As we go into the new church year, we will remain online with virtual small groups, worship, and religious education classes. One of those classes will be for young children and families: Holidays and Holy Days. Join us to explore religious literacy and better understand the world’s religions through holiday celebrations! There will be twice-monthly classes held on Zoom, resource packets that can be picked up from the congregation, and calendars for exploration at home. Join us starting in September!
Although all of the UU Congregations in the region and the regional Youth camps are still not gathering in physical person, we have come together to offer many wonderful Virtual offerings. I’m collaborating with religious educators and ministers from Victoria B.C., Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Seattle, and the Tri-Cities to put together some fun online camps. These camps will be attended by kiddos from all our congregations, so it will be a fun chance to meet and make new friends from other congregations!
Camps for Preschool-6th grade this Summer:
Jun 29- July 3 Rainbow Path 7 Principle
July 6 – 10 Animals of PNW
July 13 – 17 Movement & Dance
July 20 – 24 Stories, Improv, and Theater
July 27 – 31 -no camp this week-
August 3 – 7 For the Love of Food!
August 10 – 14 Art & Painting
August 17- 21 Minecraft for Environmental Justice & climate change
All camps are offered as donate what you can (up to $100). To register:
For the first two weeks register at: https://www.ouuc.org/education/chalice-camp/
For the other five weeks Register Here
We have been doing a Spring Service project with our younger kids for the last few years, but of course this year is different with the stay at home orders.
Our service project is to craft toys for cats and dogs that will be donated to the animal shelter. Thanks to the generous donations of some congregants, we have plenty of craft supplies that are being packed into kits that can be dropped off for each child who would like to participate.
The directions for the projects can be found here.
And we will have a series of zoom calls for those who would like to craft together.
Then all the toys will be picked up and donated! It’s going to be fun, and it will make some animals happier. To join in, contact our DRE at firstname.lastname@example.org
The kids have voted, and we have some choices made for upcoming learning, sharing, and giving!
For a Spring Service Project, the choice was to craft Cat and Dog toys to donate to the animal shelter. We will have supply kits dropped off at children’s homes, and do some Zoom meetings to craft together. Then the DRE will gather up all the finished toys and they will go to the shelter.
The focus of our summer religious education classes will be to learn more about the animals of the Pacific Northwest. We may be doing those classes back in the building again, or we may still be on Zoom! Either way, we are going to have fun and learn a lot about our cousins in the Interdependent Web of Life.
And when we get back to the practice of taking a Childrens Offering on Sunday mornings, the children have chosen that they would like that money to go to helping people affected by the COVID19 Pandemic.
All wonderful results! I’m looking forward to these opportunities to learn, to serve, and to give together.
Last week we suggested making your own chalice at home. Now if you have a chalice, you might want some personal chalice lighting words!
Here are some fill in the blank writing prompts to get you started, but don’t stop there! We would love to see your own words if you care to share, so feel free to post a comment here.
Personalized Family Chalice Lighting Words
Fill in the blanks below to create your own chalice lighting words to use at home.
For celebration and gratitude:
We light this chalice
To celebrate _______________________
We are a people of __________________
Grateful for ________________________
And together we offer thanks and __________________.
For quiet contemplation:
In the quiet and darkness
We light this flame of ________________
Symbol of __________________
And sign of our quest for _________________
Spark from the universe
That connects us to ______________________
This light reminds us to ___________________
As we strive to understand _________________
For connection and prayer
May this be a candle of _____________________
As we hold _________________ in our hearts
The warmth of our love goes to _________________
And all are held in the light of love and hope.
For grief and mourning
In our time of grief, we light a flame of _________________.
In our remembering of ____________________, we light a flame of ongoing life.
In this time of sorrow, we light a flame of ____________________.
In our time of difficulty, this flame carries our ______________________.
Unitarian Universalists all around the world join together in the practice of lighting a chalice, often to mark the beginning of their worship services. As we move into this time of physical distancing, we invite you all to make your own chalice for use at home. When we gather together for online worship, we will invite everyone to light their own chalice wherever they are.
You can also light your chalice at other times for home spiritual practices. Maybe light a chalice to mark the beginning of a family meal, or light a chalice for your meditation or yoga time.
The history of the Flaming Chalice:
Building Your Chalice
There are so many ways you can make a chalice! Here are just a few suggestions:
- A Lego Chalice
- Use oven bake clay to make a chalice
- Flip a terracotta pot over and hot glue the base plate to the top. Paint as desired.
Or just look through your home and see what might stack to make a chalice. Teacup and saucer? Vase and plate? I’m sure you can find something!
Writing your own chalice lighting words!
Our theme for March is Wisdom, which you can explore at home with some of these resources:
- What is wisdom? How is it different from knowledge?
