Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mar. 31, 2019 -- Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility

Sunday March 31, 2019

Today's focus: Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility 

Welcome: Welcome In song and chalice lighting
Introductions: Names and "Where would you like to journey to?"
Movement activity: Different ways to journey around the room (kids came up with ideas like flying, hopping, sliding, twirling, and more).  

  • We followed up on the book Introducing Teddy.  We talked about how it's important to dress and act how you want, and that being a good friend is the most important.  (We talked about how some boys may like to wear nail polish or fancy jewelry or dresses, but still feel like a boy and they are not transgender.) 

  • I introduced the terms gender and transgender.  We did talk about how sometimes a boy might wear a skirt or dress and that doesn't necessarily mean they are transgender, just they like wearing dresses.  

  • We talked about how some people don't feel like genders we usually hear talked about.  If someone doesn't feel like a boy/man or girl/woman, or if they feel like BOTH genders, they may use they/them pronouns, or others like xe, xem, xeirs (x pronounced like a z).  It's good to ask someone what pronouns they use, just to make sure.  We talked about the pronoun stickers for name tags at church, at the Welcoming Congregations table.  

Gender stereotype sort: Kids had fun sorting a pile of toys, books, jewelry, clothes and other items into three piles...   Boys, Girls, and Both (during the 11am I realized "All genders" would be more inclusive that 'Both' and changed it).  

At the 9am, most kids agreed right away that nothing was JUST for boys or JUST for girls.  They had good reasons for each item.  

During the 11am the kids put many things in 'Both' but enjoyed sorting some things based on who USUALLY likes those things the most.  They were clear that it was FINE if someone from a different gender wanted to dress in a princess dress and that you could step in if you heard a kid saying, "That's only for boys" or "That's only for girls" and mention that all toys, clothes, colors, and even make-up can be for anyone!   

Two older kids during the 9am looked at the current restroom signage in the vestry and made a recommendation for a more gender inclusive sign.  They made a display for coffee hour.  We discussed this as a whole group during the 11am service (in the 9am we watched the dance portion of the service instead).  

Continue the conversation at home:  
  • Try a role play at home, of someone telling a kid that "boys can't be princesses", or "girls can't be firemen."  What would be a kind way to help teach them?     
  • What are some gender neutral words for: fireman (firefighter) mail man (mail courier), police man (police officer), stewardess (flight attendant), waitress (server)   
  •   Read (or watch these video links) of these fabulous books:
  1. I am Jazz   by Jessica Hershel and Jazz Jennings
  2. Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman
  3. Red by Michael Hall

Monday, March 18, 2019

March 17, 2019 - Stewardship Work and Play Party

Recap of Kids/Youth Spiritual Exploration

We had a great turnout of kids yesterday.  Thank you!  It really makes the experience richer for everyone to have more of us here more of the time.  I know it isn't easy, but as much as you CAN make it happen, consistency is really helps in so many ways. 

It was also Tristan's first time back in the Children's Chapel (11am) since he's developed vocal tics.  I was really impressed with how the other children were able to focus on whatever we were doing, and not make Tristan feel self-conscious.  He seemed pretty comfortable and we'll hope he comes back again soon!  Please congratulate your child on focusing on the time together, not on the tics.      

Sunday March 17, 2019

Today's focus:​  Work and Play Party​ 
​We followed up with last week's focus on being a steward of places we care about--sharing of our time, talent, and/or treasure (money).  Since kids don't have much money, we focused on having time to donate to taking care of the building. 

Main takeaway: ​Giving of our time to a place we care about feels good, especially when everyone is pitching in together.  

1. We began with the welcome song​ then s​hared names and ​a gem of ​either a Joy/Concern. 
2​. Reviewed that you can be a steward of home, church, your local community, or the Earth/international community.  

3. Despite some dubious looks at first, the kids did a wonderful job cleaning and most got really enthusiastic about it.  They cleaned the marker and paint stains off the tables (9am) and dusted the molding in the Children's Chapel and (at 11am) we broke into small groups and dusted many other parts of the church too.  Preschool and K took care of their classroom--including organizing the supply shelf.  At each service we made time for some games too, including Telephone, Going on a Journey and I'm Bringing... (9am), song withe motions (11am PreK and K) Simon Says (11am 1st-8th)​. 

4​. Rev. Joan joined us at the very end of the 11am time to talk about her journey to Honduras.  

