CliF Notes

A curriculum for families and small groups

 

Note: Some of these sessions involve activities which require advance preparation, such as inviting guests for the final session on hospitality. You will want to read through all of the sessions before the beginning of the month to make sure that you have time for (simple) preparations.

 

A curriculum for families and small groups

 June 2019

 

Week One – June 2nd        

Water Communion – A UU Ritual

 

Supplies Needed: story of “Higgins: A Drop with a Dream,” small cup or jar per person, large bowl, water

 Opening Words

 Fire and water, ancient opposites
Sun and ocean, the cradle of life
Dancing flame and dancing river—
We invoke them together today
As we kindle our chalice flame.

-- by Linda Horton-Ludwig

 Or

 We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

  

Check in

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering

Stand in a circle, with everyone holding hands. Say: “Imagine that there is an energy which connects us, which flows like water from one person to the next, around and around our circle.” Squeeze the hand of the person on your left, who squeezes the hand of the person on their left, etc., around the circle in a continuous flow. You may also wish to send the flow of hand squeezes the other direction.

 

Introduction

For some time now we’ve been talking about the rituals and practices of various religions, including Unitarian Universalism. One thing that’s clear about how UU churches do things is that you can’t ever guarantee that every UU church will do things the same way. UU churches adapt and change rituals and practices that come from other religions, and we come up with a lot of different versions. There are, however, a couple of rituals which are special to UUism. Of course, not all UU churches do them the same way, but the basic idea is the same, and we treasure them in part because they are uniquely UU—rituals that no other religion does. One of these rituals is the flower ceremony, which we talked about back in April. Another of these rituals is even more recent: it was invented in 1980 by two women, Lucille Shuck Longview and Carolyn McDade, who wanted a special ritual to honor women coming together at a conference about women and religion. They asked everyone who was coming to the conference to bring a little bit of water from somewhere special to them, and then in worship each person was invited to pour their little bit of water into a big, shared bowl. Women took this idea back to their home churches, and UU churches started holding water communion ceremonies, usually when the church community gathered together in the fall, after people had been travelling over the summer.

 

Discussion

A ritual is an action that has a meaning that goes beyond the simple actions. What do you think the ritual of people pouring their different little bottles of water into a shared bowl might mean?

 

Story

 HIGGINS: A DROP WITH A DREAM

By Christopher Buice

 

(reprinted from Tapestry of Faith--https://www.uua.org/worship/words/reading/higgins)

Once upon a time there was a drop of water named Higgins.

Higgins was no ordinary drop of water. He was a drop with a dream.

Higgins lived in a valley where it had not rained in a very long time, so all the lovely green grass was turning brown, all the beautiful flowers were wilting, and all the trees were starting to droop.

Higgins had a dream that one day the valley would be a beautiful place again. But what could he do? After all, he was only a drop of water.

One day Higgins decided to travel and tell others about his dream. All the other drops listened very politely, but no one believed that his dream would come true. "Higgins," said one, "get your head out of the clouds. You can't spend your whole life dreaming."

Higgins decided that he had to do something to make his dream come true. So he began to think and think and think. One day, as he was walking by a rusty old bucket, he got an idea.

"If enough of us drops of water got together in this bucket," Higgins thought, "there would be enough water to sprinkle on a few flowers to help them grow and become beautiful again!"

Eagerly, Higgins told everyone his great idea. But everyone thought he was being foolish. "That Higgins is nothing but a dreamer," they said.

Higgins decided he had to do something to convince the others that he was right. So he said to them, "I don't know about you, but I'm getting into the bucket! I hope some of you will join me. Then there might be enough water to help at least some flowers grow beautiful again."

So Higgins ran as hard as he could, hopped way up in the air, and landed with a kerplunk in the bottom of the bucket.

And there he sat . . . JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET.

For a long time Higgins was very lonely. It seemed like no one else was going to join him. But after awhile some of the other drops could see that the grass was dying and the flowers were wilting and the trees were drooping. They all agreed that something must be done.

Suddenly, one drop shouted, "I'm going in the bucket with Higgins!" And he leaped through the air and landed— kerplunk —in the bucket.

Then two other drops yelled, "Wait for us!" And they hopped through the air and landed in the bucket. Then ten drops jumped through the air into the bucket. Then thirty. Then fifty! And then hundreds of drops came from all around just to hop in the bucket!

