Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Dec. 15, 2020 ~ High School Youth Group Treat Exchange and Holiday Party


Lemon bars, ginger bars, chocolate chip cookies, rolled jam tarts, snickerdoodles, gourmet from scatch marshmallows, pudding and more! All nut and gluten free and delicious!!! These youth really know how to host a (virtual) Holiday Party!

It was a very safe and QUICK drop-off process, which including picking up a craft bag that youth advisor Elizabeth Peebles had pre-assembled. Thanks to everyone who added good cheer and tasty treats! (My apologies! While trying to black out names of the youth, I accidentally left a black-out box on a face!!!! Ah. Can't seem to undo it. So sorry!)

Photo above: Youth group members busily work on cutting paper snowflakes while visiting and feasting during the holiday party.

Photo below: Finished snowflake masterpieces! (My apologies! While trying to black out names of the youth, I accidentally left a black-out box on a face!!!! Ah. Can't seem to undo it. So sorry!)

Dec. 13, 2020: Exploring Hanukkah (Children's Chapel with Sarah Rosenthal)


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!

Optional follow-up ideas: 

Play dreidel (see the instructions from the care packages).  You can use pennies, M & Ms, nuts, etc. as the currency!

LATKES--Try the recipe from the care packages, send me a pic!  Here's a fun song to get you dancing in the kitchen with the Maccabeats a capella group, called The Latke Recipe.  

MENORAHS--Keep adding a paper candle to those menorahs each night. I'd love a nice picture of any of those kids with their menorahs too!  They're beautiful!!!

Virtual visit--Click here to see all the ways you can connect with Beth Jacob synagogue for their live Hanukkah programming this week.  They very much welcome anyone to join them.  There's a Cooking Class today, at 3pm today (Sunday), and a Family Concert on Tuesday.  

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Next Sunday: We'll have a cozy Solstice gathering before our Multigen service at 10am  We invite the children to come having made a fort of some kind to Zoom in--blankets, cushions, under a table... let them take the lead with their creativity!  

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Dec. 6th Children's Chapel: What does it Mean to Be a People of Stillness?

Theme: What does it mean to be a People of Stillness? We talked about how this time of year can feel really busy, and full, like when you plug in a power tool.  I had an electric pencil sharpener and electric toothbrush both going at once to show how crazy it can feel if you get too busy shopping, cooking, crafting, and doing all the other holiday tasks!  

To tap into the holy, sacred part of this holiday season, our faith calls on us to "unplug" whenever possible and be present.  Mindful Movements can slow our minds and bodies to be more present and aware.  Susan Koch led us in three mindful movements.  Two are in the video below. (10 mins.) and then just a fun, playful one by Liz Benjamin!  

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!  

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Upcoming: THIS Sat. 4-4:30pm No Rehearsal Christmas Pageant... Zoom style!  Set up a fun background or bring your pet along for this lighthearted telling of the Christmas Story.  More info and ideas here.  Find us via the same "Join Children's Chapel" button you use each Sunday at or here:


Sun. Dec. 13th, Children's Chapel, 9:15-9:45am
Sarah Rosenthal joins us to share a picture book about Hanukkah and to share from her own practice of celebrating it.  Bring the dreidel from your care package in case we have time to touch on playing dreidel (it's pretty hard to play via Zoom but we can practice spinning it!) Click "Join Children's Chapel" at at 9:10 or so.  

Early Winter: Over 60 Holiday Care Packages Delivered to Support Our Families


Photo (above): LSE Committee Chair Beth Merrill and her assistant make kits for families to make a milkweed cradle and acorn baby.  

Photo (above): LSE Committee member, Liz Benjamin, assembles the UU Jingle Bell Door Hanger kits that help teach the 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism!

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. 
I can't imagine we were able to do this perfectly (who is perfect anyway) so please let us know if we left you off our list and we'll get you one!  

Here's what was in them:
Dear families,
Things are hard. I know you’re all riding so many waves of emotions. So much time apart from friends and relatives, so much waiting and worry is exhausting. And yet there is so much promise and love and creativity around us too, so much potential for another world to be born. You and your children, and all the children in our communities, are in our prayers. May all that is holy surround you and hold you during this holiday season.
Here’s a care package to add some joy and special moments to this very different holiday season. You’ll find:
  • 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
    • 7 pipe cleaners--one for each of our 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism
    • A jingly bell
    • A bookmark of the 7 Principles 
    • Day-by-day instructions
  • 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
  •  cotton ball and place it in the pod on the glue. Hold tight for one minute to set. Put some thick glue on one side of the acorn and position it as the head of the baby. Let set.
  • 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.)
** Many thanks to Nancy and the rest of the kitchen staff at Union Elem. for cleaning and saving these cans! **
With love,
Liza and the LSE Committee members (and junior members):
Beth Merrill and Maizy, Kate Spring and Waylon, Ginnie Humphreys, Liz Benjamin, Margaret Blanchard, and Marissa

Photo: Grouping the packages by neighborhood on my front porch for safe, outdoor and socially distanced pick-up by the Care Network volunteers.  

Photos below: Some of our nearly 20 dedicated Delivery Volunteers from the UCM Care Network:

Peace is Something We Do

This piece was written in September 2011, shortly after the floods caused by Hurricane Irene.  I could have written it this week.  At the ti...