Midweek REconnection

Inviting Families to connect through Religious Exploration

Week Beginning Sunday November 9th

Preschool/Pre-K - Chalice Children

IN SUNDAY'S SESSION...the theme was the beauty of nature. We celebrated the wonder of the changing of seasons, and the growth of flowers from seeds and bulbs. Sharing the miracle of growing things helps children identify their feelings of joy and appreciation as part of living in the interdependent web.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. . . . Grow the bean seed in the bag! Place the sealed plastic bag near a sunny window. For a seed to germinate, it needs water, material to grow in, and warmth from sunlight. When all these needs have been met, the seed soaks up the water through the seed coat. The tiny plant inside the seed starts to grow larger and larger. Once the plant is too big for the seed, the seed coat breaks open. First a root pops out, and after a while you'll see the shoot that contains the stem and leaves. When there are two or three leaves, the plant is ready to make its own food and to be planted in a pot with soil. (Adapted from Green Education Foundation, "How to Grow Beans in a Plastic Bag.")

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try... making other bags of seeds, to grow different types of beans. Plant bulbs outdoors, or force a bulb indoors.

A Family Adventure. Take a walk and explore what is happening during the change of seasons.

A Family Discovery. Online, to learn about a preschool class who grew their own bean seeds or watch an video (below) about the "Tiny Seed"

A Family Game. Invite your child to play the Growing Like a Seed game. Invite them to roll themselves into a ball on the floor or on your lap. Describe the process of growing from a seed to a seedling by telling the story of a seed:

Once there was a little seed, all small and hard. Look at the little seed!

It was planted under the soil. [cover your child with a towel or blanket]

The seed felt a little water trickling around it one day. It tickled! [lightly tickle your child]

Then the seed felt the warmth of the sun. [pat your child]

The seed started to get bigger! [ask your child if they can grow a bit bigger but still stay a seed]

And bigger . . . [ditto]

Until—POP! A little root broke open the seed and started to grow. [gently pull out one of your child's legs]

The root grew and grew . . . [encourage your child to extend their leg]

Until—POP! A little sprout broke open the seed. [gently pull out one of your child's arms]

The little seed was now a seedling. It grew and grew until the sprout grew right out of the soil. [uncover your child]

And the root grew down, and the sprout grew up, and the sun made it all warm. [encourage your child to stretch up and feel the sun]

Finally, two little leaves popped out of the sprout . . . [gently open your child's hands to form leaves]

And there was a little seedling!

A Family Ritual. Create a fall bouquet of flowers, dried grasses, and leaves for your dinner table.

The Tiny Seed

Kindergarten-Gr.1 - World of Wonder

IN SUNDAY'S SESSION...we explored decomposition and its important role in the web of life. We made Earthworm Wonderlands and talked about composting. We had fun with the Decomposition Chorus.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Set up a worm compost bin or other type of composting at home. Resources can be found in the Faith in Action activity. If you already do this at home, find guidance on the TLC website to work with your child's school to start composting.

A Family Adventure. Take a hike to look for signs of decomposition or try log dissection. Be sure to bring magnifying glasses!

Family Discovery. Watch a video from New Hampshire public television(approximately 14 minutes) about decomposition. If family members find some of the visuals "gross," try to think of the images as "fascinating," instead!

A Family Game. Have your child show you the motions for the fun with the Decomposition Chorus, or make up your own. Or, use ideas from the eHow website to create a family board game about decomposition.

A Family Ritual. Perhaps your family already practices the ritual of chalice-lighting before dinner. Bring this kind of reverence and intentionality to composting. You might make a compost collection pail for your kitchen, and at the end of the day, make a trip to your compost bin to "feed" it, recognizing your part in the interdependent web of life.

Gr. 2-3 Signs of Our Faith

IN SUNDAY'S SESSION...we lifted up caring for others as a sign of being UU. We showed that we care about one another by doing a Unitarian Universalist ritual of Sharing Joys and Concerns. There are many ways that we care for people in our families, church, schools and wider community. Today we learned about Refugees, and how our church helps to make a Thanksgiving Feast for a group of Refugees, and we made decorations for the feast.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... ways your family helps care for others in your community.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try... you might like to make a dish for the Thanksgiving Feast together as a family. Talk about the special gift of sharing, not just the food, but a special family tradition.

Family Adventure...One way to show caring for your UU community is to help care for the building where the congregation meets. Be family stewards of the building. Help host a family spruce up day. Think of jobs for people of all ages and abilities to do, so everyone has a chance to help take care of the building and grounds.

Family Discovery...Maybe you would like to volunteer at the Thanksgiving Feast on November 22nd. Contact Toniann if you do.

