The months of June and July have brought so many great events for our children, youth and adults at OCUUC. We had a wonderful 4th of July party in Irvine, our youth created a wonderful District overnight. Now we look forward to return visit from our scaly friends from Reptile Rescue on August 4th, bringing their human handlers along, too!
One other event that was extremely powerful was a visit in June by a group of border justice workers, UndocuVan, part of a larger border justice group, UndocuBus. One morning I received a frantic communication from another district DRE, asking if OCUUC could house the group that same night. It turned out we had a 24 hour lead, and OCUUC president Katherine Martin and I put together towels and breakfast for about twelve adults on site.
We were able to spend some time with them as we dispensed towels and settled them into classrooms in the evening and shared breakfast the next morning. Over breakfast we told stories; what a wonderful experience! Each of these young people belonged to or represented another social justice organization. Some had experienced their own families being split up by government agencies during deportation episodes. They were so proud to talk about their experiences and their groups. They were also very grateful for us and our church! Our three showers were a luxury for people who had not showered in over three days. They kept calling OCUUC the Five Star Hotel on their stop.
They also recognized the “Standing on the Side of Love” tee shirt I was wearing. They knew that some UUs had been arrested alongside members of their organizations during border justice demonstrations. What a powerful testament to Unitarian Universalism that was!
Katherine and I were invited to tell our stories; we also told them that they had bestowed the blessings on us. The possibility for this type of social justice work is what our new church building and our move had promised this congregation. I was thrilled to experience a promise kept!
OCUUC Summer Schedule: Sunday Service at 10:30 am, with Religious Education for Children and Youth at that time.
Read the RECY Weekly for more on what’s going on at OCUUC.
OCUUC RE Teacher Appreciation Day!
We have had a great deal of change in our church lives over the past few months. It is wonderful to have called our new minister, Rev. Sian Wiltshire, this past weekend. I am finishing up the RE unpacking and getting our classrooms ready to resume our regular curricula on Sundays from the Tapestry of Faith sessions. Our children have not missed a beat with our move!
I so look forward to seeing everyone Sundays, and encourage your participation in our Religious Education program. We need each of you to help Build A New Way at OCUUC!
For the latest information about the Religious Education for Children and Youth progream (RECY), scroll down on the Children/Youth page and see what is new!
What will the new RE spaces look like at our new building? We have been working diligently to prepare RE rooms with clean carpet, bright windows, and gleaming indoor hallways linking everything together! The classrooms will seem familiar and at the same time, completely new. You’ll recognize the books, toys, and furniture but we think you’ll be mesmerized by the view the first time you visit. It’s truly a change of scenery!
Getting ready for RE classes to begin at the Mesa Verde building is a team effort. Some weekends we focus on cleaning and repairs at Mesa Verde, and some weekends we focus on making certain all items of value have been moved from Victoria. We would really like to have your help on Saturday, February 9th. Meet at our Victoria Street campus to join a work crew. Child care is available at Mesa Verde from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, contact Rayna for details (dreocuucorg) .
MOVING DAY Saturday February 9th
Saturday, February 9th will be a BIG MOVING DAY.
On this day we will gather at the Victoria Street Church location at 8:30 a.m.
and move ALL that is left of value
from our Victoria church location
to our new Mesa Verde church location.
There will be FREE FOOD and FREE CHILDCARE (at Mesa Verde from 9am-1pm).
February 10th will be the day of the ‘pilgrimage’ – the walk from the Victoria St. church location to the Mesa Verde Dr. East location. We will begin our walk at 9:45 a.m. and gather at the Mesa Verde location for a 11:15 a.m. celebration.
Effective February 10th, OCCUC will have a
NEW PHONE NUMBER:
(714) 55 – OCUUC
All email addresses remain the same.
Dear OCUUC Community-
This holiday season has been overshadowed by the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut. OCUUC children will be participating in creating snowflakes to send to the surviving children at their new school. Adults are invited to stop by and create a snowflake this Sunday at the Religious Education table. This will be in addition to the note-writing that Rev. Ed will be coordinating over the weekend.
I look at the faces of the little children and the adults who lost their lives in this tragedy and my heart aches. As Unitarian Universalists, we can take some hope and comfort in doing the social justice work to ensure that this will not happen again.
Below are three links that are extremely helpful in providing information to adults on helping children cope with their fears surrounding this type of violence. I happened to be teaching in one of our RE classes last Sunday when the children brought up the shootings. As Fred Rogers recommended, first I asked each child to briefly tell me what they thought had happened, and then I had each child tell me how they felt about it. I then gave a very brief, two sentence statement of the facts and reassured the children several times that the adults around them do everything they can to keep them safe. I pointed out the helpers in the community who arrived immediately when they knew there was a problem.
Lastly I told them that these events are extremely rare. It is our job, as the responsible adults in their lives, to make sure this never, ever happens again. May it be so.
Rayna Hamre, OCUUC Director of Religious Education
President, Pacific Southwest District Liberal Religious Educators Association
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers
It’s moving time at OCUUC!Please join us for Religious Education Pack ‘n’ Move on Friday November 23rd from 10am – 3pm. We will need people to help us pack at the Victoria church and move boxes and smaller items to our new Mesa Verde church site. This will help burn off those holiday calories. Snacks, lunch and fun are included!
As I have inventoried and packed up materials from years of operation of our Religious Education program, I have experienced many emotions. We are clearing out materials that will not be needed in the future at our new church home. But as I handle each book or binder, I see in each older curriculum the time and love that the author put into it, creating experiences and memories for the children and adults who participated in that classroom experience. My own children, like many others, grew up in the OCUUC Religious Education program.