Soon, the bucket was completely full of water. But there were still more drops that wanted to join, so they found another bucket and hopped in. Before long, there were two buckets of water—then three—then four—then ten—and then hundreds—and then thousands of buckets of water!

Along came a powerful breeze that blew over all the buckets, and all the water flowed together to make a mighty stream. Everywhere the water flowed, the grass turned green again and the flowers bloomed and the trees stood tall and straight once more.

All this happened because Higgins had a dream and his dream came true. Because he knew that although he was just a drop in the bucket, enough drops in the bucket make a bucketful, and when there are enough buckets with the wind behind them, then justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

 

Activity

Choose a physical activity that illustrates the point that all of us working together can do things that no one of us alone can do. What activity will work best depends on the number of people you have available. If you have a fairly large group, a lap sit is fun. Have everyone stand facing the person in front of them in a tight circle, so that everyone’s right (or left) shoulder is toward the inside. Try to make sure that people next to each other are moderately close in size. On your count, have everyone sit down at the same time, so that each person is sitting on the lap of the person behind them. If you only have a couple of children, they can sit back to back, and stand up by simultaneously leaning back into each other, so that each supports the other as they stand.  

Pairs can also hold hands and see how far they can lean back while holding each other up. Or have pairs lean in, palm to palm, and see how far apart they can get their feet from each other without falling down. 

 A moderately large group can lift group members – have one person lie down, and the rest of the group cluster around and place their hands under the person to be lifted. Make sure that they lift at the same time, and that the size of the person being lifted doesn’t overwhelm the number of people available to lift. 

You can find a wide variety of other cooperative games here.

 

Ritual

Gather the group in a circle, and give each participant a small cup or jar of water. Place a large bowl in the center of the circle.

Say: Every drop of water that we bring to our ceremony today has been on amazing adventures. Our water, this very water, has witnessed the birth of life and the death of dinosaurs, has been a part of the body of Buddha and Bach, Jesus and Michael Jordan, and the Queen of England. Each tiny molecule of water has been on its own unique journey, but today I need your help in telling the story of all water.

Most of our planet is covered by oceans, the cradle of life and water's true home. What does an ocean sound like?

Now, you can't hear it, but all of the time, every day, the sun shines on the ocean, and water evaporates; it rises into the air to become clouds. If we listened very carefully, with our tiniest inside ears, what sound do you think we would hear as the earth breathes water up into clouds?

But eventually, the clouds fill up, and the water comes down again as rain. Imagine standing on a mountain, and it begins, very gently, to drizzle, then to rain, then to pour in a full-scale mountain thunderstorm! Then, slowly, the storm moves on, the rain gets gentler, and slows, and eventually stops. (Create the rain storm by rubbing fingertips together, then snapping fingers or clapping lightly, then clapping harder, up to drumming hands on thighs or stomping feet. As the rain abates, follow the process in reverse.)

The water that falls in the mountains runs into little downhill trickles. What might that sound like?

(As the story continues, children will probably understand to continue with the sound effects. If not, encourage them to do so.) These little trickles gather into babbling brooks and streams.

The streams continue on their downward course, eventually
joining into rushing rivers.

As the quick rivers join into great rivers they become broader and slower.

And eventually, all water returns to the sea, the cradle of life, and water's true home.

Pick up your cup/jar of water. As you hold it and look at it, think about water in the world that is special to you. It might be a swimming pool, or a place where you’ve been to the ocean or a special lake or even your bath tub. When you feel ready, pour your water into our common bowl, and, if you wish share aloud the places this water reminds you of.

(Everyone takes a turn.)

Closing

In gathering together this water we gather together sacred places, sacred thoughts, sacred memories. In gathering together our separate drops we honor the power of our coming together, as each of us brings our own unique gifts. We offer the gift of our community to the world, and hope that our shared gifts will help good to grow. (Use water in bowl to give water to a tree or other plant(s).)

 

 

Week Two – June 9th      

Design a Ritual

 

Supplies Needed: Worship resources (see below), items that might be useful for ritual (candles, nature objects, water, stones, etc.)

 

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

 

To worship is to stand in awe under a heaven of stars,

before a flower, a leaf in sunlight, or a grain of sand….

To worship is to sing with the singing beauty of the earth;

it is to listen through a storm to the still, small voice within….

