Religious Education Ministry Notes

Religious Education Ministry Notes

The regular column from Rev. Judy Tomlinson, Director of Religious Education. Rev. Judy may be reached by email at dre@ocuuc.org.

Commitment

To what and to whom are you committed? This month we focus our attention on Commitment. I suppose if we put this in children’s language we would ask: What promises do you make? For me commitment is firmly linked with responsibility. I seem to have had a heavy dose of that in my life from an early age. Mostly, it has served me well, though stress is often responsibility’s close companion. Soul Matters, a UU religious professionals consortium, is the source…
People holding up peace signs with their fingers

Random Kindness

Beloved Community is a special kind of community. Here we honor Black, Indigenous, people of color. We love each other into healing and we stay in relationship, even when things get tough or messy. Not to mention a place where we use our creativity, offer our unique gifts, have fun and grow. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave depth and meaning to the phrase beloved community. For him it was about dignity and respect for every person, equality and justice…

Put Imagination to Work

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein Happy New Year! Imagination is our Soul Matters theme for January. Here we are with 365 brand new days. We get to envision all that a new year could hold. We can feel in our bodies all the hope and love we can put…

Stillness

Stillness. How perfect for the month of December…one of the busiest months of the year! But think of it. Feel the peace and serenity that comes from just breathing in the word before the panic of all that must be done to have a perfect holiday season rises from deep within. Then breathe the word stillness in again until the anxiety passes. Reflect on who told you what the perfect holiday is supposed to look like. How come they get…

What Helps You Heal?

Our church-wide theme this month is Healing. I can think of no better area of life to focus on post-election in our country, in the midst of a pandemic, and continuously for our Earth. Not to mention the personal work of healing from trauma, abuse or everyday bumps and bruises. Contemplating healing in my own life, various spiritual practices like meditation and dream work have helped. I just learned with Youth Group a couple of Sundays ago that, not only…

A People of Deep Listening

“There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word. Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into your life. Then without effort, you are impelled to truth and perfect contentment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson October is Deep Listening month. Let’s consider becoming, “A people of Deep Listening.” The Emerson quote is one of my favorites. Emerson was a Unitarian and leader of the Transcendentalist movement,…

Soul Matters: Renewal

Many thanks to all our summer teachers who brought Chalice Camp: Identity, Race and Justice to our PreK-Middle schoolers. We were introduced to some difficult history, some complex concepts like racism, prejudice, discrimination and resistance. We learned that we can talk about these topics at our church and with our families. The good news is that we will have the opportunity, with our Soul Matters lessons, to reinforce what we’ve learned in the coming program year. As we transition to…

RE Summer Program

Chalice Camp: Identity, Race and Justice is going great! Thank you, Maria Goode, for creating our camp lessons with an emphasis on fun and learning. Last week we made our own tee shirts, played 20 Questions, distributed prizes and expressed our own identity. We learned why that is important for ourselves and that we need to create space where others, who are different from we are, can do the same. Our inherent worth and dignity. Over the course of the…

Chalice Camp: Identity and Justice

I’m excited to share news of our 2020 RE Summer Program, Chalice Camp: Identity and Justice. So relevant for our time, we will talk about integrity and courage. Our Sunday morning camp will cover self-identity, difference, the historical and recent background of racism and resistance movements that fought and continue to work to dismantle oppression. What would camp be without arts and crafts? Decorate your own tee shirt, assemble your own identity mosaic, make your own Femo beads and embellish…

Compassion

Compassion is our theme this month. I learned the distinction between empathy and compassion from reading our Soul Matters materials. “Compassion (to suffer with) is an innate part of human response to suffering, which is comprised of a three-part experience of noticing another’s pain, feeling with another (empathy), and responding in some way.” So, compassion is feeling with and then acting on alleviating suffering. It’s the action part that makes compassion different. When I read that it made me even…

Exploring Thresholds

This month we will explore Thresholds in all our Religious Education classes. PreK-7th will focus on Thresholds as the boundaries between our place of shelter and the outside in session one. What do we welcome in? What are thresholds good at keeping out? Take a look at the first hymn in our gray hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition— “May Nothing Evil Cross this Door”—this hymn talks about shelter from the storm, making our space sacred, peaceful and joyful. In session…

We are Liberated Together

Our monthly theme for April is Liberation. Wow, has that taken on a whole new meaning for us in these days of “shelter in place?” Our worlds have shrunk to the size of essential services and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I don’t know about you, but I suspect we may have some feelings in common. I’m cycling through feeling fine, to anger at the way our Federal government is handling this crisis, to fear about…