Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Since our January theme is Imagination, we thought we should have a little fun in the church building to kick-off the new year! Even though we humans can't be together right now, our stuffed animals can! We spent December getting the word out to all the kids and youth and 22 different animals joined in the fun.
The care packages that families received at Thanksgiving included a #10 can as the packaging. This aligns with our 7th principle (taking care of the Earth) in that it is reused and recyclable, AND it can be used to make ice lanterns! Families are seeking ways to add magic to the holidays in a time when we can't do many of our usual traditions because of the pandemic. Liza and Marissa made this simple video (below) to share how it works. Click here for video: How to make an ice lantern
Above: Ice lanterns by James and Hannah
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Photo above: Youth group members busily work on cutting paper snowflakes while visiting and feasting during the holiday party.
We had a nice group in the Children's Chapel (virtual) today! It's GREAT to have so many parents join, (and also FINE if you don't). Thank you to Sarah Rosenthal for really helping us better understand the origin and traditions of Hanukkah. And the Trees of the Dancing Goats is a fabulous story!
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Click here to learn and practice two mindful movements with Susan and a fun, silly movement with Liz (Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me)!
💗 Thank you to the families who joined and to Liz and Susan!
Many thanks to the tremendous team effort behind our 60+ Holiday care packages that have headed out to families this week. The LSE Committee was a great help with brainstorming and assembling (masked and on separate days)--Marissa along with other junior members Maizy and Waylon. Also the adults on the committee: Ginnie Humphreys, Liz Benjamin, Kate Spring, Beth Merrill. Also, much thanks to the nearly 20 Care Network volunteers who helped with deliveries.
- Gratitude practices for thanksgiving and beyond
- Ideas for sharing gratitude: Conversation Starters for the dinner table or Gratitude Tree
- Thank You Card -- stamped and ready to go. Showing thanks is a form of prayer! Decide as a family on who you will surprise with some snail mail appreciation!
- A Kit to Make-your-own UU Jingle bell door HAnger
- Hanukkah materials
- A dreidel and instructions on how to play
- A paper Menorah and cut-out candles
- Latke recipe and link to Maccabeats “The Latke Recipe”
- Milkweed cradle kit Christmas is a celebration of the miracle of the birth of baby Jesus and hope for a better world. Make this beautiful woodland cradle for a centerpiece or to lay on the branches of a holiday tree. Directions: Coat the inside of the milkweed pod with a thick layer of glue. Use the cloth triangle to “swaddle” the
- Paper snowflake Cutting these is a bit of a spiritual practice for me--the wonder of the unfolding and of course mindfulness that each one is different -- like each person -- and therein lies beauty! May these be a reminder of winter’s beauty and call us outside to enjoy it with our families!
- Peppermint lifesavers to remind us that all this hard work of wearing masks and staying apart, we are showing deep care for our community and literally saving lives.
- Re-Usable plastic cover for bowl/plate Enjoy as a reusable, earth-friendly alternative to Saran wrap for the delicious leftovers from your holiday meals!
- Ice lantern (made with the BIG tin can) Use the tin can that your care package comes in to make a beautiful ice luminary or lantern. It can be a beautiful centerpiece (on a plate to catch the water as it melts) for any special meal or a beautiful element outside around your house for Winter Solstice (Dec. 21st) or maybe Christmas Eve. Leave one as a surprise for friends or neighbors outside their house. You can re-use the can to make multiple ones, or make a big one with a 5 gallon bucket. (I’ll make a video soon, but you can also do a search on youtube.)
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Melody is a citizen of the Elnu Band of the Abenaki and an educator, artist, mother, and activist. There were 41 of us all together with Melody (not counting pets who were there). We would have a hard time fitting that many of us into the Children's Chapel on a Sunday morning!
Reach out to Liza if you would like to see a recording of our time with Melody. It is 30 mins. but really worth a listen if you can spare the time. She sings some songs in Abenaki too! Wliwni, Melody! Thank you!
Continuing to learn from our Abenaki neighbors, we were honored with Bryan Blanchette as a guest musician for worship! Bryan let me ask him a few questions for the Time for All Ages. Since the topic of worship was Why We Gather: Soul Food, I included portions of our conversations that touched on gathering and food.
“If you don’t know the language, you’ll only see the surface of the culture…the language is the heart of the culture and you cannot separate it.”