Worship is the mystery within us reaching out to the mystery beyond….

It is the window of the moment open to the sky of the eternal.

--Jacob Trapp

 

or

 

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

  

Check in

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in our life – something that made us happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.”

 

Centering:

Sing “Gathered Here”

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour,

Gathered here in one strong body,

Gathered here in the struggle and the power,

Spirit draw near.

 

The tune is available here.

 

Introduction:

It should be pretty clear from all we’ve talked about in the past weeks and months that worship and ritual for Unitarian Universalists is something that is created and shaped and changed by individuals and congregations. Sometimes a special ritual, like the flower ceremony or the water communion, is designed by one or two people, but then is adopted by many people. Sometimes a person or a family or a congregation comes up with a ritual which is meaningful for them, and which they use once or many times, but without it being shared by the larger world. Today we’re going to have the chance to plan our own ritual.

 

Story

Here is a story of some real kids who planned a worship service by themselves.

 

Discussion What is the difference between a worship service and a ritual? Which would you like to plan?

 

Activity

Plan a ritual or worship service. A ritual is a symbolic action, often in honor of some special occasion or life passage. If you choose to create a ritual, think about what the ritual celebrates or honors, and what physical objects or actions might be involved. A worship service is a way of expressing a religious idea through words, music, actions, silence and/or visual beauty. If you want to plan a worship service, start with choosing a theme, and then choose words, music, etc. You may wish to use the structure of these sessions (opening/chalice lighting, centering, introduction, story/sermon, activity (optional), discussion (optional), closing) as the basis for your worship. You may wish to do your ritual or worship only with your group, or, if you’re in a congregational setting, you may wish to share it with others from the congregation.

 

Resources for worship materials include the UU hymnbooks Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey, songs at https://www.questformeaning.org/programs/familyquest/family-resources/, readings at the UUA’s WorshipWeb and stories/activities from uu&me! as well as any favorite books of poems or songs the group already knows.

 

Closing

Choose a closing song, poem or activity that matches the theme of your ritual or worship.

 

 

Week Three – June 16th    

Father’s Day

 

Supplies Needed: Cardstock or construction paper, copies of pictures of Channing and Murray, pencils, pens, markers, crayons

 

Opening Words and Chalice Lighting

 You may posses a small light, but uncover it, let it shine, use it in order to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men and women.

--John Murray

 

or

 

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

 

 

Check-in:

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering:

Sing “Gathered Here”

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour,

Gathered here in one strong body,

Gathered here in the struggle and the power,

Spirit draw near.

 

You can find the tune here.

 

Introduction

Today for Father’s Day we’ll be honoring not only our own personal father figures, but also a father of Unitarianism and a father of Universalism. As you’re listening to the stories of these two men, William Ellery Channing and John Murray, you might think about whether they have anything in common with your father or another important man in your life.

Story 1 -- William Ellery Channing

William Ellery Channing didn't start off as someone you would expect to have radical ideas about religion. He was born in 1780 into a wealthy New England family, and went to a Congregational church where the minister expressed a harsh view of human nature. That view was typical of the time, and William's family had no argument with the notion that people were "sinners in the hands of an angry God," as a popular minister of a few decades earlier put it.

One Sunday William's father took him to hear a visiting preacher, who gave a particularly enthusiastic version of that message. Overwhelmed by the sermon, in which the minister yelled at the congregation about how most people were sinners who would be met with the horrible tortures of hell after they died, William felt "a curse seemed to rest on the earth and darkness and horror to veil the face of nature." His father seemed to agree with everything the preacher said, so William assumed that when they got home they would fall on their knees and pray to be saved from impending doom. Instead, the family ate their usual meal, and then his father sat by the fire, puffed his pipe and read the newspaper.

William didn't know what to think: Did his family not really believe what the preacher said? Did they believe, but not take it seriously?

Well, William grew up to become someone who took thinking about religion very seriously. Eventually he went to Harvard to study to become a minister. While he was a student, Channing wrote down some thoughts which guided him in his studies throughout his life, and came to guide Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists down the road. He wrote: "It is always best to think first for ourselves on any subject…. The quantity of knowledge thus gained may be less, but the quality will be superior. Truth received on authority, or acquired without labor, makes but a feeble impression." Or, in the simpler language that we might use today: "Think for yourself, rather than just accepting what other people tell you. You might learn less, but it will mean more."