- What animals do you think of as being very wise? Which do you think of as foolish? Why do you think you have those impressions?
- Are adults always wiser than kids? Why or why not?
Recommended Stories and Books:
Activities to Do as A Family:
What light of wisdom do you wish to be reminded of?
A tall (11.3 oz) candle, plain white unscented for each person (at Target or Dollar Stores)
Collage materials such as magazines and print outs
Collect an assortment of quotes, words, pictures for a wisdom collage. Glue them onto the glass candle container.
A Wisdom Letter to your future self.
Write a letter to your future self-offering wisdom. Put it in a self-addressed stamped envelope and give it to your advisor or other trusted person to mail in 6 months, or whatever time frame the group decides upon.
What wisdom do you wish to lift up into the sky, or hang on your wall?
Option #1: A simple activity is building and flying a kite. You can make one for under $1 out of a plastic garbage bag, two dowels, tape and string. Here are the instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u5Aa3BkCQg For a group, we recommend making some premeasured templates so youth can use them as a guide to cut their bag to the right shape, instead of measuring it
Option #2: We recommend this “Color a Sled Kite” as “the best ever for youth!” It allows you to design the image yourself, and it flies well in little wind. Order these beforehand @$7.50. https://intothewind.com/kites/foil-sled-kites/color-a-sled-kite.html
P.S. There is an inexpensive small box of crayons provided in the kit. We suggest also using permanent markers on the Tyvek surface of the kite for more satisfying graphics.
Take part in the National Day of Unplugging!
This month we will explore Resilience in worship, small groups, and our children and youth programs. Here are some resources for you to explore along with us at home!
Recommended Picture Books:
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song by Debbie Levy
Resilient, by Rising Appalachia
- Having people to talk to helps us get through hard times. If you were really sad or mad, who’s a person (besides your parents) you’d most like to talk to?
- Are you usually willing and able to ask for help when you need it?
This month the theme is “Integrity”. This means the qualities of being Honest, and Dependable, and Whole. For children, it is understood as matching what you do to what you say and to your ideas, and keeping your promises.
We will be tying in Confucius’s Golden Rule and Buddha’s Right Actions as we teach to this theme in class this month. You can connect the theme at home:
Hymn of the Month: #318 “We Would Be One”
Recommended Books and Stories:
The Empty Pot by Demi
Family Discussion Questions
- Is it more important to be right, or kind?
- Would you rather have friends who are always sure they are right, or who can’t make up their minds?
- Whom do you know who always does the right thing?
- On a scale from 1 to 10, how easy is it to be honest with your friends?
- Who taught you the most about being true to your word, or following through on what you say you’re going to do?
- Do you remember your first lie? How did it feel and what did it teach you?
- Who in your life is most “themselves”? In other words, who is least afraid to be who they are?
- What is one action that is always wrong? What is one action that is always right?
- What face do you make when you are about to do something that you know or suspect is wrong?
- Around whom in your life are you free to be your most complete self?
- How are you different from what other people think of you?
- What is one thing you hope is always true about you?
- What are the three most important pieces of you?
- Where is a place where all of you is accepted, where you don’t have to hide any part of yourself?
The theme for December will be “Awe”, which we will explore through worship, small groups, and religious education classes. Here are some ideas for exploring the theme at home, as well.
Suggested Picture Books:
Here are three lovely picture books about the universe and our connection to it.
Unitarian Universalist author Alicia Bayer publishes a free, nature-education magazine online called Wild Kids. It turns one year old this month, December of 2019! If your family loves the outdoors, or if you’re looking for new ways to show your family what there is to love about the outdoors, check out her latest issue, and check out the archive for other wintertime fun. And, you and your child can submit articles and pictures to be published in future issues!
Winter Crafts for When you Can’t Get Outdoors:
Cheer up your windows this season with a couple of paper crafts. They make the most impact done en-mass, so gather and lay out the supplies, making it easy for folks to hang out, have a cup of something warm, and fold and snip together to create a big, awe-inspiring winter installation on your window.
This video has a good selection of designs, all made from a simple, basic fold.
Here is an adorable snowflake template that’s based on chalices.
And here is a bright, colorful window star to fold using colored tissue paper or kite paper.
Family Discussion Starters:
- Who is somebody awesome that you look up to?
- Is awe something you can guarantee that someone else will feel?
- Do adults and kids experience awe differently?
- What is a movie or show that you think is awesome, but your friends find rather “meh”?
- Would you rather be at the top of a steep, snowy mountain, or at the bottom of a massive, towering tree?
With your Parenting Partner or other Adults in your Child’s Life:
It’s always a great check-in to ask yourselves whether you are happy with the way you are celebrating winter holidays as a family. Is this time “Awe-filled” or just “Awful”? What would you like to change about the way you celebrate? What traditions are you committed to and happy with?