Continue the conversation at home: 
  • ​Did you share a Joy / Concern?
  • What did you do as a steward for the church?  How did it feel to work hard and leave the church cleaner than before?
  • Could our family be stewards together and host the Snack table?  

    Snack volunteer sign-up sheet here.  
    Most kids LOVE helping with this, especially if you let them really help. 
    Details here: How to Host the Snack Table.  
  • For 11am: How did you do ignoring the vocal tics Tristan was having?  What did you notice?  Do you have questions?  (Attached below is a picture of our brainstorm around tics.)
Besides the fabulous hard work of the kids, many thanks to the youth, parents and adult volunteers who helped the service project happen!  

Upcoming Sunday (March 24) ​Tanzania: A Journey of the Heart ​UCM Member, artist, and educator, Irina Markova, will share highlights of her journey to Tanzania in early winter.  She spent several weeks volunteering in a one-room school in a rural village.  She'll share her photos, some objects she brought back, but mainly the joyful stories of connecting with others.  There will be several times for small group interactions to engage the kids.  Small group charades to experience how you communicate without shared language.  What are a few of the most important words to learn in another language when on a journey?  We'll also make rhythms using percussion instruments, which need no words!  
With ​appreciation,


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

March 10, 2019 - How Can I Be a Steward?

Despite the time change and dicey icy sidewalks or slush we're so glad so many of you made it to church last Sunday.  Bravo!  Since a big goal of the Stewardship Committee this year is to build and grow a church culture of appreciation and generosity, we decided it was essential to include children in some discussion of the Annual Budget Drive.  

Focus: "How Can I Be a Steward?" 

Main takeaways: 
  • Places we care about like our home and our church, don't exist magically.  They exist because of the time, talent, and treasure(donations of money) shared generously by the people of the congregation. 
  • A person who helps care for a place is called a steward.   
1. We began with the welcome song and stretches to get our wiggles out. 
2. Shared names and either a Joy/Concern (9am) or a Way We Help out at Home (11am).  
3. Sorted over a dozen items connected to being a steward of either home, church, local community or the world (community or planet Earth).  

  • Broom = we can sweep at home or at church to help clean up after a messy snack.  
  • Kids piano book = we can share our talents, like singing or making music, during worship (kids are always invited to help with prelude or postlude)
  • Bottle = we can recycle to be stewards of the earth
  • Order of Service = adults and some kids give their time ushering at church
  • Community pouch = we can give money to help our local organizations and the church  
4. Pledge Brochure and Fair Share Guidelines
The kids had fun finding their friends or even themselves in the pictures in the brochure. We looked at the Fair Share Guidelines just long enough to note we want to be fair and want people to feel welcome to give WHATEVER amount works for them.  It wouldn't be fair to ask some people for $500, if they have nothing to spare at all, and that for others, they might be able to give far more than $500.  Maybe over the heads of the preschoolers but the others seemed to key in pretty well.  

Continue the conversation at home:  
  • Do you remember the signs for each way people contribute to our church community?   
    • Time (pointing to wrist, like a watch)
    • Talent (arms out with fingers wiggling--like: "Ta da!")
    • Treasure (hold hand up in air and rub thumb against fingers) 
  • Who are some of the people at church that you see being stewards (helping)? ... greeters, ushers, the choir (volunteer their time and talent), Kids Snack Table hosts, baristas...  
  • If/when your family makes a pledge talk with your kids about WHY you do this and what about our church inspires you do do it.  Have them help seal the envelope you put your pledge in (feel free to keep the amount private from your kids if you wish), and have them write UCM on the envelope!  They can put it in the box on Sunday in the vestry.  Make sure you all where the "I PLEDGED" pins with pride through the end of the drive on Mar. 24th.  If you can't make a pledge, maybe you can make a plan for a way you can share your time or talent with the church.  

  • If they would like to give some small amount, we'll talk on Sunday to see if they'd like to start to having a Community Pouch that we pass during the Children's Chapel.  They could put in a small coin if they want, or just pass it along. Many churches do this in their kids time.  
Upcoming Sunday (Mar. 17): We'll give some of our LSE TIME to the church with stewardship projects.  Ideas that came up on Sunday: scrubbing some of the art marks off the tables we use.  Dusting, cleaning the wooden molding around our classrooms and the building.  Sharpen pencils, check markers for working/not working.  We'll make sure there's some choice involved and some kind of game bookending the work time!  

Summer Events

  Thank you for your interest in connecting this summer. Below you'll find more details! Cookout for UCM Families & LSE Volunteers ...