Religious exploration: September

Lord, it is time. The summer was very big. Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose. Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days, press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Some long, hot summers seem to drag on forever, but this year summer has flown by! Through Labor Day, we will continue to have a relaxed program for K-5th grade kids comprised of stories, art, and time on the playground. Our new church year will begin September 8th with our traditional all ages water communion service. Religious exploration classes begin the following Sunday, September 15th. We have some very exciting changes in our programming and new volunteers I am looking forward to working with this year! Because we found that workshop rotation wasn’t a good fit for our youngest children last year, our preschool and kindergarten class will move to Spirit Play this fall. To prepare our guides for this exciting new approach, UUC will be hosting an all day training with Dr. Nita Penfold on October 5th. The training will be open to the entire region, but limited to a total of 15 participants, ensuring a quality training experience. The guides for Spirit Play will be Beth Misner, Beth Garrettson, and Lorraine Myer.

We still have a number of families who need to get their religious exploration registration forms in. Registering your child helps us to plan more effectively, make sure we are aware of medical issues or special needs, provides the church with necessary releases, and gives us the most current emergency contact information. In order to adhere to our church Safe Congregations Policy, new or visiting families will be allowed to participate twice before being required to register. Forms can be found in the narthex, just before you enter the sanctuary, in the library, or on the desk in the hall near the offices.

Based on projections from last year’s attendance sheets, our elementary classes were divided a bit differently this year for Workshop Rotation than last. First and second grade will meet together as a class, third grade is a single class, and fourth grade is a class. These classes will continue with a similar format as last spring, with one of the three guides assigned to each class starting off the session with the ritual chalice lighting, conducting a check-in, and taking attendance before turning over the class to a visiting teacher, who will teach a workshop related to the month’s theme. Outstanding UUs will be a prominent thread running through our workshops this year, and Unitarian Universalism and the 7 principles are loosely our themes. Guides for the first/second grade class are Sherry Tripodi, Beth Hoffmann, and Wendy Schmitzer-Torbert. Kirsten Reynolds, Amy Bauer, and Kim Harden will be the guides for third grade and Gale Charlotte, Susannah Hall-Justice, and Michelle Murphy are the guides in the forth grade class.

The middle school class of fifth-eighth graders will use The Questing Year to lead them through four quests tied to the themes of self, church, mystery, and social action. Teachers for the middle school class are Andrea Burniske, Frank Arnold, and Amy French. Approximately once per month, the middle school will be invited to join the younger kids in Spirit Circle (formerly called Children’s Chapel) for a larger group worship experience and special enrichment project.
The high school youth group advisors are Kat Braz, Mark Van Meeter, Josh Prokopy, Jason Rubsam, Julie Rubsam, and Tim Martinez. Under guidance of their advisors, youth themselves direct discussion and activities. There will be opportunities throughout the year for youth to travel to district youth conferences (affectionately known as “Cons.”), some “just for fun” outings, and possibly a major social justice project or trip. The first event of the year will be RE Kick-off after church on Sunday, September 8th, when the gang goes to see youth group member Ariel Laukins in the civic theatre production of “Still Kicking.” October 11th-13th, UUC will host the UUA MidAmerica region’s Youth Chaplaincy training.

A mandatory training is scheduled for all religious exploration guides and advisors for September 8th in rooms 101-03 at 12:15. There will be a short time at the end for workshop rotation guides to coordinate and plan a schedule. Parents- look for a schedule of our workshops, teachers, and the guides who will be present will be posted monthly on our church website under the religious exploration tab and also in the newsletter.

It’s going to be a great year!
See you in church!

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