By the early 1800s there was a battle of beliefs happening inside the New England Congregational churches. Some people held to the traditional Calvinist beliefs that people are basically born bad and that only a few people are destined for salvation in heaven. These people also believed that Jesus was essentially the same as God. Other people had a more optimistic view of human nature, and thought that people could become better and better through education and good works. They also tended to believe that Jesus was a very special and important teacher, but that his importance was because of his message, rather than because his death paid for the sins of humanity. Over time it became more and more clear that the first group (the conservatives) didn't want to have anything to do with the
second (the liberals).

Finally, in 1819, William Ellery Channing gave a sermon, called Unitarian Christianity, which set out the beliefs of these liberal Christians, claimed the name "Unitarian" (which previously people had used as an insult), and paved the way for the creation of a new religious association. Channing said that people had the ability to think and reason, and that they should use this ability just as much when reading the Bible as in reading any other book. He said that the idea of the Trinity—that there are three parts to God: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Ghost—doesn't really make any sense, and gets in the way of the real purpose of religion, which is to help people be better human beings. In fact, he said that the job of human beings is to become as much like God as possible: loving, kind, generous and fair. He said that people aren't basically bad, and that with effort we can keep getting better and better.

Channing's Unitarian Christianity sermon was printed and read by tens of thousands of people, and he continued to work for many years as a minister and an author, stating in beautiful language beliefs that are still held by many Unitarian Universalists today. Although Unitarianism, and eventually Unitarian Universalism, has changed a great deal over the last 200 years, Channing really helped to launch us as a distinct religion of thinking, questioning, caring people.

Discussion: How would you describe Channing? What was important to him?

Story 2 -- John Murray

JOHN MURRAY AND THE WINDS OF CHANGE

(reprinted from Tapestry of Faith--https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/home/session12/60161.shtml)

You never know what the wind will blow in or which way the wind blows. The wind can change directions and maybe change your life. It happened to John Murray. As a young man, John Murray had excellent fortune blow his way. He had a fine education, a steady job, a loving wife, and a young son. Life was good. Then, suddenly, everything changed. John Murray’s wife and their son became sick and died. John lost his job, lost all his money, and was put in jail because he could not pay his bills.

John was a very religious man, a Universalist, who had even preached about a loving God. Now, he was not so sure what he believed. He felt his life was over. Friends urged him to go someplace where he could start again.

He sailed for America on a ship named the Hand In Hand. The wind blew the ship toward their destination, New York. But then, fog rolled in and the ship ran aground in New Jersey instead. John and a few others volunteered to leave the ship, go on land, and get directions and supplies.

As he was walking ashore, John saw a farmhouse with a small chapel or church beside it. It belonged to Thomas Potter. Thomas Potter greeted John, gave him food for everyone on the ship, and invited John to come back and have dinner with him that night.

When John came back, Thomas Potter showed him the chapel. Thomas Potter said that he believed in a loving God who wanted to accept all people into heaven. John said that he believed the same thing. Thomas Potter told John that he had built the chapel and was waiting for God to send him a minister. “You, John, are that minister. I have waited for you a long time”.

John did not want to hear this. He was not a preacher anymore and he was determined to never preach again. Yet, Thomas Potter seemed confident that John was the Universalist preacher he waited for and he asked John to preach on Sunday. “I can’t preach on Sunday,” said John, “because as soon as the wind changes, my boat will set sail and I must be on it.”

“If the boat has not sailed by Sunday, will you preach?” asked Thomas Potter.

“If I am still here on Sunday, I will preach,” said John Murray.

Now, what do you think happened? Did the wind blow? Did the Hand In Hand sail away, taking John Murray with it?

No wind blew.

No ship sailed.

John Murray preached on Sunday morning, September 30, 1770, in the chapel Thomas Potter built for him many years before.

The Universalist message of the power of love was good news to many who heard. It was good news for John. The winds of change blew yet again for John Murray. He now wanted to preach more than anything and he did, for many years, and helped found Universalism in America. He is one of the ancestors of our faith home and we, as Unitarian Universalists, owe a special thanks to Thomas Potter. It was his hospitality that brought John Murray back to the pulpit. We also owe a special thanks to the wind that blew him in and would not blow him out.

