Thursday, June 17, 2021

Summer Outdoor Events for UCM Families and LSE Volunteers (past, present or future)


It's been a rough year. We're not totally in the clear, but wow, we have made it through so much!

The spring survey of families showed that many of you want to gather with other families that share your UU values. With the nice weather and outdoor gatherings showing low or no transmission rates, we'd love to see you if you feel ready! We also honor that you may not know HOW you feel or what feels safe.

Here is a link to our current Guidelines for Outdoor Church-Sponsored Activities. Basically, in keeping with the current state recommendations, masks are no longer required but certainly anyone who feels more comfortable with one on should wear one! In large mixed age groups where there are likely to be more unvaccinated people present, we ask for people to observe social distancing or wear masks when that's not possible. There will be a sign-in sheet affirming no recent known COVID exposure and no symptoms within the previous 24 hours.

Celebrate Summer: Wrightsville Reservoir

Wed. June 23, 3-6:30pm

(rain date: June 24)

UCM's "home base" = Small Shelter by the beach

June’s theme is PLAY! We’ll gather for a low-key social time at the beach. BYO snacks, grill items / drinks. Optional: short nature walk led by UCM's young nature guide: Silas! Also options: disc golf, kayaks, corn hole and other lawn games available. Come for any portion of the afternoon / evening.   🌈 RSVP / learn more here 🌳 Then we'll send a reminder email or text (no commitment required). New families and volunteers welcome! 

* * * 

Two UCM families whose daily lives honor our 7th principle of Unitarian Universalism (We CARE for the EARTH, and honor the INTERCONNECTED WEB of LIFE) have invited us to visit their farms this summer.  Hope you can join us! 

Ananda Gardens 2416 Horn of the Moon Road, Montpelier

Thurs. July 29, 4:30-6pm

Melisa, Patrick, Ananda and Munay are excited to show us around their beautiful organic farm.  Meet the chickens, learn about the bees (from a distance) who pollinate their fields, and the earth worms that till the soil.  We'll pick a few veggies to sample.  Those who want to linger can BYO picnic or swimming gear! Interested?  
🌱  RSVP hereYou'll get a reminder email or text.  No commitment required.  πŸž New families and volunteers welcome! 

Good Heart Farmstead

155 Dugar Road Ext., Worcester

Sun. August 22, 10-11am

We'll start with a game, followed by a brief outdoor worship that is very family-friendly. Then Kate will share tips for making flower bouquets. Make your own for your household! Kate, Waylon, and Edge are generously letting us choose from their 400' of flower beds and dozens of many varieties of flowers. Sunflowers should be in bloom. Bring your own large vase or canning jar and scissors if you can. Interested? 🌻🌿🌸🌹 Sign up for a reminder email or text here (no commitment necessary). New families or volunteers welcome!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

LSE Volunteers and our Appreciation

Beth, Ginnie, and Liz--part of our amazing LSE Committee this year.  
(Not pictured: Kate Spring, Margaret Blanchard, and Gale Pekar)


Rev. William Ellery Channing had a deep respect for the developing faith identities of young Unitarian Universalists. 
A flaming chalice burned into these stirring 
utensils are our gift to facilitators of LSE 
programs and LSE Committee members this year.  

These words ring true today as well and they serve as the inspiration for the thank you gift to this year's Lifespan Spiritual Exploration volunteers. This quote is applicable to children as well as adult participants in our LSE programming: 

"The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own; 

not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own; 

not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth; 

not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs; 

not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect or peculiar notions, but to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision; 

not to burden the memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought; 

not to impose religion upon them in the form of arbitrary rules, but to awaken the conscience, the moral discernment. 

In a word, the great end in religious instruction is to awaken the soul, to excite and cherish spiritual life."

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped us stay connected to each other and our spiritual life during this challenging year.  

LSE Committee:

Beth Merrill, chair (and Maizy)

Margaret Blanchard

Liz Benjamin

Ginnie Humphreys

Kate Spring (and Waylon)

Gale Pekar


Leslie Parr during a Small Group Ministry service project.

SGM:Diana Chace

Sue Stukey

Leslie Parr

Mary Jane Ohlson

Soul Matters: 

Alona Tate

Stephen Brown

Margot Prendergast

Tory Rhodin

Seasoned Souls Support

Hugo Liepmann

Tina Ruth

Ted Allen 

Dave Peters

Mary Jane Ohlson

Kristen Glaser

Dick Jenney

Owning Your Religious Past: 

Verdis Robinson

UU History: Ann Earle

Tending to Loss (grief retreat): Donna Smith, Rev. Joan

Talking about Race with Kids/Youth: Meredith Warner (Liz B. too)

Natural Movement: baylen sky

Children’s Chapel leaders:

Janet Poeton

Liz Benjamin

Kate Spring

Beth Merrill

4th-6th grade Coffee Hours:

Dell Waterhouse

HS Youth Group:Pat Meehan and Elizabeth Peebles


John Poeton

March Mystery Madness:

Deborah Van Ness

Special event support:

Judith Hinds

Elena Guadagno

Juniper Swick

Marissa Earle-Centers

Maddie Lindberg

Nancy Chickering

Vic Guadagno

Eileen Shine

Art Stukey

Susan Koch

Sarah Rosenthal

Care Network volunteers who helped with Care Package deliveries to UCM families.  

