NOTES FROM THE DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Welcome to Religious Education at First Church! If you are a first time visitor to First Unitarian Church and are curious about our Sunday school program, make sure to look at our prospectus for information on our curriculum. To your side you can find out what your child will be learning, and doing, this coming Sunday; as well as review upcoming events that are RE related. And, below, you will find "Family Connections." This segment, which is updated periodically, offers helpful tips, thought provoking questions, and insight into how to foster spirituality within your children.
Unfortunately, since we switched over to our new website, electronic "Taking It Home" sheets are temporary unavailable. But, please, check back periodically.
Now that you and your family have created your home altar, you may wish to have some guidance on how and when to use it. I will start off by mentioning that there are three times throughout the day your altar may be of optimal worth to you.
The first is in the morning. When you or your family is feeling sluggish or nervous about the day - pull out your altar and do your best to energize yourself and your children. Think positive thoughts or recite affirmations. Do some stretches in front of your altar in preparation for the long day ahead.
The second suggestion is to use your altar at night. Right before you or your children go to sleep, pull out your altar and reflect about your day. Have each person in your family answer the questions, "What am I thankful for today? What am I sorry about? What am I hopeful for?" You might wish to keep a list of those people in need of positive thoughts and prayers. If you have time, pull out a piece of paper, or your computer, and, as a family, write the people on your list a quick letter, letting them know that you are thinking about them.
Third, your altar may be of optimum comfort to you when you are stressed, upset, or just not feeling like yourself. In this case, pull your altar out and study it. Review some of the inspirational words / pictures you may have placed on your altar. Practice deep breathing.
Finally, just like at church, it might be useful to have an opening and closing ritual when you, or your family, uses the altar. Both can put you and your children in the correct frame of mind for what is about to happen next (whether that is time in-front of your altar, or time in the real world). Words of inspiration for these opening and closing rituals can be found anywhere - at church, in books, in songs, even from your own mind. If you are using a chalice, I would suggest you light it during the opening words, and extinguish it during the closing words. However, any other movement or ritual you add to your opening and closing is completely up to you.
Here are a few other suggestions when it comes to rituals:
SUNDAY SCHOOL: May 19, 2013 at 10am
PreK - Kindergarten: We Give Thanks for Our Year Together - Today, the children will celebrate the year they have had together, by having a classroom party!
1st - 2nd Grade: The Gift of Community - Today, the children will explore the intangible gift of community. They will learn about the rural American tradition of barn-raising, and talk about how, in modern communities, people work together to build something that benefits everyone, such as a playground. The children will then celebrate their final class together by engaging in a community dance - learning such classic dances as the Electric Slide, Macerena and Cha-Cha slide.
3rd - 5th Grade: How did we do? Evaluating our Efforts and Donating our Money - Finally, the children will decide who, from Kiva, to donate their money to. Don't let your child miss it!
Jr. High: Celebrating our Final Week - Today, the Jr. High will celebrate their final day together.
Sr. High: Picnic - Due to weather, the youth did not get to enjoy a picnic last week. So, today, they will meet off-site to share a hike and a picnic. Youth and parents should keep an eye on their email for more details.
UPCOMING EVENTS, INVITATIONS, AND OPPORTUNITIES
First Sunday of One Service, May 19 at 10am - Today will be our first Sunday of one service. The service will start at 10 am and RE will offer Sunday School. We will continue to have one service the rest of summer.
End of the Year Party, May 26 - All Children, PreK - Sr. High, are invited to RE's annual End of the Year Party. Join us on the church playground for fun, food and friendship!
Summer Curriculum Starts, Sunday, June 2 - Hold on to your broomsticks folks, because the Harry Potter curriculum is being moved to the fall! Headmistress, Meredith Plummer, explains, "As I began planning for Hogwarts arrival, the more elaborate and fantastical things became. This is a great curriculum and I would hate to think some children would miss out because of busy summer schedules." Apparently, the RE committee agreed, as just this past Monday, they voted to move the curriculum to the fall.
So, then, you may be asking yourself "What will my school age child be doing this Summer?" Well, they'll be teaming up with their younger peers to explore the magical and wonderful world of Dr. Seuss. Ms. Plummer assures hesitate parents and congregants alike, "The Dr. Seuss curriculum is really so diverse. With lessons designed for a wide age range of students, everyone is sure to enjoy." She continues, "Each story we visit this summer is tied to either our first and/or sixth principle, 'Each person is Important' and 'build a fair and peaceful world.' These lessons will be a fun and relaxed end to this year's worship and RE theme - Inclusion."
General Assembly, June 19 through 23 - The Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly (GA) will be held in Louisville, Kentucky this year. GA is a great play for families and individuals alike. Plenty of fun, informative and thought provoking events take place during these 5 days. Children are welcome to attend events with their parents or participate in childcare and peace camp. Youth are invited to participate in youth caucus (more details to come on this). You can learn more about GA, it's offerings and it's price at the UUA Website.