Discussion: How would you describe Murray? What was important to him?

Activity

Make Father’s Day cards, with a picture of either Channing or Murray on the front. Inside write why the recipient of the card (who might or might not be the maker’s father) reminds the maker of the man on the front. For instance, for a card with Channing on the front, the inside might say “Dear Grandpa, I think you are like William Ellery Channing because you are smart and people listen when you talk,” of “Dear Dad, you are like John Murray because he was the father of Universalism, and you are the father of me!” Encourage children to share their ideas before they begin writing, and invite them to color the picture as well as the rest of the card as they see fit.

Discussion

What qualities do you think a person would have to have in order to become the “father” of something—to be the start of a new way of thinking or doing things?

 

Closing

Each of us is meant to have a character all our own, to be what no other can exactly be, and do what no other can exactly do.

--William Ellery Channing

 

 

Week Four—June 23nd

Summer Solstice

 

Supplies Needed: Depending on activity(ies) chosen, supplies listed below for suncatchers, fruit salad, and/or sun weavings. Optionally, sparklers or glow sticks, orange slices.

 

Chalice Lighting:

We stand at the edge of summer. The sun has at last warmed us enough that we begin to trust in its presence. The last burst of spring blossoms, lavender and white and deep pink banks of rhododendron, are giving way to summer peonies and roses. O source of the turning season, of earth, of life, of promise gradually becoming fulfillment, may your people find a lightening of their burdens with the brightening of the sky. – Helen Cohen 

or another listed in week one 

 

Check in:

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering:

We stand at the very edge of summer, the time of the longest day, the time when the earth, having gathered its breath through all the winter and spring, begins to exhale, relaxing into the time of warmth and fruit and flowers. The earth lives on this cycle of breathing in and breathing out, gathering energy and relaxing. As slowly as you can, breathe in. Bit by bit, draw air into your lungs, filling your body with the power of fresh air. And when you can’t take in any more air, as slowly as you can, start to breathe out – ever so slowly – letting your body ever so gradually relax, letting your breath merge with the rest of the world. Again, ever so slowly…breathe in. And ever so slowly…breathe out. In the cycle of the seasons, in the cycle of our breath, we are all connected, all part of this planet which sustains us.

 

Introduction

Today we celebrate the summer solstice – the point in the year when the night is at its shortest and the day at its longest. It’s the beginning of summer, not the mid-point – with the long days the earth will continue to warm as summer continues. But it’s a time for celebrating the sun, for honoring the earth’s abundance, for breathing out and embracing a time of growth and creation.

 

Story

This is a story of the sun, and a story of creation. It’s based on a story from the native people of Australia:

 

SUN MOTHER WALKS THE EARTH

Reprinted from Tapestry of Faith--https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/youth/bridges/workshop3/183345.shtml

Based on a story of indigenous people of Australia/New Zealand.

There was a time when everything was still. All the spirits of the Earth were asleep—or almost all. The great Sun Mother was awake, and as she opened her eyes a warm ray of light spread out toward the sleeping Earth.

"Ah!" the Sun Mother said, "I have work to do! I must go to the Earth, awaken the sleeping spirits, and give them forms."

The Sun Mother glided down to Earth, which was bare. She began to walk in all directions and everywhere she walked plants grew. After returning to the field where she had begun her work, the Sun Mother rested, well pleased with herself. When she was rested, the Sun Mother went forth again.

This time she ventured into the dark caves on the mountainsides. The bright light that radiated from her awoke the spirits, and after she left the caves, insects of all kinds flew out into the sunlight. The Sun Mother sat down and watched the glorious sight of her insects mingling with her flowers. Once again, however, she did not rest for long.

The Sun Mother ventured into a very deep cave, spreading her light around her. Her heat melted the ice, and the rivers and streams of the world were created. Then she created fish and small snakes, lizards, and frogs. Next she awoke the spirits of the birds and animals and they burst into the sunshine in a glorious array of colors. Seeing this, the Sun Mother was pleased with her work.

She called all her creatures to her and instructed them to enjoy the wealth of the Earth and to live peacefully with one another. Then she rose into the sky and became the Sun.

