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Chalice image February, 2004

Religious Education for Children and Youth at the UUCNH
Preschool & Kindergarten
We Are Many, We Are One
Feb. 1 – We need our families
Feb. 8 – Love means sharing and caring
Feb. 15 – We all belong to the family of Earth
Feb. 22 – Cooperation means sharing and caring
Feb. 29 – Winter brings changes to our earth

Grades 1-2
UU Super Heroes
Feb. 1 –  Olympia Brown
Feb. 8 – P.T. Barnum
Feb. 15 – Malvina Reynolds
Feb. 22 – Abigail Adams
Feb. 29 – John Adams

Grade 3-4
Timeless Themes
Feb. 1 – Samson and Delilah
Feb. 8 – David and Goliath
Feb. 15 – Wise King Solomon
Feb. 22 – Jonah and the Whale
Feb. 29 – Job

Grades 5-6
Traditions With A Wink
Feb. 1 – Verbal Self Defense
Feb. 8 – Verbal Self Defense
Feb. 15 – Islamic New Year, Visit Islamic Center
Feb. 22 – Hosea Ballou (Unitarianism and Universalism)
Feb. 29 – Clara Barton (Red Cross)

Grades 7-8
Neighboring Faiths
Feb. 1 – Trip to a Protestant Church
Feb. 8 – How Culture Shapes a Religious Community
Feb. 15 – Trip to Baptist of African Methodist Episcopal Church
Feb. 21-22 – Sleepover, Monotheism debriefing, Planning for RE Service
Feb. 29 –Religions of the Goddess, Native American Traditions, Creation Spirituality

Youth Group
Heresy Apparent
Feb. 1 – Cooking for Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter
Feb. 3, Tuesday, 7-9 p.m. – Fun Night
Feb 8 - Liberal Christianity, Heresy of questioning, part two.
Feb. 11, Wednesday, 7-9 p.m. – Fun Night
Feb. 15 - Liberal Christianity, Heresy of faith in action.
Feb. 17, Tuesday, 7-9 p.m. – Fun Night
Feb. 22 – TBA
Feb. 25, Wednesday, 7-9 p.m. –Fun Night
February 27, Friday – Games Night for The Congregation
Feb. 29 – Free Thought and New Ideas

RE Activities
Image of Greta PorterGreta’s Column:

“This is The Church of the Warm  Hug.”

I have been thinking a lot lately about our church, and what the ideal  experience should be for our children and youth.  It is so easy to get caught up in the details, to become anxious.  Do we have enough supplies, the right curriculum, plenty of snacks?  Will we have enough volunteers next year?  Enough money.  Sometimes I think we get so bogged down in the logistics and details, we forget the big picture.

Then it occurred to me.  Church should be a warm hug.  From the moment our children and youth enter the doors they should feel enveloped in a warm cocoon of love.  And it is from this perspective that I imagine the ideal church.  “This is the church of the warm hug.”

Children should be warmly greeted at the door, in the service, in their classrooms.  Adults should take an interest in what is happening in our young peoples’ lives, just as they do with other adults.  Children should be given plenty of opportunity to share what is happening in their lives.

Children and youth should be surrounded by caring adults, adults committed to making their church experience positive and important.  Adults should mentor teens.  
 Youth should be given an opportunity to explore their beliefs, change their beliefs, and still be warmly  accepted.  Children and youth should be given opportunities to develop their talents, to put their religion into action with community service and social action projects.  Our children and youth should have opportunities at church to just have fun.

I imagine this ideal church and think about what would need to change to make our church meet this exacting criteria.  Our children are warmly greeted in our church.  Their concerns are taken seriously.  Our children are surrounded by caring and dedicated volunteers who work very hard to make their church experience positive and important.  Our youth are mentored in our Coming of Age Program.  They are given the opportunity to explore and change their beliefs and still be accepted.  Our children and youth are given opportunities to serve the community with social action projects.  Our children and youth do have opportunities at church to just have fun. 

As I imagine the ideal church, I realize it is not the church with a big building, a vast number of volunteers or an unlimited budget.  Those things wouldn’t hurt.  But the ideal church is a church with heart, “the church of the warm hug.”   I believe we are that church. 

Hug image