Family Ritual. Create a new caring ritual. Perhaps arriving home after religious education, your family lights a chalice and everyone shares at least one new thing they discovered about their faith today. This shows you care about learning about Unitarian Universalism. Or, try a new ritual to help people in your family pay attention to the caring that is already in your lives. Once a week, invite each family member to tell about a kind action they performed, a kind action they received, and a kind action they intend to perform in the coming week.

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Gr. 4-5 - Toolbox of Faith

IN SUNDAY'S SESSION . . .we lifted up caring for others as a sign of being UU. We showed that we care about one another by doing a Unitarian Universalist ritual of Sharing Joys and Concerns. There are many ways that we care for people in our families, church, schools and wider community. Today we learned about Refugees, and how our church helps to make a Thanksgiving Feast for a group of Refugees, and we made decorations for the feast.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about...what it might be like to be a 'stranger in a strange land'. How can we make a difference by welcoming newcomers? Check out the brochure below to learn more about the experiences of refugee children (takes a little while to load, hang in there).

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try... you might like to make a dish for the Thanksgiving Feast together as a family. Talk about the special gift of sharing, not just the food, but a special family tradition.

Family Discovery...watch a video together about the experiences of refugees. Maybe you would like to volunteer at the Thanksgiving Feast on November 22nd. Contact Toniann if you do.

Family Ritual. Create a new caring ritual. Perhaps arriving home after religious education, your family lights a chalice and everyone shares at least one new thing they discovered about their faith today. This shows you care about learning about Unitarian Universalism. Or, try a new ritual to help people in your family pay attention to the caring that is already in your lives. Once a week, invite each family member to tell about a kind action they performed, a kind action they received, and a kind action they intend to perform in the coming week.

Gr. 6-7 - Jedi Academy

IN SUNDAY'S SESSION...the group continued their exploration of the senses, this week being smell.


REFLECTION QUESTION...Would you be able to walk blindfolded into your own home, car or school and know where you were by the way it smelled? What scents would give it away? Would that make you feel comfortable? Anxious? Happy? Safe?


EXPLORE THE TOPIC WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS...OK, how about the odor no-one wants to talk about? Yup I'm going there...BO, body odor! But there is good news. There's a solution for that smelly little problem and you can have some fun with it! Check out this recipe for making your own natural deodorant, grab a friend and get to the kitchen...stat!

Gr. 8-9 - Coming of Age

IN SUNDAY'S WORKSHOP... we discussed the almost simultaneous birth of five religions in Asia between 600 and 500 BCE. We examined fundamental concepts of Confucianism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Taoism and discovered some beliefs and practices they share.

REFLECTION QUESTION...Do we "take things with us?" Whether or not you believe in the doctrine of karma, do you believe there is spiritual baggage from our actions?

EXPLORE THE TOPICS WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

  • Fortune cookie inserts are sometimes silly or meaningless. However, simple statements can have deep meaning, even if they are funny. Here is an interesting idea for fun or as a fundraiser for any group. Schedule a time with family or friends to write sayings to go in fortune cookies. Write things that are simple or funny but have a meaningful message, too. Thanksgiving would be a fun time to do this activity. Find a recipe online at Fortune Cookie Recipe 1 or Fortune Cookie Recipe 2. Stuff the fortune cookies and serve them to friends or sell them for a fundraiser. Of course, this is best done without any humorous references to respected Chinese philosopher, Confucius.
  • Do you include interesting quotes as part of your email signature or on your Facebook page? Add a saying attributed to Confucius and see how friends respond.
  • The I Ching is an ancient book of revelation—at least 3,000 years old. Find someone experienced in this art associated with Confucianism and have them help you ask the I Ching a question...if you dare!
  • Covering three schools of thought in one workshop only allows for a basic introduction. Here are a few good places to find out more: Religious Tolerance; BeliefNet; Jainsim.org; Spiritual Sanctuary.
  • Jains are vegetarians. So are many Buddhists. So are many UUs. A Jain website for young children has a song (sung to the tune of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm") to teach young people that you can be vegetarian and still enjoy an array of food. Listen to "I Am A Vegetarian" by Nimisha Asthagiri.

Gr. 10-12 - Popcorn Theology

IN SUNDAY'S SESSION...the group watched a clip from the movie "Hunger Games" and considered how unequal access to resources creates a divide which is difficult to overcome. and explore why some have the drive which propels them to succeed against the odds, while others merely accept their oppression without question. The group is working on understanding how economic division in our world leads to inequality and injustice


REFLECTION QUESTION...Are the same odds in everyone’s favor? Why or why not? How do different odds for different tributes make a difference? How do these odds “teach” or remind people to learn their place and not make trouble?


EXPLORE THE TOPIC WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS...Watch the six minute video on wealth inequality in America from the Bill Moyers website to gain greater insight into just how much out of balance our system is.
Wealth Inequality in America