Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sept. 23, 2020 -- The hills are alive with outdoor programs!


In the last week we've had THREE outdoor programs for kids/youth/families. Feels so great to be reconnecting in this nice autumn weather!

9/23: GLEANING with Community Harvest of Vermont.


Gleaning: We harvested about 200lbs of organic, nutrient dense Brussell sprouts this afternoon. They'll get distributed to nearly 30 food shelves and other free food sites in Central VT. The blessing was many fold--just the drive there was gorgeous, and then to get to visit while socially distancing and using our bodies for good work! And the hillsides all ablaze with color! The kids all noticed that they weren't tempted to eat the B.sprouts while they picked... unlike say... berry picking!

It seems we're often stumbling upon some silver linings of COVID, right? Well, for years we've been wanting to organize some outdoor service projects for families to do together. A way to connect with each other, with other families, with nature, and with our UU tradition of service. Because of COVID, gathering outdoors is really our safest option and nudged me to finally make it a programming priority! Big thanks to Jaiel of Kettle Song Farm in Worcester for letting us glean from her gorgeous field, Allison of Community Harvest of Central VT for coordinating the glean, and of course--the five families that came! Maizy and Beth; Graham and Emily; Avram, Lucia, Erin, and Jose; Kate and Julia (joined us from Front Porch Forum), and my own family--Marissa and Lincoln!

For the Middle School Nature Games, we were a small group of five, but so focused with our games of Camouflage and Coyote Deer that there was no time for pictures!

Outdoor Children's Chapel: We had 21 people join us for our first Outdoor Children's Chapel! Thank you so much to all who made it a special, connecting time together! We talked about balance for Equinox--balance of play and work, night and day, rest and active, outdoor time and indoor time. We also learned Spirit of Life in American Sign Language (since we can't sing together).

Next Outdoor Children's Chapel: Sunday, Oct. 4th, 2pm: Children's Chapel, 3pm: Service project (pumpkin carving for Enchanted Forest) at the New Shelter in Hubbard Park. (Youth Group pumpkin carving 1-2pm).

Sept. 13, 2020 Pre-Worship Children's Chapel


With the start of a new church year, it was great to welcome back families with our pre-worship Children's Chapel.  This is an experiment for the fall, and it was great to have so many join us to try it out.  We will meet using the "Children's Chapel" link on our main. home page (  

Pre-worship Children's Chapel will be on 9/13, 9/20, 10/4, and 10/18.  9:15-9:45am

We'll add more dates if it seems like families are finding it meaningful and fun.  

We'll do breakout rooms for smaller group sharing when we have a big crowd like we did on this kick-off day.  We hope to have fun, engaging sessions, with help from some of our Lifespan Spiritual Exploration volunteers and special guests.  

Here's a brief recap with a few follow-ups.  Those are always just an invitationnot an obligation.  

Chalice lighting: 
  • Several of you had your Family Chalices with you, to light the candle during our chalice lighting!  Hooray!  "We light this chalice, in celebration of Unitarian Universalism.  We are a church of open minds, loving hearts and helping hands."  
  • Follow-up: take time to decorate it with the tissue paper... here's a how-to video.  It's pretty quick and fun to do together.  We cut some words out of UU world to put on ours after it dried--things that show our values as a family, like "care" "give" "balance."  Family Discussion: What 3-4 words can we find in these magazines, or write on a small slip of paper, that we all agree are important to us to add to the chalice?    

  • "Water connects us.  Church connects us."  All people around the world of, any age, we all depend on water.  It's sacred and that's why it is part of our annual UU water ceremony, helping us celebrate our return to our church family after a summer apart.  
  • We renewed these connections with break out rooms to share Joys and Concerns using the gems from your care packages.  Some of the younger kids needed help clicking to accept the breakout room so thanks to parents who were nearby to listen for that time! Follow-up: consider doing gems of Joys and Concerns at dinner time, bedtime, or some other point in your day or week as a ritual of connection.   
We did the Water Cycle Boogie by the Banana Slug String Band--lways a good time with them! 

Renewal: we ended with a brief intro of this month's theme of Renewal by me showing a flower that was starting to wilt.  It had been out of water overnight.  The kids told me it needed water to recharge, for Renewal.  We came up with a hand gesture, making our fingers droop down, like two limp flowers, and then as we said "Renewal", they perked up toward the sky, full of life.  

  • Next week follow-up: Each person--parents welcome too--is invited to bring something that shows how they give themselves Renewal, or a recharge.  We'll do a show and tell and talk about what things renew us when we're feeling like wilted flowers in some way.  
  • Examples: good book, hula hoop for play/movement.  I might bring a song book since singing helps me renew. And maybe we'll try some body balance challenges for fun.  

Our theme next week 9/20:  "Renewal through balance," since it is the fall equinox, balance of night and day!  We'll be back for our 2nd pre-worship Children's Chapel on at 9:15-9:45, using the link off the main home page (  

Next Sunday is also our first time trying some in-person gatherings: 

At the Pool Pavilion / Volleyball Field 
Sunday Sept. 20th
1-2pm: Middle School games (5th-8th graders--parents can participate or leave but need to sign their child in first)
2-3:30pm: Children's Chapel for families (meaning kids stay with their adults) -- Games and activities to celebrate Equinox and Balance.  

Links to our Outdoor Event Guidelines and the Sign-in Sheet you'll have to do are here. Basically, we remain 6' apart from others/other families.  We keep masks on unless 10" apart from others.  Parents discretion re: masks for preschool or younger.  No shared food or drink. Only folks without recent COVID exposure or symptoms may participate.

Our full LSE Calendar for Sept. and Oct. here.   

Summer Events

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