Sunday, July 24, 2016

Watery Wonders


As part of our summer curriculum, Keepers of the Earth, the children's class visiting MaST (the Marine Science and Technology Center) at Redondo.  We explored the variety of living things in our nearby waters.  As we explore the natural world on our church grounds and beyond this summer, we are learning more about the interconnectedness of all life, and our responsibility in caring for our earth.











Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Family Fun at Tacoma Nature Center


Saltwater Families enjoyed a hike and picnic at Tacoma Nature Center.  We enjoyed time together, and the beauty of this natural space.  We especially liked seeing the animals in the visitor's center, and the super cool playground.










Thursday, January 14, 2016

Imagining an Ideal Society


Throughout the months of January and February, our elementary school age children will be talking about Jesus' teachings about justice and compassion.  This past Sunday, the Explorers class learned how Jesus taught that we could bring about the Kingdom of God by being our best selves, and in so doing, help to create an ideal world.  The children brainstormed together what an ideal community or society would look like.  The drawing above is part of their brainstorm.

At today's Lighthouse Chapel worship, we continued to explore the themes of justice and compassion.  Honoring the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who also sought to bring about an ideal society, with justice and compassion for all.  

The play "The Dog and the Heartless King" from today's Lighthouse Chapel worship.

Many Unitarian Universalists celebrate the month between today and Valentine's Day as thirty days of love.  The Standing on the Side of Love campaign shares resources each year for individuals and congregations to work for justice and compassion.  This year, Thirty Days of Love offers tangible resources to celebrate the words and deeds of unsung heroes and to continue the effort to promote equality, acceptance, diversity, and inclusion.  Thirty Days is an exciting opportunity to support the emerging and ongoing racial justice organizing happening in Unitarian Universalist congregations across the country, in the tradition of organizing for civil and human rights and in support of the growing Movement for Black Lives.  http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/thirty-days-of-love-2016/

Learn more, or sign up here:  https://www.facebook.com/SideofLove/

Another excellent resource for exploring themes of justice and compassion is Common Converse, a place where individuals and groups can access tools they’ll love to do the fun and inspiring work of digging deeper.Thematic modules focus on big ideas, using a variety of different tools. Different learning styles, lifestyles and philosophies require different methods, so we have developed a range of tools.  You'll find a wealth of resources on their Facebook page here:   https://www.facebook.com/commonconverse/?fref=nf

Download their first workbook for free here:  https://gumroad.com/l/cccompassion

Finally, a blog post on talking with your kids about race and racism by Jessica York, Director of the Faith Development Office of the Unitarian Universalist Association http://callandresponse.blogs.uua.org/bedtime-stories/

I hope you and your family will celebrate thirty days of love, in whatever way is meaningful to you.  Continue the conversations we are having at church about what it means to love others, and to work for justice and compassion in the world.  Join us for a mini retreat on January 30 from 3-5 p.m. to make valentines and cookies as symbols of love for others.  And come celebrate with us in the Lighthouse on February 14, at our Open House, where the children will share what we've been learning with the congregation.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Each Night a Child Is Born Is a Holy Night

Children in the Discovery class act out the story of Jesus' birth

Sophia Fahs, a Unitarian religious educator, wrote:

"Each night a child is born is a holy night
A time for singing,
A time for wondering,
A time for worshipping.
Each night a child is born is a holy night.

No angels herald their beginnings
No prophets predict their future course
No wise men see a star to show
where to find the babe that will save humankind
Yet each night a child is born is a holy night."

Explores make clay for ornaments, while talking about the story of Jesus' birth.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Learning About Hannuakah


This time of the year is a special time when some families all over the world celebrate freedom, miracles, and love.  This wonderful celebration is called Hanukkah.  Today, the children in our youngest classes learned about the celebration of Hannukah.  


On Hannukah, Jewish people celebrate this miracle of the light that lasted eight days and their freedom to believe and worship as they choose.  They bring out their Menorahs, a beautiful candleholder with room for nine candles.  The extra candle is called the “shammash”, a candle to light all the other candles.  Each night for eight nights, they light the candles adding one each night until the last night.  And they do things together on each of the nights. 



They gather family together.
They play dreidel (a spinning top) together.
 They eat potato latkes together.
They sing songs together.
They share simple gifts together.
They eat jelly donuts together.
They find chocolate gelt together.
They say blessings together. 

On the eighth night, all the candles burn brightly.  Everyone remembers the story of the fight for freedom and of the miracle of the lights.  Everyone is happy to be with people who love them.  


Sunday, November 29, 2015

5 Questions


This year our classes for children and youth are learning stories from Jewish and Christian scriptures, and thinking about the stories in terms of five questions that can be asked about any religion.  

