A Tapestry of Love and Learning

Holiday Happenings in RE

 

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   CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR PARENTS NIGHT OUT!!

One Church- One Book!

 ONE CHURCH-   ONE BOOK   All Church Read  2016/17

el-deafo

 

This year the REC and I are excited to announce that our One Church- One Book , all church read will be the graphic novel “El Deafo” by Cece Bell.

 

Graphic novel , you say??  Why yes, graphic novel!  Reading a graphic novel is an exciting way for folks of all ages to experience a story.  Please don’t dismiss this as too juvenile for you, because we think you will really enjoy the ageless concepts in this beautiful story.

 

The themes in this book speak to children and adults alike .  Experience  Cece’s life : a young girl who loses her hearing and grapples with experiences that we have all felt or may feel at one point or another during our own lifetime.  This is an honest book, with straight and informative talk about accessibility issues, friendship, acceptance , advocating for yourself , and how being authentic and practicing humor  can help with all of these life experiences.

 

For the next five weeks , we will free raffle a copy of ‘El Deafo” during coffee hour.  On January  29th we will hold a multigenerational discussion with Betty Jenewin during a special “One Church –One Book” Coffee Hour in the lounge.  Our popular  multigenerational service will be held on Feb 5th– highlighting thoughts and readings and themes from this lovely book.  I hope you all reserve your copy at the library and/or try to win a copy  at the church up until Dec 18th.

 

Here’s to happy reading  and realizing your own SUPERPOWERS!

 

Robin Mitzcavitch, Betty Jenewin and the REC

Deep Roots, Hammers, and Chai

Deep Roots Volunteer 2016

Deep Roots Volunteer 2016

Every year, our outstanding Youth Group, brave and selfless chaperones, and I are excited to travel someplace together to get involved with some justice issues and social action work.

For the past 6 years we have traveled to work for a couple of high need homeless shelters. We really like to spend our energies at a particular homeless shelter for families called Deep Roots, located in Earleville , Maryland.

The things that keep bringing us back to work at Deep Roots are the connections and the immersion we get with the families who reside there, the work ethic ,and the variety of work we can be involved with . Most of all, we feel like we are aligned with this organization’s mission :

Deep Roots works with children, who are disconnected through homelessness or other similar marginalization: connecting hearts. Our program will challenge children to envision a brighter future, to sustain healthy relationships and to navigate a course towards personal and social responsibility through better life experiences, with mentors, providing healthy life-models for all future relationships.

 

We work closely with an impressive man named John. John is a former resident of the shelter, and has journeyed through homelessness, to shelter dweller, to full-time shelter volunteer. John went back to school, finished a degree and now serves has a Project Manager and Case Worker at Deep Roots. John has his plate full; but always seems to find time to make us feel welcome, informed about projects, and connected with supplies to use and work plans to accomplish.

 

And we do a lot of “accomplishing” in our two days at this large shelter, set on a farm surrounded by cornfields and soybean fields, horse farms and Mennonite -owned farms. John says that our small group of (usually 16-20 people) accomplishes more work in 2 days than every other larger group can do in a solid week. Why? I know! It’s starts with our skilled and patient volunteer chaperones who sign on every year to make these trips happen.

 

Bart Hill: the ultimate teacher and trainer of skills involving woodworking, carpentry, precise work, and safety. Bart’s patience exudes all else! During our evening check-in, Lydia, one of his “apprentices” said, “My joy today was working with Bart. Bart is really good at explaining exactly how to do something and gives us the challenge and also the choice to try something new.” Bart, Lydia, and Thalia built a bus stop for the many children at Deep Roots to stand under every school day, to stay warmer and dry. Thank you also, Bart, for being a luggage packer and van diver- to and from Maryland.

 

Nir Cohen: another wonderfully skilled and kindhearted master carpenter, took many apprentices under his wing. Although Nir had the great fortune of sometimes having too many eager workers under foot ( children from the shelter wanted to join in!) ; he showed ultimate patience and grace. Nir taught Annie, Nathan, Tom, and Carrick the tricks of the trade in laying a laminate floor. Nir also drove a van part way to and all the way home from Maryland.

 

Annie and Gareth learned how to install siding on a house working with a resident and building and grounds volunteer of the Deep Roots Shelter.

 

Joe Zawielski- our warm, fabulous and talented electrician (retired but still sharing his “spark” with others!)- had the most important job of keeping all workers electrically safe and giving us much needed light around the various buildings on the property. Joe’s grandson, Kyle , a member of our Youth Group ,and the so-called official “chai- master” ( you’ll have to ask the Youth Group for an explanation on that one!) was his assistant. Joe, Kyle and Lexi eventually moved into another floor installation project at the “Count Your Blessings” Exchange Store, and made the entrance room functional and beautiful. Joe drove a van partway to and navigated to and from Maryland.

