Tuesday, December 13, 2011
We start with a gathering and potluck. When we begin the ceremony everyone is instructed in how it works. The children hear a story. Then, each child receives and unlit candle and walks, one at a time into a spiral made of evergreen boughs. At the center is a lit candle. The child lights their candle and walks back out, leaving their own lit candle at a place along the spiral. During the time the adults are around the spiral singing to each child as they walk the spiral.
The ceremony comes from the Waldorf tradition. It also fits in well with our Unitarian Universalist belief of a light inside each that can guide us on our own search for truth and meaning. And the light of the chalice that symbolizes our shared community.
It is a lovely ceremony with ancient symbolism for this time of year. Symbolically it is a journey inside, in darkness, an opportunity to receive the light that is within us us, and to carry it out and set this light of ours on a path to light the way.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
It's an all -ages fellowship event of craft and gift making! Create a wreath or swag from evergreens to take home or decorate the church. Make beautiful gifts to share for the holidays and crafts to decorate your home with. Enjoy wassail or hot chocolate. The scents of this time of year are enticing!
$5 to make a wreath or swag. $1/ticket/craft to make a craft at the various craft tables. There's a wrapping station too! Childcare is provided. Bring box, tray or laundry basket to bring your treasures home in. Stay for the Holiday party that follows!
Sunday our festivities continue. Our Coming of Age youth will spend 1/2 the day in retreat at Stillpoint Interfaith Retreat Center exploring contemplative traditions. Our 4th and 5th graders will make cookies during the RE time that they will give serve to the congregation after the service and package up and share with our FUSS family at the Glen Eddy.
Stay for lunch then join us for Holiday Caroling - Sunday, December 4, 1 PM at the Glen Eddy, a retirement community where many from our FUSS family live. All ages welcomed! Children need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian
Later in the month is our Advent Spiral Walk for children on Saturday, December 17, 5- 7 PM. Children can experience their own quiet, seasonal ritual! Family potluck @ 5 PM. A story. Then, children can walk a spiral laid out with evergreens and light a candle at the center.
The Mitten Tree is one of our oldest holiday traditions at FUSS. People knit, crochet and purchase hats, mittens and socks we give to two local shelters, Bethesda House & Sojourn House.
We will again support Sojourn House, a second chance home for homeless women with children and pregnant women. Leave new, unwrapped gifts, toys and arts and crafts supplies December 4 thru December 18 @ table in back of the Great Hall. See sidebar for more suggestions.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
As I have already written about here, as a liberal religion, we are very deliberate about how we celebrate and share together in celebration. Halloween is a cultural holiday in the United States. Where the candy that many of us hand out comes from is problematic because it involves child slavery in attaining the raw ingredients.
In pagan celebrations going back many, many years, Halloween, Samhain to the Celts, is an agricultural festival. It is a time when the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest. It is a time to honor our ancestors. Making an Ancestor Altar would be both appropriate to this holiday and important in acknowledging and discussing these big questions about life and death. We are all here only because of those who have come before us. An excellent resource on this holiday and other that I have found is Waverly Fitzgerald's, e-magazine, Living in Season.
Friday, September 9, 2011
This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on this country. "Standing on the Side of Love," a UU public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression is asking UU's to Think Interfaith this Sunday.
Most elementary-aged children were not yet born when 9/11 happened. Yet, older children may hear about it in school. To discus the attacks with older children, a book recommended by a number of religious educators is, 14 Cows for America. It is a true story of the heartfelt response by the Maasai people to the attacks.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
July 22- August 1, 2011, 19 FUSS youth and 6 adults traveled to Guatemala to work with an organization called Safe Passage. Guatemala is a country of great beauty and great poverty.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The pictures would included our youth learning how to waltz in preparation for the Quinceneras, then learning a contemporay dance from the 15 -year old girls for whom we are here hosting this celebration.
There would be picture of smiling children hugging our youth who are working with them in English classes, playing games and reading stories. There would be pictures of our youth smiling too, while they taught second graders origami, lanyard making, mask making and beading.
There would be pictures depicting great poverty against a backdrop of beautiful, green mountains. Mayan women walking with great loads on their backs. Women older and stronger then me. Children carried close in colorful cloth slings. Spanish style buildings and squatter communities with homes built of whatever matierial they can gather from the nearby garbage dump.
Our youth have been spectacular here. We are a large group and have worked long and hard to be an intentional community together. We worship together each night and different groups of youth lead.
As I work and play and learn and get very very tired, I keep hearing the words of an Aboriginal Activist float through my mind, "If you are here to help, you are wasting your time. But if you are here because your libreration is bound up with mine, let us work together." I think that's what we are doing as we see ourselves as global citizens.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Over 4000 UU's came to GA in North Carolina this past June. It seemed to me to represent the best of what Unitarian Universalism offers this world: radical self- awareness and questioning, spiritual practice, beloved community, all in the spirit of creating a world with more equity, justice and more joy. The local paper, wrote an interesting piece that made the front page. It was a tremendous experience and I am looking forward to sharing some of what I learned.
