An Overview of RE

An Overview of RE

Hello WUUC! 

Below is a summary of the programs that we are planning on offering for the children and youth this year at WUUC.  If you have any questions or would like more information on any of these offerings, please let me know.

Elementary and Preschool Programs:

Mini-worship:  Mini-worship is an online 15-minute worship service geared toward children that takes place at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings prior to the large WUUC worship service. 

Twice monthly in-person (outdoor, masked) events: These events will feature a main project as well as other options for the kids. They will primarily be a chance for the kids to connect with other kids and families, and will not utilize a specific curriculum.  

PNWD Collaborative Online RE: The leaders from several churches in the PNWD are collaborating to offer a weekly online RE class for students in Kindergarten – Fifth grade. This will offer our children a chance to be in class with more than just one or two students. And we will be able to take advantage of resources from several congregations. The elementary class will explore UU values and identity through stories and discussion while building caring community with one another.

Middle School Programs:

1. Monthly in-person (outdoor, masked) events:  These events will primarily be a chance for the youth to connect with one another, and will not utilize a specific curriculum. The youth may choose to do some fundraising events, social justice projects or other community projects, or they may just want to get together to have fun.  

2.  Crossing Paths:  WUUC is offering a year long class on Sunday evenings called “Crossing Paths.”  Crossing Paths was designed for middle school students, but we will open enrollment to all members of the congregation ranging from Middle School to Adult. We will learn about nine faith traditions: Unitarian Universalism, Judaism, Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Evangelical Christianity, the Quaker tradition, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.  Each section is made up of four weekly classes and will include a visit (virtual or in person) to another faith community and/or a discussion with a faith leader from that tradition.

3.  PNWD Collaborative Online Junior Youth Group: The leaders from several churches in the PNWD are collaborating to offer a weekly online middle school youth group. This will offer the youth a chance to be in a youth group with more than just a few students. They will get a chance to know UU Youth from other congregations around the region and form connections. During our time together, our focus will be on building community and having fun together while deepening our understanding of how we live our values in the world and how we answer the “big questions” for ourselves.

High School Programs:

1. Monthly in-person (outdoor, masked) events: These events will primarily be a chance for the youth to connect with one another, and will not utilize a specific curriculum. The youth may choose to do some fundraising events, social justice projects or other community projects, or they may just want to get together to have fun.  

2.  Crossing Paths:  WUUC is offering a year long class on Sunday evenings called “Crossing Paths”.   Crossing Paths was designed for middle school students, but we will open enrollment to all members of the congregation ranging from Middle School to Adult.   We will learn about 9 faith traditions: Unitarian Universalism, Judaism, Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Evangelical Christianity, the Quaker tradition, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.  Each section is made up of 4 weekly classes and will include a visit (virtual or in person) to another faith community and/or a discussion with a faith leader from that tradition.

3.  PNWD Collaborative Online Youth Group: The leaders from several churches in the PNWD are collaborating to offer a weekly online youth group. This will offer the youth a chance to be in a youth group with more than just a few students. They will get a chance to know UU Youth from other congregations around the region and form connections. The first few sessions will focus on getting to know one another and exploring meaning making and our beliefs. Youth will have the opportunity to choose what they would like to explore for the remainder of the year after the first couple of months. 

4. Trip to GA in Portland in June: The youth will have the opportunity to travel together to Portland, OR in June for the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly.  Fundraising and preparation meetings for that trip will also happen throughout the church year. 

Wizards and Rainbows and Minecraft, Oh My!

Wizards and Rainbows and Minecraft, Oh My!

photo by Nikita Jukov from Flikr

This summer, WUUC combined with several other congregations in the Pacific Northwest to offer online summer camp opportunities for our children. I had the honor of being a “professor” at the Wizarding camp for ages 5-13 and leading the Rainbow Path camp for grades K-2. There was also a Minecraft Camp for grades 3-5. Each camp was a week long. We learned so much and had so much fun!

My take-aways from our Zoom Summer Camps:

  • As always, I was amazed by the creativity of the campers as they created art, music and skits.
  • The youth counselors (high school students from the congregations) were so fabulous!  They brought excitement, technical expertise, compassion, joy and so much leadership skill to the job of guiding the younger campers.
  • The collaboration of the DREs, volunteers and other congregational leaders was such a blessing. When plans had to change at the last minute, or unexpected things arose, there was a network of wonderful people who seamlessly picked up the pieces and put them back together. It was a true group effort.
  • The young people in our congregations exhibited so much kindness and patience during camp. They were understanding of tech issues, varying levels of education and skill, and so supportive of one another in ways that warmed my heart.
  • The campers’ intelligence and willingness to learn brought me so much hope.
  • The joy and laughter we experienced together reminded me that we can still share meaningful moments if we are willing to open ourselves to the silly, the strange, try new things, and are willing to bring our whole selves to our interactions with others.

Hopefully, next year we can hold camps and summer activities in person, but in the meantime, let us follow the example of our youngest congregants and embrace the joy and fun in the times that we can be together, whether in person or virtually.

It Takes a Village: What Can We Create Together?

It Takes a Village: What Can We Create Together?

Hello Beloved WUUC Community!

As we begin a new church year and think about our in-person-gathering plans, it is once again time to think about how each of us will share our time and talents with one another.  One of the most important concepts of Unitarian Universalism is to support one another as we grow and learn. Sometimes we focus on our own learning, and sometimes we focus on helping others along their journey. This year, I want to invite you to consider a volunteer position that does both: Teaching!