 

Lee Hill: the master of so many skills, picking up more and more with each passing year of volunteering; continues to make this experience of caring for all the people who come on our trips seem effortless. Lee is our official food planner and shopper , baby lover and holder, child wrangler, swing pusher, support giver. Lee and her crew: Lexi and Carrick and Gareth organized the Exchange Store. Lee and her crew: Maggie, Forrest and Nathan cleaned and organized the education center. Thank you Lee for also being a navigator to and from Maryland and the keeper of the medicines!

 

Me: well, I sat around eating bon-bons (wink wink), and walked many a mile to take a zillion photos. I cleaned-up boo-boos, gave pep talks and lectures, babysat a praying mantis, swept floors , did dishes, and observed and recorded the wonder of all these people, doing all these challenging jobs, with smiles on their faces and humor and love in their hearts. This year, I spent a good amount of time engaged in a project that I hope to publish in a few places. This project will spotlight shelter families and hopefully challenge what we think we know about homelessness and shelter life..I have interviewed and photographed six families this past weekend and will share the honesty and the beauty of their special message to you- it’s coming soon.

 

I would like to say thank you , thank you , thank you to our Youth Group teens. These young people gave their time, their money, and worked incredibly hard to learn new jobs and to get them completed. In addition to the jobs at hand, they had other things to contend with. On the car rides and in the evenings, I saw their homework spread out in front of them. Still, they were excited to learn new skills, and were focused on our building project goals, yet aware enough to put down their hammers, their lunches, their free time, their phones, and their notebooks– and open their arms to the two dozen children and teens living at the shelter.

 

Thank you, because you were the rock stars. Thank you because you were viewed as the cool kids and then chose to hang out with a kid who may not be so cool in their own world. You were the ones, then , that they will want to emulate : strive to be like. They will because you gave them a solid boost of confidence , you gave that coveted feeling of worth and dignity. You lifted them up with your kind hearts and your inclusive, respectful actions. They wanted to know how they could be in our Youth Group…and you all met privately to make a plan, and craft a ceremony, to make them honorary members of your group. Oh, the joy you gave them. I look back at the Deep Roots Mission Statement and I know that it was just a natural thing for you to practice their written goals of “connecting hearts and mentoring, and being healthy life models” – yet I am so very proud of every minute that you did.

 

Deep Roots Playground

Deep Roots Playground

 

The hand-painted fence that surrounds the Deep Roots Playground reads: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi

I want to thank our whole group for living those words out-loud . To label what you’ve accomplished this weekend as “ life-changing” …. is an understatement .

 

With Gratitude and Joy,

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                         Robin Mitzcavtich – Director of Religious Exploration and Education

 

 

 

We had a fabulous opening Sunday last week.  We continue with the exploration this week!!   Classes are full and fun and in forward motion!   There is still room for friends and family, neighbors and anyone who would like to check us out!  Please spread the word!

 

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I can’t wait to see you – October 2nd  10am!!

 

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     Robin Mitzcavitch Director Of Religious Exploration and Education (DREE)

                         Welcome to Religious Exploration and Education at UUCW

Robin Mitzcavitch Director of Religious Exploration and Education UUCW

Robin Mitzcavitch Director of Religious Exploration and Education UUCW

Dear Families,

This year, we begin with a tweak in our program title. It moves from the Religious Education Program to the Religious Exploration Program. As described during the RE Sunday Service in June 2016- we are striving to more accurately name what we do here at UUCW when it comes to “Sunday Schooling” the children, youth and teens.

During the RE Sunday Service in June, we had teachers and parents giving testimonials. One thing that was clear, was the fact that parents bring their children here to explore. They realize that we are not trying to “stamp ideas” on their child’s brain, but are asking children to experience, to wonder, to ask questions and to try ideas on for size.

circle rock outwitted

One teacher ,when giving her testimonial , described how our classes are always set up as a circle. We learn from each other. We learn to respect each other by seeing each other and hearing what the other is saying.

This year’s church and RE Theme is “Circle ‘Round for People, Planet and Peace.” The theme is inspired by the UU hymn, “Circle ‘Round for Freedom” where we sing:

Circle ‘round for freedom,

Circle “round for peace,

For all of us imprisoned,

Circle for release.

Circle for the planet,

Circle for each soul,

For the children of our children,

Keep the circle whole.