The Authority question:  Who decides what is right and true in life?  Whose ideas are right?  Who can we learn from?
The Cosmology question:  What is the universe like and where did it come from?  What is sacred or holy?  What is God?
The Anthropology question:  What are people like?  Are we good or are we evil?  How should we treat one another?
The Sociology question:  How should we live our lives?  How should we treat the world?
The Ecclesiology question:  What is church for?  What do people in our church believe?  Why do we go to church?

Today the Treasure Hunters class reviewed five of the stories we have read this year, and related them to the five questions.  

Noah's Ark by Jerry Pinkney
This story reminds us that it is a blessing that we were born. Knowing that each one of us is a blessing can help us to answer some big questions, such as “What are people like?” “Are we good, or are we evil?” and “How should we treat one another?” When people ask “What are people like?” they are asking the anthropology question. Unitarian Universalists believe that all people are good. People may do bad things, or make bad choices, but they are not bad people. All people deserve respect and to be treated with fairness and kindness.  This is what we mean when we say we are the church of the loving hearts.

Cain and Abel by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
This story reminds us that it matters what we do. Knowing that what we do matters can help us to answer some big questions, such as “How should we live our lives?” and “How should we treat the world?” When people ask “How should we live our lives?” they are asking the sociology question. Unitarian Universalists believe that we should each work to make the world a better place. All people deserve peace and freedom. We believe in taking care of the earth and all living things. This is what we mean when we say we are the church of the helping hands.

Jonah and the Great Fish by Warwick Hutton
This story reminds us that what each of us knows about God is a piece of the truth. Knowing that what each of us knows about the mystery is a piece of the truth can help us to answer some big questions, such as “Who decides what is right and true in life?” “Whose ideas are right?” and “Who can we learn from?” When people ask “Who decides what is right and true?” they are asking the authority question.  Unitarian Universalists believe that we are always learning and growing.  We believe that each person has the right to decide what is right and true and that we can all learn from each other. This is what we mean when we say we are the church of the open minds.

Adam and Eve's First Sunset by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
This story reminds us to let the beauty that we love be what we do. This can be a very hard idea to understand, even for grown ups! How can what we love be what we do? Remember how we are always learning and growing, and how we can learn from each other? We can also learn by paying attention to our world, to everything we see and hear and smell and touch and taste. When we find something beautiful—when we small a beautiful flower, or hear beautiful music, or see a beautiful sunset, or eat delicious food, or enjoy a snuggly hug from someone we love – we can take the good feelings we get from that beauty, and that can help us remember that we believe that people are good and that the world is good. It can help us remember that god is good, for those of us that believe in god.
Knowing that the beauty that we love can be what we do can help us to answer some big questions, such as “What is the universe like?” “What is God?” and “What is sacred or holy?” When people ask “What is sacred or holy?” they are asking the cosmology question. Unitarian Universalists believe that the world, that the whole universe and everything in it, is a wonderful and creative place, filled with all sorts of things to explore and learn from. Our task is to pay attention to the beauty in the world, and to make more beauty. How can we make more beauty? By treating each other with kindness, by caring for each other and for the earth, by learning and growing, and by creating beautiful things and beautiful ideas that help other people find the beauty in the world and in their lives. Unitarian Universalists believe we are all connected to each other and to everything, and there is beauty to be found everywhere. This is also what we mean when we say we are the church of the open minds, and the loving hearts, and the helping hands.

Joseph by Brian Wildsmith
This story reminds us that we are not alone, that we have friends at church that will help us when we need help. This is a very easy idea, but it is also easy to forget! Knowing that we have help, that we “don’t have to do it alone” can help us to answer some big questions, such as “What is church for?” “What do people in our church believe?” and “Why do we go to church?” When people ask “What is church for?” they are asking the ecclesiology question. Unitarian Universalists believe that we can do more if we work together. We can learn from each other.  We can help each other realize that we each are good and worthy of love. We can work together for peace and justice in the world.  We can help each other speak up for what is true and rightWe can help each other find the beauty in the world.
We can create more beauty together. This is also what we mean when we say we are the church of the open minds, and the loving hearts, and the helping hands.




Monday, October 12, 2015

Playing and Learning Together


Discovery class enjoyed playing together with blocks and paints . . .


. . . after hearing the story of the Fox and The Stork, about offering help that is needed.


The Treasure Hunters class heard a story about Noah and the Ark . . . 


 . . . and acted it out with lots of stuffed animals.



The Explorers class learned about Jesus' early life, and examined a map to see where Jesus lived.


The middle school youth group created an interpretive dance to act out the story of Creation.

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