Next year, June 20 -24, 2012, GA is in Phoenix, AZ and it's a special "Justice" GA. You''ll hear lots about it in the year to come.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
If you were not there, we missed you! Hope to see you at RE Games day this Sunday our traditional all-ages extra fun celebration!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
May 29: Combined RE: Includes PreK thru Senior Youth
It's been a long, cold spring so we will celebrate our RE community together OUTSIDE!!! We'll be outside cleaning up and preparing for our celebration. We'll celebrate our achievements in RE this past year. We'll dance and feast! We'll rededicate our walking labyrinth. Come and participate if you are in town.
June 5: A Holy Urgency: A Combined Multigenerational Worship in Round Lake.
Five UU congregations come together in worship. Five choirs sing together! Rev. Scott Alexander will travel up from Florida to preach. Should be wonderful! Lunch afterwards by Brooks Barbeque. There is a vegetarian option. Please purchase tickets by 5/29. Yes, you can bring your own lunch.
June 12: RE Games Day: An all ages FUN RE tradition!!
Christine Carpenter returns with Circus Yoga! New this year we a have a 24' parachute. Hula hoops, jump ropes and MORE! FUSS Picnic after the party and worship service.
June 19: Summer RE starts!
These are stand alone classes for ages 5-10 every Sunday all summer.
Friday, May 20, 2011
- Lucille Clifton, African American poet, writer and educator
Friday, April 22, 2011
And, as is often the case change, does not come without some amount of debate and discussion. It is an opportunity for deeper reflection around shared values and a chance to find common ground. This is definately the case with our Easter egg hunt. The RE Council made a decision to eliminate candy with the egg hunt and published this in Circuits and the OOS so that people would know about the change. There were lots of good reasons for this. Most parents try to limit the amount of highly processed foods like candy that their children eat. Most children receive an Easter basket with plenty of candy. For many children candy is particularly bad for them and their bodies react negatively to the excessive sugar, chemical additives and colorings. And, in terms of living out our values there are serious ethical considerations with much of the candy that is sold, namely it's connection to child slavery.
Our senior youth responded that they felt this was an important traditions that they were a part of. Each year it is the senior youth who hide the eggs. After much discussion the compromise was this: children will hunt for eggs. We all agreed that along with hiding the eggs, searching for them was the most fun. Some of the eggs will have seeds in them. Once the children finds the eggs they will return them to the senior youth. When they do the senior youth will give the children a small bag of candy. The rabbit and egg candy is made by a local company. The earth balls are fair trade.
It is in all these ways: discussion, education, reflection, compromise, respect for each others opinions that we live out our values. I think this was a pretty good chance to travel that path.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
This Sunday, following Sundae Sunday, we'll begin an Adult RE discussion of Unitarian Universalist theology with respect to social justice work. We will work from the book, A People So Bold. There are copies available to purchase and we'll discus from the book beginning with the third session. The video clips are great and provacative, the book is even better.
For the first two session all you need to do is show up, watch and discuss. If you can't attend, or if you want a sneak peak, start with the You Tube link above. We'll watch and discus "Theological Roots" and "Theological Wings." In the posted You Tube videos they are broken up into parts, so you need to scroll through to click on and watch all of them. But, really, I hope you'll join Priscilla and I and our FUSS community in a powerful and important discussion about social justice work and Unitarian Universalist theology.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Religious Education Council is collecting items to make welcome bags on January 30th for adults and children coming into Sojourn House, a homeless shelter for women with children, and Bethesda House, a drop-in center for homeless people. See the column on the right for supplies we are collecting.
There are many ways you can participate. You can bring donations for the welcome bags. This Sunday there will be box in the back of the Great Hall to collect any donations. You can simply come for the worship service on the 30th and be part of the energy and charge to practice service as our prayer. You can stay a few minutes after the service and write a postcard with Welcoming Congregations. You can stay for a luncheon to benefit our Soup Kitchen work. You can stay through all of this and then go choose a project to do with other FUSS congregants.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Both Children's Chapel and our adult worship service will explore his wisdom. We'll start together in the Great Hall. Everyone will hear the story of The Good Samaritan and we'll consider, "who is our neighbor?"
In Children's Chapel will explore MLK Jr's legacy of non- violent resistance. One approach I'll take is to ask, Have you ever wondered why people fight? Have you been in a fight yourself? How did you feel? Were you angry?
We'll explore ways to practice being peaceful and how what we say matters: the power of words as a way to peace.
A first, important step that we can all do is to learn to communicate in a way that is non-violent. Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD has a lot to offer in his work on non-violent communication. For children, here is an excellent site with free e-books that are inspired by the work Rosenberg has done and are geared for children.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Sharing our personal religious and spiritual beliefs with our children is not indoctrination. It is offering the wisdom and insight that they eagerly seek from us-just as they look to us for guidance when choosing between right and wrong courses of action. If we are vague and ambiguous when our children ask us theological questions, we lose our opportunity to have a positive influence on them in this area. Eventually, they'll stop asking us religious questions and look for answers elsewhere.-from Tending the Flame
Please join our discussion on raising Unitarian Universalist children and supporting both our children and ourselves in deepening our own understanding of Unitarian Universalism as we live out our faith. We'll start from the book of the same name: Tending the Flame: The Art of Unitarian Universalist Parenting, by Michelle Richards.
For both sessions, children in childcare will be provided with opportunities to create some of our UU symbols with various art projects. Please register for this so we have enough material on hand.
Copies of the book are available for $12.70 from Melissa MacKinnon, Director of Religious Education. To request a book or register for childcare, contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-9373.