On Sundays, children together circle up to live, love and learn together in a place that values exploration. We meet in a circle, we join together for peace. When we discover and practice the Unitarian Universalist sources and principles, we learn how to be strong citizens of a global environment. In our circles , children can search for what is true and meaningful for them, while they understand and celebrate that they are part of the interconnected web, and everything that they do has an impact in that web.

We offer the finest , most comprehensive UUA curricula as well as Our Whole Lives Human Sexuality Programs (OWL), plus a Coming of Age program and a High School Youth Group program that assist children in growing and expanding their circles.

I look forward to an exciting year of exploration !

Come into the Circle!   REGISTER HERE  for Classes

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In Faith,

Robin

Religious Education News
RE News For Sunday May 29th

RENews
Dear Families,
Have you registered for RE 2016/17 yet?   Thank you for REGISTERING HERE!
I would like to thank  Ana Gregory, Jane McKeag , Laura Secor, and Nora Werme for bringing such rich activities, discussion and experience to all of our children during our rotation classroom  “Connection”.  The workshop has commenced, but please continue to weave outside so we can fill in all the spaces .
      
 
I want you to know that over the weekend, we had a lot of activity around our community weave- with clients from our Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry actually weaving while waiting to get their food  distribution… and the visiting Muslim Student Association admiring the concept and the work!
 
We are so proud of our Youth Group as they hosted the Muslim Student Association from Shrewsbury High school for a night of pizza and conversation.  Talk about connection!  We had a night that was informational, inspirational, and full of love and hope .  These fine teens were astounding as they shared openly  together about their faiths.
 

Youth Group and MSA
 
Finally- Hip Hip Hooray for our newest Coming of Age (COA) class who had their “Kick Off COA Evening” this past Friday!   The COA Class of 2017 worked to set up our Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, then enjoyed an evening getting to know about the COA program, talking about their wishes and intentions for going through the program beginning in  September, making special COA Tie Dye Shirts and prepping their special COA materials.
  
COA Class of 2017
 
Sunday May 29th – 10 am     Inline image 1
       “Bee Friendly” Sunday–  One Room Schoolhouse Experience-
Furthering our discussions about our connections to nature, we will be talking about  bees and how we can all try to help save the dwindling populations! Children will learn about bees and having bee -friendly gardens,   do some planting here at church and to bring home.
Children will be dismissed to fellowship hall following the children’s collection.
YOUTH GROUP-   5-7pm   Interfaith Hospitality Network  91 June Street,  IHN Cookout and hosting.
  
Robin Mitzcavitch, Director of Religious Education

RE News For May 1, 2016

RENews
Dear Families,
Announcing our Rotation Classroom: Connection!
On May 1, 15, and 22 all children will participate- by age group, in the rotation classroom .  This year’s theme is “Connection. “
We will explore together how we connect as human beings, as humans with nature and the world.  As our UU 7th Principle reminds us:  We respect the interconnected web of life in which we are all a part.
Children will be architects as we build a “web” in the front yard of the church so we can introduce a community weaving project to our whole church.  The children will be preparing materials , weaving, and learning about connection through poetry and humor.
Here is the rotation schedule.  Each Sunday, your child will be experience a new way to look at the theme of “Connection”.
May 1 May 15 May 22
Science of Humor
Fellowship Hall
Spirit Play Age Grades 1 – 5 Grades 6 & 7 Ana
Art of Weaving
Rooms 2 & 3 and front lawn
Grades 6 & 7
construct (helpers)
Spirit Play Age
elements/weavi
ng
Grades 1 – 5
elements/we
aving
Nora and Jane
Poetry and Nature
Room 1 (Spirit Play Classroom)
Grades 1 – 5 Grades 6 & 7 Spirit Play age Robin/La
ura

Please note – May 8th is a multigen service for Flower Communion and Mother’s Day

Watch as we transform our front space into a place of community connection!!  Thanks to Nora Werme, Jane Mckeag and Lee Hill who have helped to prep this exciting experience for all!
Sunday May 1st–  
         10am  –  Happy May Day and Beltane!  Today is the first Rotation Classroom! See schedule above!
                   Children will be dismissed after the story –  follow the Pied Piper to fellowship hall where we will have an opening chalice lighting and then move  to  first rotation classroom.   Children will be picked up at the Maypole .
~~Youth Group will be traveling to the First Church in Salem , MA ! Fri 4/29Sat 4/30
There will be no Youth Group in the evening of May 1st
  
Robin Mitzcavitch, Director of Religious Education

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