In mini-worship this month, we have been talking with the children about their unique and special talents. We all have things that only we can contribute to the world. We can use these gifts and talents to improve our own lives, the lives of our families, friends, and the larger world.
Sometimes it is as simple as sharing a smile or a kind word. Sometimes it is something requiring specialized education, complex reasoning skills, or artistic talent. Whatever your talents, skills, and gifts, you have something special and unique that only you can put into the world.
During our worship service on Jan. 24, we co-created a word cloud with examples of what we are inspired to put into the world. If you were not able to participate in making the word cloud, I hope you can use it as inspiration for some of your own ideas. If you were able to participate, I hope this serves as a reminder of your inspiration.
Never forget that you are special. There is love and magic and beauty that only you possess. I encourage you to regularly spend time sharing your unique and special gifts to bless the world.
“All of us need all of us to make it.” – Rev. Theresa I. Soto
Even though we humans haven’t been making use of the church buildings, it seems that the puppets and stuffies have been having a wonderful time. And hey seem to have welcomed Rev. Dan’s new puppet friend Winston the Wolf to join their fun!
They have been making crafts:
Playing in the nursery:
Having circle time:
And celebrating the holidays!
Hoping you all experienced as much holiday magic as the stuffies and puppets did.
As we approach the holiday season, I am once again experiencing feelings of loss. Loss is all around us. There is the loss of our ability to be near family and friends, the loss of jobs, of homes, of traditions.
It is so easy to get caught up in mourning what we have lost in this pandemic. We are also being asked to come up with creative ways to live in this new normal when our creativity is often tapped out. It can be quite overwhelming. And all of these feelings of grief and loss and anger and sadness and overwhelm are real, true, and valid.
But as Rev. Dan pointed out in his sermon on Oct. 25, it is important to think about, “What else is true?”
There are some truths that I have found helpful in those moments. Hopefully, some of them will ring true to you as well and provide glimmers of hope in these difficult times.
Perfection is impossible.
· You are enough. Even if all you can manage today is to order food delivery and watch some TV, that’s okay. Do what you can do. You are enough. You are loved. You are not alone.
· Everything is perspective. All advice, even from experts, comes from a specific perspective. Only you truly know yourself and what you really need. This will be different from what other people need for themselves. Comparison of yourself to others is never accurate and rarely useful.
· Don’t get caught up in the fallacy that “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That’s not true. People are given more than they can handle all the time. That is why you have other people in your life. You are part of a community full of people who want to help you. You don’t have to handle anything alone. Reach out if you want/need connection or help. We are here for you.
· The first principle of Unitarian Universalism applies to you, too. You have inherent worth and dignity no matter what you do or don’t do. You do not have to produce anything or perform in a specific way in order to earn your worth.
You can do hard things.
· You have a track record of making it through 100% of the hard times in your life. You can do this, too.
Together, we can get through this. Take care of yourself and each other.
As we move into October and our Soul Matters theme of Deep Listening, I am reflecting on how important it is to listen to the call within our own hearts, to periodically take time to reflect on our lives and discern the next best steps on our path. Each of our journeys is unique and we are the only ones who can determine how we want to exist in the world.
With that in mind, we are offering two different programs within our senior youth group this year. The 9-11 graders will have the opportunity to participate in the Coming of Age program throughout the year. Coming of Age (COA) is a first step in developing a lifelong skill of discernment about what it means to live a life of faith, individually and as part of the larger Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith community.
The senior class, most of whom completed Coming of Age when they were younger, will meet once a month to discuss the issues and learn skills to help them transition into young adulthood. There are many decisions to make as one moves from adolescence into adulthood, and it is more important than ever for youth to revisit their individual values, and how to live those values in the world.
I invite you to
support our youth in whatever ways you are able this year as they all do the
challenging work of personal discernment and development. Keep them in
your thoughts and prayers, volunteer to be a Coming of Age mentor, participate
in social justice activities with them, send cards or notes, listen to them
when they speak or share, or maybe you have some other ideas!
Summer is winding down and we are ramping up for a church and school year like no other. All of us are feeling the pressure of figuring out how to create a new normal during these challenging times. WUUC’s Religious Education Committee is no different.
But we are very excited about the upcoming church year and the offerings we are preparing for religious education for children and youth. We will be kicking off our fall RE program on Sept. 20. Here are just a few highlights:
All Ages Interactive Chapel on Sunday mornings
Online Bitmoji RE classroom that students can access whenever they want
Social justice projects for junior and senior youth
Coming of Age program for 9-11 graders
Monthly online regional youth cons
We will be
reaching out to ALL members of the congregation to ask for support for our
online RE programs. Since much of the content will be pre-recorded and
the children will access it at their convenience, we will be looking for people
from the congregation to make short recordings so that our children get
exposure to the faces and voices of their church family. We will be
looking for people to record some of the following things to share with the
Chalice Lightings / Extinguishings
Reading or telling stories
Craft / art demonstrations
Movement exercises (body prayers, yoga, dances etc)
Demonstrate a skill (building, cooking, garden etc.)
Messages of encouragement / affirmation
We can’t wait to share in the experiences of our talented
By Bridget Laflin Director of Religious Education Hello Beloveds,
Will you breathe with
me? Take a deep breath in slowly. Exhale slowly. Repeat as many times as
necessary to feel a bit of calm.
Let’s just take a
minute and remember that we love each other. At the very least, remember that I
love all of you.
This pandemic is causing
a lot of fear. And when we are afraid, we hold onto whatever we think will keep
us safe. We have difficulty thinking clearly. It is so easy to create an us vs.
them and forget that we are all interconnected and dependent on one another.
The truth is that there simply isn’t enough information about this virus. Statistics are unclear due to inconsistent testing, reporting, etc. Long-term effects are unknown. There is no vaccine yet, and speculations abound as to when or if it can be developed; much less the effectiveness of this potential vaccine when/if it is developed. It may be years before we have those kinds of answers.
What we do have right
now is each other.
difficulties, and lack of physical contact can all cause or contribute to
depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
And depression and
hopelessness can be as deadly as any virus.
Let’s think about how
we can support each other rather than focus on the illusion of separateness. Remember
we are ALL interconnected.
That might mean working
on our humility; admitting that we might be wrong and that we don’t have all of
the information. It might mean digging deep to find grace and compassion. It
might mean putting in time and effort to search for the deeper fears and
motivations for our own actions. It might mean looking for what is underneath
other people’s anger and addressing that rather than reacting to the anger
This is an incredibly
trying and difficult time, my friends. And I believe that loving-kindness and
compassion can get us through this together.
It is not in any way
simple or easy, but I believe in us.