As you have probably heard by now, I will be moving away this summer to pursue a new career opportunity in Texas. I want to thank you all for your support and love during the past few years. It has been such an honor to serve as your DRE. As I head off on a new adventure in the Lone Star State, I hold you all in my heart. You are a truly special congregation and have so much to share with the world.
My prayer for you is that you support one another, especially the children and youth in your midst. Don’t assume that someone else is doing the work of teaching the young people. It takes a village to support healthy growth. You are an important part of that village.
Thank you for a wonderful experience, and taking a risk on a brand new DRE three years ago. You have meant the world to me, and I will miss you. I’ll leave you with these words from Laila Ibrahim:
If you have been wondering what options children have at WUUC right now, here are the answers you’ve been looking for!
Mini-worship on Zoom: We have a 15 minute mini-worship service each Sunday over Zoom which begins at 9:30 (before the main worship service). It is geared toward children, but all are welcome to attend.
In Person Worship: If you have attended a service in the sanctuary recently, you may have noticed a new feature: The VIP (Very Inquisitive People) Area! This carpet at the front of the sanctuary is designed for vaccinated children to have a comfortable spot just for them during the worship service. The space contains cushions and lap desks and foam blocks. Additionally, there is a “fidget library” with other quiet activities that people (kids and adults) can choose from to occupy their hands during the service. We ask that if your child sits in the VIP area during the service that you sit near them in order to answer any questions or handle any situations that may come up, and that you help clean up any fidget materials at the end of the service.
Outdoor Play During Worship: Unvaccinated children and all children who would rather not stay in the service with their parents are invited to play outside with our childcare staff. There are multiple activities and games planned for all ages of children.
Monthly Craft Events: Children ages 2-10 are invited to attend our monthly outdoor crafting events. We have done activities such as making terrariums, snow globes, Holiday decorations, and personalized play-doh. These are great events to meet up with other parents and children in person!
We ask that if your child sits in the VIP area during the service that you sit near them in order to answer any questions or handle any situations that may come up, and that you help clean up any fidget materials at the end of the service. Stay tuned to the calendar and email list for the next events!
Summer RE: This summer we will begin offering in person RE classes for our elementary aged children during Sunday Services. We will be offering a “Getting to Know WUUC: RE Edition”. Leaders from many of WUUC’s teams and committees have volunteered to share what they do at WUUC, and why it is important for our community and the world. More details and registration information will be sent out soon.
I am so glad to be meeting in person with so many of you. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The Religious Education committee has started a book group/support group for parents on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 6:30 p.m. We will be starting with the book “Tending the Flame: The Art of Unitarian Universalist Parenting” by Michelle Richards.
Knowing how to incorporate religious values and spiritual beliefs into our children’s lives is a difficult thing to manage, especially if you were not raised in a religious household or the religion of our childhood is very different from your current faith tradition. Come join a group of WUUCie parents in the exploration of ways to raise Unitarian Universalist children, developmentally appropriate ways of answering questions about religion, teaching the Principles, and including spiritual practices into family life.
Copies of the book are available at no cost to you, or you can purchase both electronic and hard copies of it on Amazon.com
If you have any questions, please reach out to Amelia King at AKing@wuuc.org.
It has been my practice for the past few years to share something I am grateful for each day in November. And in December, I post a virtual Advent Calendar of Kindness. Each day in December, I post something small that people can do to make the world a better place.
This year, as I posted my daily gratitude posts, I was very aware of how much I need to practice being thankful. Gratitude has been essential to my mental health and has helped me have enough motivation to continue my work. In this busy time of the winter holidays, I encourage you to take some time to remember what you are grateful for. Share your gratitude with others and, if you can, give other people something to be grateful for as well.
If you are having a hard time feeling grateful or joyful, here is a meditation that may help.
Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how year after year you have cared for your own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:
With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.
With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.
I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.
“Sing your song Dance your dance Tell your story I will Listen and remember” ― Utah Phillips
By Bridget Laflin Congregational Intern The Soul Matters theme for November is “Holding History.” As I reflect on this theme, I think about those loved ones who have passed away. In the past two years, we have lost more people to illness than any time in recent history. It has had a deep impact on all of us. There is blessing used in the Jewish tradition when offering sympathy to people who have lost a loved one, “May their memories be a blessing.”
And so I recall the blessing of the memories of those who have died. I remember our history together. I relive the adventures we shared, the times we laughed, and the times when we supported each other. I dwell for a time in the love that we shared and regret the times we were distant. I revel in the memory of their life intertwined with mine. I am grateful for the gifts they shared with me; their courage, their wisdom, and their love. I am a different person for having loved them and for their having loved me.
And I think about the future. How can my memory be a blessing to those who remain after I die? What memories can we make together that will bless their future?
And so I offer this prayer: May the memories of those who have gone before me be a blessing to me, and may I live my life in a way that my memory will be a blessing to those who come after. Amen.