One day last week I sat in the RE office surrounded by paper, notebooks and boxes feeling a little sad and slightly overwhelmed. Many of our older curricula will not be used again. With the transition from using print books to on-line programs through our UUA Tapestry of Faith program, I need to make decisions about what is worth keeping from our shared past for future use.
But I also took some time to drive through our new church site neighborhood last week. My perspective changed. I saw the houses and people as potential partners and neighbors, as co-creators for the new life of OCUUC. When I went in to continue my sorting and weeding of books and print materials, I had a new point of view. Rather than feeling it a chore, I realized that I am shaping our future by honoring the past. We are part of creating a new space with nuts and bolts, aesthetics and plumbing, writing a new chapter for our community. I am privileged to be working at this time in history when our methods for storing and transmitting information are changing so radically. Since my background is in the library and education field, I have done this before, sorting and down-scaling print materials. It requires a balance in perspective, an appreciation for the past and an excitement about the future.
I have just begun to appreciate what a canvas we have as a community, with this new opportunity as we move locations, to build on the old and to truly create something new. We have so many choices about what we will take along, what we will leave behind, and how we will build this new community life for ourselves. I invite you to come along on this exciting phase of the rockin’ journey of co-creation at OCUUC!
Blessings of Past, Present and Future~
Rayna Hamre, OCUUC Director of Religious Education
President of the Pacific Southwest District Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA)
I am so proud of OCUUC for following through on our decision to move to a new location. I feel this move is crucial for our congregation. We have so much to offer Orange County! Our expanded space and parking will provide a strong home base to assist us in getting the UU message of compassion and tolerance out to the larger community.
Here is the announcement and update:
As a denomination we struggle to keep our membership levels up and our congregations vital . Here is what Rev. Limpert, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Director of District Services, says about growth in our congregations:
A congregation that has a clear understanding of who they are and what their purpose for existing is, is more likely to grow. Congregations that have become clubby or family-like are more likely to remain the same or shrink. Also, congregations that have been able to avoid major conflict are more likely to have grown, as are those that have an outward orientation, that serve a purpose beyond the walls of their building, and those that have dynamic worship and changing worship.
He goes on to say:
If I were to summarize why Breakthrough Congregations have grown, a major factor would be that they took advantage of a transition, a change in ministry or a crisis, to reinvent themselves. They found their building too small and did something about it. They sought new leadership. They brought in people to inspire them and to help them talk about their mission.
http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/142420.shtml. Membership growth in UUA slows down By Donald E. Skinner 5.11.09
I look forward to sharing this exciting change with all of you!
Note: The 2012-13 Religious Education Registration Form is available to download at this link.
As we finish up the curricula for our children and youth for the year and prepare for summer programs, and possibly bigger changes around the corner, it is fun to take a look back and see what we have accomplished as a religious education community.
This year we registered over 50 children and youth in our Sunday program, and each child and family brought their own unique gifts and energy to OCUUC. Our special days, including our Christmas Eve pageant, brought opportunities for involvement for all ages, and perhaps we launched a few acting careers in the process! OCUUC children became educated about fair trade foods by handing out information with the UU Service Committee Reverse Trick-or-Treating packets at Halloween.
Our 7th-12th graders started the year with the Tapestry of Faith curriculum A Place of Wholeness. Both junior and senior high groups participated in age-appropriate Our Whole Lives classes. OWL is a UU life-span education that provides a safe place with trained facilitators to explore personal, UU and societal values, and access to accurate information about the human body, sexuality and relationships. OCUUC collaborated on OWL with local UU churches, and we look forward to providing more OWL classes in the next year. Our youth also held social justice activities, such as joining our local coastal clean-up day, and assisted our younger children with organizing our sock drive for Justice General Assembly.
To help us finish out the year, please bring new, cotton or cotton/poly blend adult socks for our sock drive on Sunday June 10 and 17. Collection boxes are on the patio.
Our classrooms were busy places. The youngest classroom group, the PreSchoolers-Kindergartners, were involved in their Chalice Children curriculum all year. They explored feelings, relationships and church as a community. Our 1st-6th graders ended their year exploring their heritage using the With Justice and Compassion curriculum, newly released by the UU Association. We finished out the year with a woof! – a visit from live service dogs last Sunday, to help us understand our Seventh Principle a little better.
Our volunteers brought many activities to share with us. We had movie and craft nights. A cross-committee and private donor group effort provided a brand new high definition television in the Social Hall. So look for upcoming summer fun events, movies and “G” game nights, in the RECY weekly!
One extremely important change will be to our governing RE structure beginning July 1. I am very excited to present a task force model that will more efficiently use our volunteer’s time and efforts. Volunteers will join task forces that have specific jobs mapped out with clear responsibilities. Our families are very busy, and we know that this change will be very positive for all.
Serving next year on the Task Force Lead Team will be Christine Soriano as RE Committee Chair and Mary Lundholm as Vice-Chair. Task force leaders will also serve as RE Committee Members. We will be holding open meetings for parents twice a year, to help the leaders gather information and work with suggestions. This will open us up to a much more responsive and democratic process.
It has been a true privilege to serve this community for the past year. I look forward to the exciting changes ahead for us, and opportunities for Religious Education to grow and to explore our UU values with our youngest congregants! Join us for our Calix School of Magic ( a sister school of Hogwart’s) this summer. Calix begins on June 17.
Rayna Hamre, OCUUC Director of Religious Education