A Running Start

A Running Start

I am so thrilled to be returning as your Director of Religious Education here at OCUUC! Despite a challenging last year, Rev. Judy has left the program in terrific shape with the help of our dedicated volunteers and terrific families. Thanks to all of their support I am off to a running start, and we have kicked off our exciting new summer program, Circle of Trees.

This is a multigenerational program that nurtures deep connection with trees, nature, and all of earth's living creatures. We use trees as an entry point to understand and connect with life on earth, beginning with some lighthearted learning about trees—how they are structured, what they contribute to life on our planet—then moving into appreciation for these providers of life. We incorporate movement, story learning, meditation, and taking action. And we’re doing all of it outdoors at Estancia Park surrounded by – you guessed it – trees! We've had 21 children and youth representing 11 families attend at least one of our outdoor gatherings since we resumed meeting in person on June 6th. It is glorious to be together!

Our centering story on July 25th was "You're Saved by Something Green" by Charlene Brotman. It talks about how the carbon dioxide every living creature on Earth breathes out would suffocate us if too much of it was allowed to remain in the air. How all over the world green plants on land and in water take in the carbon dioxide and replace it with the oxygen we need. We are saved by something green. I love this tale of interdependence. After a year+ of living through a pandemic, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been reminded over and over of the many ways our world is interconnected and that, for better or for worse, our actions can affect those near us and even those we have never met. As the story reminds us, "Oxygen from plants travels on wind currents from far-away continents and oceans. It reaches you even when the trees around you have lost their leaves, or if you live in a place with no leaves at all. Right this minute, you may be breathing oxygen from a rain forest in Costa Rica, or a field of red poppies in Turkey." What a beautiful and awe-inspiring thought!

I have always been proud of the way our community comes together to support one another, and the way we have adapted and changed over the past 16 months to continue to do our best to meet everyone’s needs and maintain our spirit of welcome is truly remarkable. I so look forward to being part of how we incorporate what we’ve learned to go forward, thriving, into our future as a community.

With hope,

Karen Magoon Pearson is Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church's Director of Religious Education.