–Elaine Ramos, Tlingit
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Look at these beautiful smiles! We just kicked off the Bridging program with these three high school seniors! What a gift to hear their reflections on memories made from growing up and coming of age within our UCM church community. I got teary and want to thank you all for being a congregation that treasures our young people and makes them feel welcome and loved and seen for who they are. Thank you, John Poeton, for your great co-facilitation. We'll have three more sessions during the church year and then the Bridging ritual during worship in the spring.
Our opening words from Ann Patchett, in What Now?
When you leave this place, . . . be sure to come back. Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.
Every choice lays down a trail of bread crumbs, so that when you look behind you there appears to be a very clear path that points straight to the place where you now stand.
But when you look ahead, there isn’t a bread crumb in sight--there are just a few shrubs, a bunch of trees, a handful of skittish woodland creatures.
You glance from left to right and find no indication of which way you are supposed to go.
And so you stand there, sniffing at the wind, looking for directional clues in the growth patterns of moss, and you think, What now?
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Much gratitude to the eight wonderful families who joined in our Samhain Celebration this past Sunday. We braved the elements and delighted in one another's company and the fire! To be able to safely gather we wore masks, socially distanced, had a sign-in sheet and kept our numbers below 25. Because of the rain, we actually split into two shifts, 2-3pm and 3-4pm. We began with a chalice lighting, followed by spoken call and response of the UU hymn "Oh We Give Thanks."
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day,
For all gather’d here, and those far away;
For this time we share with love and care,
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.
Oh, we give thanks for the old and young,
For a time of wonder, joy, and fun
For all we give as we grow and live,
Oh, we give thanks for the old and young.
We introduced ourselves and shared something we're thankful for. Responses ranged from thankful for snow, fire, good health, the harvest, the Old Shelter we stood under and those who built it, and more!
We introduced where Samhain originated, with the Celtic tribes of ancient Europe. We looked at the Wheel of the Year and other holidays they celebrated, according to nature's cycles. We enacted a bit of life back 2000 years ago, perhaps of a small Celtic village in what we now call Ireland, planting our crops and tending them, with hopes for enough food to make it through the winter, and the relief and celebration when we were able to produce a big harvest. Both a joy and gratitude, mixed with a worry of the long nights and the hardships and perhaps worry due to a belief in evil spirits that might come near when the veil is thin, between Oct. 31st and Nov. 1st.
Above: Wheel of the Year (image credit: technicallyadults.com)
Above: We took time to add treasure to our Samhain altar -- photos or mementos of friends or ancestors who have died, and harvested fruit / veggies, flowers. We took a collection of items for the local food pantry, so we can practice the age-old tradition of sharing an abundant harvest with those in need.
We built fairy houses to keep those spirits out, on the edge of our village. We wrapped herbs to dry, which would have been our medicine and seasoning for our food, and a bit of beauty from dried flowers. (We wrapped cat mint from our church gardens!) Some went journeying and found items on a scavenger hunt: sign of an animal, a nut or berry, something beautiful, and something dead!
We closed with a time to share how their projects / explore time went and a ritual. We each thought of something in our habits or thoughts that we'd like to actually let go of, to let die away in this season of plants returning to the soil. And then we thought of an intention or hope that we'd like to plant, as this is also nature's big time of planting seeds for next spring. We put these thoughts into a leave that we then took turns tossing into the fire, to set the intentions out into the world, as well as holding them in our hearts.
Samhain prayer for children
Samhain is here, cold is the earth, as we celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth.
Tonight we speak to those through the veil, the lines between worlds are thin and frail.
Ghosts and spirits in the night, magical beings rising in flight,
owls hooting up in a moonlit tree, I don't fear you and you don't fear me.
As the sun goes down, far to the west, my ancestors watch over me as I rest.
They keep me safe and without fear, on the night of Samhain, the Witches' New Year.
(from IrishCentral.com, author unknown)
The whole gathering wore wooden name tags. At the end of each event outdoor event this year, everyone gets a gift of a Memory Bead to add to the name tag. Each event has a different color connected with it. Our pumpkin carving service project for the Enchanted Forest was an orange bead, for example. Since Samhain is the start of the long, dark nights, and also sometimes called "the witches New Year," and witches wear black, this day we got a black Memory Bead.
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