The living creatures watched in awe as the Sun Mother crept across the sky toward the West. However, when she finally sunk beneath the horizon they were panic-stricken, thinking she had deserted them. All night they stood frozen in their places, thinking that the end of time had come. After what seemed to them a lifetime, the Sun Mother peeked above the horizon in the East. The Earth's children were so relieved they danced for joy. Soon they learned to expect her coming and going and were no longer afraid.

At first, the children lived together peacefully, but eventually envy crept into their hearts. They began to argue. The Sun Mother was forced to come down from her home in the sky to mediate their bickering. She gave each creature the power to change its form to whatever it chose. However, she was not pleased with the end result. The rats she had made had changed into bats; there were giant lizards and fish with blue tongues and feet. However, the oddest of the new animals had a bill like a duck, teeth for chewing, a tail like a beaver's, and the ability to lay eggs! It was called the platypus.

The Sun Mother looked down upon the Earth and decided that she must create new creatures, wiser than these. She gave birth to two children, a god and a goddess. The god was the Morning Star and the goddess was the Moon. Two children were born to them, and these, her grandchildren, she sent to live on Earth. They became our ancestors. The Sun Mother was satisfied. They were superior to the animals because they had part of her mind, and would never want to change their shape.

 

Discussion

Sun mother creates the beings of the earth by shining her light into caves, and by putting some of herself into the new beings that she creates. What do you create? What have you created by shining the light of your energy and attention on it? How have you put part of yourself into something you’ve created?

 

 

Project Possibility One: Make a Suncatcher

To make one suncatcher you’ll need a paper plate, a roll of clear contact paper, scissors, a paper punch, narrow satin ribbon in a color of your choice, and tissue paper in various colors. Optionally the kids can color and decorate the outer edge of the suncatcher. Provide coloring supplies such as crayons, markers, colored pencils, or watercolor paints. Glitter, small beads, faux gems, and other embellishments can also be used to further decorate the suncatcher.

Begin making this easy suncatcher by cutting out the raised circular center of a paper plate. The paper plate can be any size. Discard the center, and if you want your suncatcher to be as colorful and eye-catching as possible, color and decorate the suncatcher frame. The way in which you color and decorate the suncatcher is entirely up to you.

When the frame is complete, cut out two contact paper circles about ¼ inch larger than the hole in the center of the plate. Find a circular lid or other object to trace around if necessary. Remove the backing from one of the contact paper circles, and carefully mount it over the hole in the plate. Make sure the sticky side is facing up.

Now comes the fun part. Rip or cut colored tissue paper into pieces no more than one inch in diameter in size, and randomly stick the pieces to the clear contact paper until the sticky area is completely covered. After the entire circle is covered, peel the backing from the second contact paper circle, and carefully stick it over the other so the tissue paper is sandwiched between both sheets of clear contact paper.

Lastly, punch a hole about ½ inch from the edge, and thread a long piece of narrow satin ribbon through the hole. Tie a knot in the ribbon, and hang your colorful suncatcher in a sunny window.

 

Project Possibility 2: Make Fruit Salad

You will need a selection of fruit, water for washing, safe knives and cutting boards, a large bowl and yogurt, sour cream or orange juice dressing (described below) if desired.

Fruit salad is a lovely way to celebrate the earth’s abundance, and a great thing to make together. Small children can wash grapes and pick them from the stems, older children can slice soft fruit. You may wish to dress your fruit salad with sweetened yogurt or sour cream flavored with a bit of sugar and vanilla. Or squeeze orange juice over the salad to keep cut fruit from browning.

 

Project Possibility 3: Sun Weavings

You will need up to four sticks per person, yarn in shades of yellow, gold, orange and/or red and scissors.

A sun weaving is very much like a God’s eye, created by weaving yarn around sticks. But rather than using two crossed sticks you will want to use four crossed sticks (or three, which is simpler, but will create a hexagonal rather than round shape). You may wish to have participants search for sticks outside, or provide twigs which are sturdy enough to hold up under pressure. The difficult part of this craft is getting it started, so it will probably be best for an adult to do the initial wrapping and knot to hold the sticks in place.

 

Ritual

Go outside carrying sun catchers, sun weavings, or sparklers (where legal and safe) or glow sticks. Hold up these sun symbols, and walk in a clockwise circle singing “Rise Up, O Flame.” Ask each person to complete the sentence “I give thanks to the sun and summer for ________” Then go around the circle again and ask each person to complete the sentence “I offer my own creativity by ­­­_________" Read this poem (or have participants take turns reading it) as a benediction:

Sowing the seed,

my hand is one with the earth.