Thank you to ALL the participants across the lifespan for staying connected and learning together!    


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

June 6, 2021: Lifespan Spiritual Exploration Recap


What a year it has been for all areas of our lives, including Lifespan Spiritual Exploration!  If you missed it, we invite you to watch our June 6, 2021 worship service which lifts up the LSE program, it's participants and volunteers from the past church year. In the first half, we celebrate three Bridgers, high school seniors who have participated in a year long reflection process as well as our Bridging ceremony, celebrating their transition into adulthood! 

It is also a time to pause and celebrate all that we created together in this important shared ministry.  Since I couldn't lift up EVERY creative endeavor we took on this year, here they are in list form followed by all the volunteers who made these programs possible.  Thank you all for an incredible year.  Despite all the challenges and distance, we ARE still connected.  


Lifespan Spiritual Exploration (LSE)  Recap of 2020-21 

Children / Youth / Family: 

  • Care Packages of UU values: To start each season, to 60 families! With delivery assistance from the LSE Committee and nearly 20 volunteers from the Caring Network. 

  • Pre-worship Zoom Children’s Chapel: Twice monthly in the fall, then weekly.  26 different families participated at some point, with an average of 6-7 families per Sunday. 

  • 4th-6th grader Coffee Hour Hangout: Monthly Jan. - May.  

  • High School Youth Group: Met all year for monthly gatherings both outdoors and online 

  • Parent / Caregiver Support: Liza wrote monthly newsletters. In September an online session for parents to have a space for deep listening had low participation (full schedules, Zoom fatigue, etc.). Liza reached out with pastoral care calls to families as time allowed.

  • Talking about Race with Kids and Youth. Nearly 30 congregants attended online workshop! Parents, grandparents, educators, and LSE volunteers.  Two follow-up Practice Sessions. (with support from Meredith Warner, Liz Benjamin, Liza 

  • Spring into Summer Check-in: 29 parents recently responded to a survey that is helping guide our summer supports for families


  • UU Virtual Road Trip: Virtual “visits” to a sibling congregation for worship in Summer 2020. Weekly UCM Zoom coffee hours for reflective discussions. (LSE and W & Arts) 

  • Chalice Circles and Deep Listening: Two Small Group Ministry, two Soul Matters, and FIVE Seasoned Souls groups meeting 1-4 times monthly. 

  • Owning Your Religious Past is a UUA small group curriculum.

  • Beloved Conversations: 39 adults participated in the fall or spring semester on how to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. 

  • End-of-life Issues and Challenges with a volunteer presenter from the Final Exit Network to find out more about navigating questions around death with dignity choices.  

  • Spiritual Exercises: Each month 34 congregants receive a packet of spiritual exercises and questions relating to the monthly theme. 

  • UU History

    • Time for All Ages in worship: John Murray, William Ellery Channing, and the 60 year Anniversary of Merger Day. 

    • Film viewing and Discussion: In April we explored our early roots, with a two-part film viewing (with Ann Earle and Liza).

  • Spiritual Retreat: Tending to Loss and Grief (half day online with Donna Smith and Rev. Joan)

  • LSE Library expanded! Now includes many more books by Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) authors across the lifespan.  Visit 397 Elm Street!

  • Do-it-yourself ice lanterns for Winter Solstice 

  • A Cup of Mindful Tea: Tea as a Spiritual Practice 

  • 3 winter Story Circles (Margaret Blanchard) online around the monthly theme 

  • Imbolc Sacred Sing online with Heidi Wilson. 

  • Surprise Valentines--an LSE collaboration with consultation from the Lay Pastoral Care Committee and others which got over 60 Valentines to those in need of cheer

  • Separate service projects for MLK and Ramadan for the Monday Community Lunch. 

  • Gifts of Love: Talent Show and Fundraiser (with Board and Hospitality Team) 

  • March Mystery Madness support. 7 children, 9 middle or high school youth, and 16 adults this year.  

Outdoor Connections across the Lifespan
  • StoryWalk of the book Mole Music in the church yard in August

  • Natural Movement classes, four sessions with baylen sky in Hubbard Park in Oct.

  • Fall Equinox Celebration with Sit Spot

  • Art in Nature and playing games

  • Pumpkin Carving for the Enchanted Forest

  • Fire by Friction as a Spiritual Practice with middle school families

  • Samhain celebration when we learned about this ancient and holy harvest festival. 

  • Indigenous Peoples Day: all ages illustrated Western Abenaki words to display in our church yard for a month.  

  • Tree PLanting: In April, LSE partnered with Mother Up Montpelier / 350vt, Friends of the Winooski, North Branch Nature Center and planted 300 trees!  

  • Multigenerational Green Up Day had about 30 participants of all ages 

  • Plantapalooza: a Seedling / Plant Swap in the church yard

Ritual Connections and Rites of Passage
  • Child Dedication Ceremony in December felt intimate despite being online (four families)  

  • Bridging: Three high school seniors participated in four small group sessions (with John Poeton and Liza) and our Bridging Ceremony


Plantapalooza: Seedling and Plant Swap


Many thanks to all who participated in UCM's outdoor plant swap in the church yard.  There were about a dozen of us an we traded everything from butternut squash seedlings to zinnias, cucumbers to yarrow!  And many tips were shared as well, along with smiles, as you can see from the photos!

Summer Events

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