Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcoming the Returning Light!

At First Unitarian Society Schenectady our own past and traditions lend themselves to many opportunities for celebration and service during this season of increasing darkness. In that light (:0) , we are offering opportunities in Religious Education for both inward exploration and outward celebration and work.

We are offering our first online Religious Education class, led by Lisa Temoshok. ADVENTURE + RETREAT = adventUretreat. The season of Advent ad+venire (to come) rises like the sun on a frosty autumn morning. It is a time to retreat and reflect, noticing how our inner lives shape our outer lives.” Follow the link to read some about it. Starts on Advent, Sunday, November 28.

Saturday December 4 from 3- 6 PM we will have our first Homemade Holidays for the entire congregation. We have done this for the past two years with our children in religious education and now want to offer it to the FUSS community. Come, slow down and enjoy making gifts for your loved ones or teachers or friends. Make an evergreen wreath, a beaded bracelet, a felt ornament. Roll beeswax candles. Make an herbal sachet. The smells of this season are enticing. This really is an all- ages event! $5 at the door to make a wreath; $5 for tickets to make one each of the remaining crafts, or make more than one. Please email melissa.dre@gmail.com if you are planning on attending so we can make better guesstimates of supplies to have on hand.

Saturday December 18 from 5- 7 PM children can enjoy their own quiet, seasonal experience with our Advent Spiral Walk. We'll gather as families at 5 PM to share a potluck meal and hear a story related to the season. Then children will have the opportunity to walk a spiral laid out with evergreens and light a candle at the center. Adults will support them by holding the space sacred and modeling the reverence that it embodies. We offered an Advent Spiral as part of children's chapel three years ago and it was beautiful and sacred and quiet.. We all crave meaningful silence and we are able to embrace this with traditions that are age- appropriate. For a longer time of quiet reverence, enjoy the Winter Solstice Service Tuesday, December 21 from 7:30 – 8:30PM.

We say in our Bond of Union that “service is our prayer.” This is a time of year when we seek to do good for others. The Mitten Tree is one our our oldest, continual holiday traditions at FUSS. People knit, crochet and purchase hats, mittens and socks to donate to two local shelters, Bethesda House and Sojourn House. For a great story for children of a mitten tree, check out The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen.

On December 5, in our religious education classes, many of our children will be involved in service projects, making cookies, making cards, and preparing to staff a table to collect items for Sojourn House.

We will again support Sojourn House, a second chance home for homeless women with children and pregnant women with our without children, this holiday season. Beginning November 28 we will have a table in the back of the Great Hall to collect new, unwrapped toys and arts and crafts supplies. See the sidebar for items from their wish list. Gifts will be collected at a table at the back of the Great Hall through December 19.