 

Wanting the seed to grow,

my mind is one with the light.

 

Hoeing the crop,

my hand are one with the rain.

 

Having cared fro the plants,

my mind is one with the air.

 

Hungry and trusting,

my mind is one with the earth.

 

Eating the fruit,

my body is one with the earth.

 

--Wendell Berry

 

Finish with eating fruit salad, or oranges cut into round, sun-shaped slices.

 

 

Week Five—June 30th      

End of Curriculum Year Celebration/General Assembly

 

Supplies Needed: Certificate templates copied onto cardstock or resume paper, pens, pencils, crayons or colored pencils, stickers (optional) snacks, napkins

 

Opening Words and Chalice Lighting

We are Unitarian Universalists (shape hands fingers up to form two “Us”)

This is the home of the open mind (touch fingers to forehead and open out)

This is the home of the flaming chalice that lights our way to truth. (cup hands thumbs out and hold up)

This is the home of the loving heart (fold hands over heart)

This is the home of the helping hands (hold hands out)

Together we care for our earth

And work for peace in our world. (join hands amongst the group)

 

Or, for older kids:

 

In the freedom of truth

and the love of justice

We bring all that we are

to shape what we yet can be.

 

Or

 

In the light of truth and the warmth of love,

We gather to seek and seek to share.

 

 

Check-in:

You may wish to start this check-in time with the words “We are a family (or community). What touches one of us touches all of us, and so we take this time to listen to each person remember and share one thing from the past week that made a difference in their life – something that made them happy, or sad, or proud or sorry or grateful.

 

Centering:

Sing “Gathered Here”

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour,

Gathered here in one strong body,

Gathered here in the struggle and the power,

Spirit draw near.

 

You can find the tune here.

 

Introduction

Today is the last session of this curriculum year. We’ve talked about a wide range of things that religions do, from rituals to mark important passages in life to religious education and social justice. (Bring out Treasure Box and invite children to reflect on what they remember about the activities and information from the past ten months.) Today is also a special day because it is the final day of General Assembly. Every year UUs from around the US and around the world gather together. They go to workshops and worship services and concerts. They see their friends and they meet new friends. And together they make important decisions for the whole Unitarian Universalist Association. They decide on important issues in the world that we want to take a stand on, like global warming and peacemaking and eating in ways that do the least damage to the planet.

 

Activity

One of the highlights of General Assembly is a big worship service, called the Service of the Living Tradition. There is a chalice lighting and singing and a sermon and pretty much everything that you would expect at a UU worship service, but there are some extra things as well. The Service of the Living Tradition honors ministers – new ministers and retiring ministers and ministers who have died over the past year. It is a ritual of life passages for ministers, and one of the things that happen as part of the ritual is that each of the new ministers walks across the stage, kind of like at a graduation, and receives a certificate of ministerial fellowship. (Note: The service of the Living Tradition should be available on streaming video at www.uua.org/ga)

 

Unlike birth or coming of age or death, becoming a minister is a particular life passage that a few people go through, but not everybody. If you think about it, we all have life passages that are important to us, but aren’t one of the major life passages that religions generally celebrate. Attaining a belt in martial arts or being old enough to stay home by yourself or tying your shoes or riding a bike or singing in front of an audience or learning multiplication tables or learning how to disagree without yelling are all personal achievements that make a change in how you relate to the world. We’re going to be creating our own certificates of achievement to honor something that we’ve learned or done in the past year that we want to celebrate. Your certificate doesn’t necessarily have to honor something that everybody would think of as a big achievement—what matters is that it’s important to you.

 

Complete and decorate certificates, using, if you wish, the template below.


 

Certificate of Achievement

 

____________________

has

 

___________________________

 


 

Discussion

What life passages or accomplishments to you wish your church or family had rituals to honor?

 

Ritual

Collect certificates of achievement. Have children line up (by age, alphabetical order, month they were born, etc.). Call them forward one by one and read aloud what they have chosen to write on their certificate (unless they prefer that their achievement remain private). Shake their hand and congratulate them.

 

Activity

With your remaining time, have snacks and celebration. You may wish to play cooperative games.

 

Closing

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." – Ralph Waldo Emerson