Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday Care packages show love to UCM Families

The Lifespan Spiritual Exploration Committee and I are so thankful for the tremendous group effort to get our Thanksgiving and December holidays care packages out to families. Families are really challenged on so many levels right now and struggling to stay connected with online church. It is important to let them know we're thinking of them still. And there are many people in our congregation craving to be of service, but not knowing how to offer support. So this is an excellent shared ministry project!

And then it is so fun to have some hands-on supplies that the kids can bring to things like Sunday's pre-worship Zoom Children's Chapel or the online M.S. Youth Hangout. We had 11 families in the Children's Chapel today! And a small but nice Middle School Youth Group. We wrote different things we're grateful for on the paper leaves for our home Gratitude Trees. (see pics below)

Many thanks to my LSE Committee members--Sabrina, Liz, Ginnie, Irina, and Beth--who helped with crafting, labelling and assembling the various components of the packages. And thank you to the nearly 20 UCM Caring Network volunteers who answered the call to deliver to families! Notice the one helper in a red hoodie with such a big grin because it feels so good to spread the love!

If you want a sneak peek at what is INSIDE the care packages, click HERE.

With deep gratitude to our congregation and the many ways we're all working to stick together and support one another through these times!

~Liza and the LSE Committee

P.S. If you did NOT receive a care package but would like to, please let me know and we'll remedy that soon!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Sun. November 21, 2021 ~ Gratitude Circles

Gratitude Circle in the Churchyard

What a beautiful day to be in-person, in real life!  People commented on how nice to just see each other in the fresh beautiful air, to delight in the sunlight and colors of nature together, to be able to hear multiple conversations happening simultaneously with laughter all around.  Many thanks to all who participated and helped make this multigenerational event so special.

Sarah Franklin from the Worship and Arts Committee picked out these chalice lighting words, "For What Shall We Give Thanks?" by Laura Horton-Ludwig. We sang a welcome song, and had a ritual for naming griefs and sorrows in order to open up to gratitude--then let them go into the river.  These included missing hugs, being together, potlucks, time with elderly parents, singing together at church and pets or people who had died.  We also thought of the people and animals, plants and places supporting us right now.  We named these gratitudes on the foam leaves

and hung them on the trees. We shared aloud as we felt moved.  People were thankful for our church, community, Montpelier, family, specific people who check-in on them regularly, food, good health, and candlelight. We sang a final song, and had some fellowship time afterwards.  Many people signed up with John and Janet Poeton to help three families through Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  There are still some slots available, just reach out to Janet via jmspoet (at) gmail (dot) com. 

You join too: There are extra foam leaves and markers in a bin at the base of one of the trees for anyone else who would like to add their gratitude leaves. We'll keep them up through the holiday season!  

Special appreciation to the following.  

Planning team: Sarah Franklin, Beth Damon, Liza
Cornucopia items: Beth Damon
Muffin bakers: Gillie Hopkins (apple) and Marissa and Liza Earle-Centers (pumpkin)
Snapping pictures: Sabrina Macey 
Neighbors Helping Neighbors coordinating: Janet and John Poeton
Welcome, Sign-in Sheet and Clean-up: Pat Carstensen, Sarah Franklin and others

It was a bit noisy in the churchyard with traffic flowing by, and it was wonderful to be part of it all. We even had a photographer from the Times Argus stop by and snap pictures of us because she was so excited to see something like this happening!  


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