Chalice Lighting Rituals

This morning we gathered together surrounded by beautifully falling snow to create chalice lighting rituals.

The kids selected readings, incorporated sounds, and thought up questions for reflection. This is just one example of the beautiful rituals they created this morning. The group decided on a woodlands/animal theme:

Shake the mind jar. Watch the glitter swirl and calm down, and notice your mind calming down with it.
Ring the chime, and let the sound ring.
Make a frog sound on the bamboo rain instrument. Tilt it back and forth and listen to the sound of rain.
Light the chalice.
Read the selected words:

“Spirit of Life, help me remember
that all animals belong.
Bless the bats for eating mosquitoes.
Bless the crows and buzzards
for cleaning up the dead,
and bless even the snakes,
who keep the mice out of the rice.
Each of them is important.
And each does good in its own way.
Blessed be.”
-Eliza Blanchard

Pass around stones for a check-in. When it is your turn, share your name, pronouns, and favorite animal.

Do you have an altar space at home?
What words, items, and practices do you include in your own chalice lighting rituals?


Children’s books for chalice lighting rituals:

Breathe and Be
A Child’s Book of Blessings and Prayers
A Child’s Book of Animal Poems and Blessings
A Cup of Light

The Broom Master

This month’s theme is Awakening: The Practice of Letting in Light.

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For this week’s Chapel Sunday, we read the story “The Broom Master,” adapted by Sarah Conover in her book, Kindness: a Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents.

In this story, we are invited to explore how our grasping to the past, future, or the things we are told about ourselves can cloud our inner light and beauty.

In chapel, we talked about how we “sweep away” or inner dust and dirt so that we may make space for being awake to ourselves and our world. What does “being awake” feel like in your body? How is an awakening different than just learning something? What practices help you “sweep away the dust and dirt?”00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200204104608978_COVER

 

Community, Hope, and Resilience

This was the last Sunday of Fall semester. Thank you to all volunteers for sharing your open minds, helping hands, and loving hearts with the kids.

To close out our time with the Fall volunteers, each PreK-5th grade class made felt chalice kits to take home. These chalices serve as a reminder of everything learned and shared during Religious Education so far this year.

Each child created a blessing to accompany their chalice, and at the end of class all of the chalices were gathered up together for a communion ritual. Everyone — children and adults — took home a chalice and blessing created by someone else in their class.

“This chalice was created and blessed by a friend. May its flame bring you strength and hope.”

This pocket sized chalice, with its felt flame, can be brought and lit anywhere — a portable, tangible reminder of the community from which we can draw hope and resilience.

What reminders of community, hope, and resilience do you carry with you?


If you are interested in volunteering to teach for Spring semester (Feb-May), please email Amy Peterson Derrick at dre@wbuuc.org

Growing and Serving

At WBUUC, we say we “Grow our souls and serve the world.” This means that we are intentional about seeking out and learning from stories, people, and experiences– and that we then do our best to live these learnings each and every day.

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Praying With Our Feet by Lisa D. Weaver, Illustrated by Ingrid Hess; March On  by Christine King Farris, Illustrated by London Ladd; Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

The stories that we shared this week challenged us to think about just that– noticing injustice in the world, learning about it, and then working together for change. 

Guiding Questions for children: 

  • What is your faith calling you to do?
  • Who or what gives you the strength to do the right thing even when it’s hard?

Our teens talked about Dr. King and about how his faith guided his work. We wondered about our faith guides our work in the world.

Guiding Questions for Youth: 

  • Do you feel that Unitarian Universalism helps you to fight for what is right or work to make the world a better place? Why or why not?
  • Have there been times when your faith community has helped or encouraged you to do the right thing? 
  • Do you consider yourself to be a person of faith? Why or why not?

Growing and Serving is a lifelong charge– what stories have helped you to grow your soul? What gives you the strength to serve the world?

Helpers

This Sunday, RE kiddos made puppets of the helpers in their lives.

Helpers are the people we trust to guide us when we’re not sure what to do. Sometimes they give us advice, sometimes they help us figure out what to say, and sometimes they are just really nice to talk to. Helpers are always important, but they are especially wonderful when things aren’t going well. Helpers help us stay resilient — they help us bounce back when life gets hard.

Your kiddo can use these puppets to tell about their day. Or, if their helper isn’t able to help at the moment, they can use the puppets to act out a story imagining what their helper might do to help.

Consider making your own set of puppets so you can join your child in this practice of sharing about your day and problem solving with your helpers.

Resilience: the Practice of Trusting

Today’s story was The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. It tells of a librarian’s determination to protect Basra’s books from the destruction of war, and names the community members who help her.

In Children’s Chapel, we were reminded that things don’t always go the way we want them to. Often, we lean on the community members that we trust to help us find resilience.

To explore this idea, the kiddos split up into groups to build the tallest, sturdiest, or wackiest towers they could. They worked side by side with close friends, siblings, and people they had only just met and trusted that they would be able to create something together. Then they knocked their towers down with a satisfying crash, ready with a fresh pile of blocks to create a new tower.

Who helps you (re)build from the chaos when things fall apart?
What communities do you draw from when confronted with a disorganized mess and the charge to make something of it?

Blessed Space

Our classrooms are busy places!

On Sunday mornings, kids and volunteers fill the space with rituals and creativity. During the week, adults hold meetings and gatherings. The number of people who enjoy our classrooms is increasing. It’s a beautiful thing.

Next time you find yourself in one of the RE classrooms, make time to visit the Blessing Space decorated with hand prints and marked with an invitation:

Join our Religious Education kids in blessing this space. Place your hands in the outline here. Think of all the things this room has held — the joy of new friendships, the grief of missing loved ones passed, the connection found in singing together.
Take a few breaths, and offer some words of blessing for this space and all that it holds.

Thresholds

This Sunday, each class considered the things that make their classrooms different from other space. Paralleling last week’s Children’s Chapel ritual, each class paused outside of their room to notice the threshold.

Sometimes we are so busy with school and friends and activities that we don’t have time to notice the things around us. Taking the time to notice the world around us allows us to slow down enough to appreciate all of the good things that surround us. It is easy to forget how wonderful the world is when you don’t take the time to notice any of the wonderful things.

After imagining the beauty of crossing a threshold into a sacred space, the kiddos created blessings to physically mark the doorway of each classroom. The next time you enter one of the RE classrooms, stop to admire the decoration above you. Notice what it is to cross the threshold from hallway to classroom. And feel blessed.

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Blessing: the Practice of Noticing

Before we began Children’s Chapel this Sunday, the kids paused in the hallway to notice what it is to walk into a sacred space.

Inside the room, they meditated on what makes this place special. Sometimes all we need is a moment to notice the blessing that is a church space, a home, an office, a playground, or a classroom.

Take a few deep breaths.
Notice five things you see around you. Count and name them in your mind.
Notice four things that you can touch from where you are sitting right now. Being respectful of each others’ space reach out and touch each of those four things now.
Notice three things that you can hear. Count and name them in your mind.
Notice two things you can smell. Breathe in through your nose a few times and count and name two scents in your mind.
Notice one thing you can taste. Name it in your mind.
Take another deep breath now.

As the kids continued to think about what makes our space sacred, they added blessings to the wall — hand prints decorated with words and images.

What makes your space sacred?

Bucket Fillers

Last week, RE classes practiced a ritual that tangibly acknowledged their offerings to this church community. This week, they continue that work by offering kindness, hope, and love through the popular bucket filler idea.

“I like you cause you are cool”
“Love”
“You are a very nice person”
” 🙂 ”

What else can you offer to fill someone’s bucket today?