Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


Big, Bold Opportunities or Building Life-Long Unitarian Universalists

Introducing Big, Bold Opportunities

for Building Life-Long Unitarian Universalists

By the  Family Minister

The Board of Trustees has appointed a task force to review and advance our long-range goal of promoting inter-generational community and ministering to families with children.

As the Task Force begins its work, I want to tell you what’s already going on, and worth celebrating. Unlike some congregations, UUSS is blessed that adult leaders in Child/Youth Religious Education bring experience as involved lifelong Unitarian Universalists. They span a range of ages from 18 to 80+ years. I am not exaggerating!

This commitment is key to congregational vitality, and the secret to the formation of life-long, life-loving UUs. Take a look at what you make possible here:

There is professional child care for those up to age 5 during both services in Room #11. In the adjoining room, during the 9:30 service, is Story Time for toddlers and kindergarteners. They enter by negotiating the stones across an imaginary river and crawling through a tunnel in the earth. The reader’s rocking chair is under a rainbow canopy, and we have classic and new story books. We ask each volunteer to plan to read a few Sundays in a row, but for just one stretch per year. Last week’s story was Frederick (you know, the mouse with the big imagination).

For grades 1-5 we offer Spirit Play. It promotes learning through stories, spiritual reflection and community building. Our trained adult leaders are Story Tellers. You can help out this thriving new UU program by offering to bring and set up a Feast (snack), learn to be an occasional Door Keeper, or come early a few times to help set up art supplies or to reshelve afterwards. A Parent Orientation for those yet to find UUSS (and other interested adults) will take place in January.

The junior high group enjoys conversations related to UU identity and values, explores various spiritual practices from world religions, and may consider field trips or overnight retreats. Last time I poked my head in Room 6 on a Sunday, I saw a good crowd of engaged youth and adult leaders.

The senior high youth group is booming too. On my first visit, adults and youth were getting to know one another and considering activities for the year. The next time I looked in I didn’t even see an open chair or even a space where I could have put one. What’s new for SHYG this fall is that our teens now join with all other ages for the first part of worship, including the Hand of Fellowship, Chalice Lighing, and reciting of our Mission, Values & Covenant.

Of course, every year we offer an Our Whole Lives program for one or more age groups. OWL is a values-based comprehensive sexuality education program, and all adult leaders have been trained to lead it. It takes place on afternoons or evenings over several weeks. Unfortunately for our dedicated volunteers, we did not get enough sign-ups to begin this fall’s junior high OWL program as soon as planned. So, spread the word! High school OWL classes will begin soon, too.

Our UURTH SONG Community Garden leadership team has invited youth and children to enjoy the wonders of our summer garden and help to plant the winter crops. It is a ready-made curriculum: all you have to do is enter it and you have all the materials you need for wondering, learning, sharing, contributing, and cheering!

In recent weeks and months church members have offered their professional talents in the visual and musical arts to engage our children and youth in creative and expressive activities. Last summer’s ArtWork Sunday programs were amazing, and I look forward to the bonding that comes from making music together.

Thank you for the many ways you support our shared ministry to children, youth, their families, and the whole congregation.

Here’s to the future!

Faithfully,

Roger

PS: I welcome your help in organizing additional activities and special events for  all ages, starting with kids’ activities for the November 7’s Harvest Fest Dinner and Auction  and then the all-ages Holiday Crafts Party, Tree Trimming and Potluck Dinner in December.

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