
November 27th: Service is Our Prayer
Dear SMUUCh Families,
I am excited to announce that we will be working with Soul Matters this year in Religious Education. What does this mean?
Rev. Rose and I received Soul Matters training from the Director of Congregational Life from the UUA, Scott Taylor. Soul Matters is a collective with established monthly themes.
The benefits of thematic Sundays in RE are:
1. A month long look at one theme will give our students and teachers a chance to go more in-depth. Those who don't attend every Sunday will be able to easily join in!
2. The programming is experiential. Students will take part in activities that aid in their understanding of the theme.
3. We will ask big questions together, but also encourage students to develop a well-honed sense of introspection.
4. The themes center around our spiritual values as Unitarian Universalist. This approach helps to create a tangible feeling of UU identity among our youth.
5. Less teaching dates for teachers! More opportunity for them to be able to be a part of the service.
Example of a typical thematic month:
First Sunday: Children's Chapel introducing the theme. The theme for September is "Covenant."
Second and Third Sundays: We will divide our students into three groups with trained teachers. K-2nd, 3rd-5th, and Middle School.
Fourth Sunday: We will have a Service is Our Prayer project together reflecting this theme.
I hope you may be as excited about the coming changes as I am.
Last Week (September 18th): We divided into classes.
K-2nd Grade discussed covenant (positive ways to interact with one another in the class and at church). They made paper chain promises.
3rd-5th worked on covenant as well. Once they discussed covenant they went on to build something together (using spaghetti and marshmallows) as a classroom family.
M.S. students also talked about covenant. Their conversation looked at the process in a democratic way. Each person expressing their desires and voting on the end result!
Next Week (September 25th): Service is Our Prayer. Click Here for Sign-Up.
How Can We Be a Community of Covenant? Service is Our Prayer
This month in religious education we are asking the question, "How can we be a community of covenant?"
In our church covenant we promise to "..serve humanity in fellowship."
Our Lady of Hope school is made up of 75% Mexican children that are emerging English speakers with parents who may be incarcerated or even deported. The school lets the children attend for free, but is not able to provide some basic supplies for the teachers to do their job. No workbooks for each child but also no copy paper provided to make copies of workbook sheets.
This month's Service is Our Prayer will be to help our kids see that piece of serving our community in fellowship. Please give what you can.
Last Sunday we began our first Caliber Character Children's Chapel of the summer discussing "Virtue." Several people have asked me what "Caliber Character" Children's Chapel means. It means we are immersing ourselves in a real worship experience (more on that next time) and it means that we are going to go over different positive character traits this summer like integrity, truthfulness, honesty, generosity, and virtue. Yes, virtue.
When first thinking about virtue, that word sounded a little, ahem, religious to me. I thought about Christian virtue and what one needs to do in order to be "saved." But, what we are really talking about when we are discussing virtue is doing what is right. Having the courage and integrity to do what is right even when no one is looking. And encouraging others to do the same. This simple concept was a no-brainer for the kids!
But how do we set ourselves up to make good choices and stand up for what is right? We had a great conversation about surrounding ourselves with with opportunities to do the right thing. Our interactive story about a grape seed needing water, sun, and protection to thrive showed us how we need good things to thrive too. We need to listen to our inner voice when making choices about our friendships, what we watch, what we read. And our parents help to protect us and make sure we are safe.
And, to go along with the nature theme of grapevines, we created huge grapevine wreath bird nests. We will use these human-sized bird nests as comfy places to hang out and enjoy our space this summer! Stop by and see our handiwork.
This week my family has been thinking a lot about making promises to one another. As we begin summer, we are all faced with spending A LOT of time with one another. In fact, Ruby and Natalie will be with each other nearly everyday.
I am sure we are not the only parents who experience fighting among our kids. For us, this fighting, bickering, and constant requests for us to adjudicate drive us very nearly crazy.
Adam sat down with the girls this week and put together a sister's covenant with them. "Keep calm voices, give others a turn to speak, be safe, and make sure the other person is having fun." This covenant is helping. They are owning it because they helped to create it. Yes, they have had to review it frequently, but you know, they are thinking about how to treat one another with respect and love. What more could we ask for?
Full Week Faith - From Tapestry of Faith
"Family Covenant— Create a family covenant. Most families have explicit rules, as well as many that go unspoken. Set some time aside to identify behaviors that help the family thrive. List the promises you are all willing to keep and have each member of the family sign the covenant. Try to state your expectations in positive terms rather than negative. For example, instead of saying "Don't be selfish," you can say, "Be generous." Empower all members of the family to be keepers of the covenant and point out when it has been broken. If you like, work together to create a list of apology actions, such as apologizing, giving a hug, fixing something, or giving someone some space. You can use these actions to help make things right after a transgression. For an example, see the "Family Pledge of Non-Violence" on the Parenting for Peace and Justice website."
Sunday, May 29th - This will be a multi-generational service. As with all our multi-gen services, K-H.S will stay in the service. Please take advantage of our fidget items for kids that can be found in the vestibule outside of the sanctuary. Nursery/Toddler and Pre-K kids may be dropped off in their regular classrooms before the service.
Hi, I am Rachel Wathen. I have been the Director of Religious Education at Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, KS for nearly four years. My experiences in this position have taught me just how valuable parents and community are to the spiritual growth of children. This blog will give families ideas to practically live a "Full Week Faith" as Unitarian Universalists.