Several of our current teachers are taking a well-deserved break from teaching this year, and many of our youth volunteers have graduated and are moving away. As a result, we need  Religious Education teachers and volunteers at all levels: Nursery/pre-school, elementary, middle school and high school. In addition, we will probably need facilitators for all levels of Our Whole Lives (OWL) comprehensive sexuality education classes.  

We have many new families with children who have been attending our virtual services and I am envisioning a vibrant  and revitalized religious education program this year. But in order to make that a reality, we need your help.  

So, I encourage you to think about your talents. What do you have to share? Do you like telling stories or crafting or cooking or making music or art or building? Could you help teach meditation or dance or games?  Do you want to share your passion about a social justice issue with the next generation? Are you invested in politics or philosophy or nature or sports or coding? What skills and talents do you have that you could share with the young UU’s in our congregation? Or maybe you don’t know how your particular gifts could be shared. Just let me know. I am more than happy to work with you to figure out how your gifts and talents can fit into our Religious Education program this year.

I know it can be intimidating or seem like a big commitment. But if we have enough volunteers, the commitment isn’t too great.  And I promise that the kids at WUUC aren’t so scary.  They are an amazing group of young people who constantly provide profound insights and teach us as much as we touch them. And you will not be alone. You will have all of the support that the Religious Education Committee and I can provide.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes the commitment of our whole church community to raise our children.  I can’t wait to see what we create together!

Peace,
Bridget

Let’s Not Rush

Let’s Not Rush

As we get closer to reopening church, it is tempting to try to rush back into the building and try to “get back to normal.”  We miss each other and need connection.  AND as a faith community that strives to live into shared values, the decisions of how and when to reopen, and in what capacities is not as simple as it is for businesses.

CB Beal, a consultant on welcoming and inclusion, wrote an amazing blog post on the subject from a Unitarian Universalist perspective. It is long, but I think it is very much worth the read. For those of us not involved in the decision-making process, it highlights things that the reopening committee is considering and gives us a perspective as to why this process is not as simple as it may seem from the outside.

The link to CB’s post can be found here: “Thoughts About Inclusion Before Reopening: So Close We Can Taste It”

Please be patient for a little while longer.  We will soon be together again.  We just need make sure that we are all safe and included when we are.

Love and Laughter,

Bridget

Dreaming and Becoming

Dreaming and Becoming

Upon reflection, this month’s theme of “Becoming” seems particularly appropriate to the times we live in. 

For the past year, we have been in quarantine, isolated in a way that most of us have never experienced before.  As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more and more widely available, we are beginning to consider what our post-quarantine life will look like.

During this in between and planning time, it seems a fitting time to reflect on who we have become and are becoming due to this massive shake-up in our lives. How have we changed? What lessons have we learned?  Who am I becoming? And who are we becoming together?

My hope is that we have all found blessings and things to be grateful for in this pandemic time, and that we can hold on to those gifts as we move forward together and figure out our new normal. Rather than trying to go back to the way things were, what would it be like to reimagine our lives to incorporate those gifts and lessons into our lives going forward?  Instead of falling back into old patterns, perhaps we can dream up new ways of being together, supporting each other, learning together and worshiping with one another.  Who and what do we want to become at this moment in time?

I think right now we have a wonderful opportunity to begin again in love. I hope you will join me in imagining what that might look like.

Peace,

Bridget

Hug Your Little Superheroes!

Hug Your Little Superheroes!

This pandemic has been hard on everyone, but parents and students have a unique set of struggles. And as we are recognizing a year since lockdown began, it seems that right now things seem even more difficult. I want you to know that you are all amazing, both the kids and the parents who are doing their best. YOU ARE ALL SUPERHEROES!

The following post by Christine Deregowski says it better than I can.

I’ve lost a year with my kids battling over school and I’m done.

My seven year old and I were in the midst of our usual asynchronous day battle. I had his writing homework in my hand from school. He’d written several full, well-thought-out sentences.

But he won’t do the same for me, at least not without a fight.

I told him he didn’t have to write about his best day like his teacher asked, he could write about his worst. He could write about whatever he wanted as long as he wrote a few sentences.

He said he’d get in trouble. He said he was doing a bad job in first grade. He was on the brink of tears but didn’t know why.

And it hit me.

Instead of getting frustrated and pushing the assignment, I sat down with him at his desk in his superhero bedroom.

I said “you won’t get in trouble and you can’t fail first grade. In fact, you’re kind of a superhero yourself.”

He sat up in his chair just a little and looked at me with disbelief.

I said, “Do you know that no kids in the history of kids have ever had to do what you’re doing right now? No kids in the history of kids have ever had to do school at home, sitting in their bedroom, watching their teacher on a computer. You and your friends are making history.”

A visible weight lifted from his seven year old shoulders, “What does that mean?”

I told him it means I haven’t given him nearly enough credit for rolling with the punches. I told him how proud I am of him and his friends. That kids this year are doing the impossible and they’re doing a really great job.

I apologized for not saying it sooner and more often. A little tear fell down his cheek.

We’ve thanked everyone from healthcare workers to grocery store employees but we haven’t thanked the kids enough for bearing the burden of what we’ve put on their shoulders this year.

We’ve said kids are resilient, and they are. But they are the real superheroes in this whole scenario for having ZERO say in their lives but doing their best to adjust every day.

We closed his school-issued laptop and spent the rest of the day playing. This was supposed to be temporary and here we are a year later still trying to hold our head above water.

This is our home and I won’t turn it into a battle ground anymore over something we can’t control. Something that no longer makes sense.

Hug your little superheroes today and don’t forget to cut them the slack we’ve given everyone else.