Children and Youth RE
The daylight hours are getting shorter. It makes sense that liturgical calendars are full of holy days and festivals of light. In days when there is less sunlight and more dark, light has been and can be a powerful symbol. Lights piercing the darkness are everywhere. The religious symbolism of light has seeped into the culture, believers and non-believers alike put up lights around their houses and in their windows. Many religious observances at this time of year have light as a central element. In the month of December the Children and Youth Religious Education program will be exploring many of the seasonal celebrations.
We start with Hanukkah. Beginning on the evening of November 27 and ending on the evening of December 5, Hanukkah is as early as it can be this year. Hanukkah is an eight-night festival, mostly celebrated in the home. Lighting the menorah and eating latkes are the things that most people know about Hanukkah. But what does Hanukkah celebrate and why would Unitarian Universalists be interested in it? Our Sources reference our Jewish and Christian heritage, and learning about Hanukkah honors where we came from and the future we can create on the foundations of that heritage. Hanukkah includes themes of gratitude and religious freedom that speak to present-day Unitarian Universalists. With song and story and, yes latkes too, we’ll explore what Hanukkah can mean to Unitarian Universalists.
PS: Check out this website for a Unitarian Universalist interpretation of the holiday especially suited for children. This image is part of a blog post on Parents Beyond Belief.
Intention : Self-Help
In the course of our physical lives we endure stress and tension. Eventually without release these places can become chronic and create pain. In these sessions we will explore your ability to alleviate stress before it becomes chronic and also to reduce, if not eliminate existing chronic conditions. Through some simple techniques from the tradition of Jin Shin Jyutsu you can be a responsive participant in your own health. There is no prior experience needed, just an open mind and a desire to be pain free.
We meet on the 4th Thursday of the month from 7-9 pm. contact denis picard HERE
For more info about Jin Shin Jyutsu: www.jsjinc.org
every Monday evening 7:30-8:30 pm
The sonic bouquet that is offered by the symphonic gong is a unique event. Many people feel a cleansing of the emotional body and a deep sense of peace. We do not adhere to a particular style, posture, or approach. You may sit, stand, lie down, or bring a lawn chair. Our intention is that for one hour you relax, and receive the nurturance and love that is your birthright.
The experience is of intermittent periods of sound [the gong] and silence. These periods can be anywhere from 10-20 min. each, insuring a minimum of 30 min. of silence at each session. We start promptly at 7:30 pm, but you may enter late with respect and find a comfortable space.
There is no charge, but donations for the space are accepted. We provide this opportunity so that the rhythm of intentional group silence will become a touchstone in the grounding of your life.
Integral Life Practice Group
These individuals meet with the intention of cultivating divine presence and spiritual clarity. Our practice is active contemplation of perception and its effect on the personal, social, and cultural experience. Deep listening and the challenge of pushing one’s evolutionary edge in consciously exploring the inter-subjective field of the group beyond the individual ego are the collaborative practices that aid in the transformation of relationship. If this appeals to you, we meet every other Sunday at 8 am. For further info speak with Joe Kiely, Liz Hall, denis picard, or e-mail denis HERE
On Sunday, December 15, we’ll focus in our worship service on Small Group Ministry, what it is, and what it can mean for this congregation, through a message on “Intimacy and Ultimacy.” For some, it will be a re-launching, but it will unfold in a new and compelling form. A few of you are now being invited to serve as co-facilitators for this ministry that transforms individuals and congregations. What is it all about?
Small Group Ministry (SGM) is the intentional gathering of groups of 8-10 individuals led by trained facilitators with the purpose of fostering friendship and caring, enhancing spiritual growth, strengthening the fabric of faith community, and providing avenues for service. In the more intimate settings of participant homes we can share, listen and deepen our spiritual understanding and the paths we are on. For newcomers and folks interested in this church, it is a ready way to connect with this congregation in the trust that builds through small groups.
What do these groups do?
Share, support ,and provide an opportunity for each participant to share their beliefs, spirituality, and life perspectives with other adults. It is not a therapy session, but the trust that builds fosters mutual support during life’s tougher passages. Grounded in a behavioral covenant that is adapted to the needs of each group, participants plan and implement two service projects a year, one addressing the needs of this congregation, another addressing the needs of the larger community. These are short-term initiatives, usually lasting not more than a morning or a day. For the congregation this can mean leading a worship service in the absence of the minister or providing special support for an event of fellowship and/or fundraising. For the community it can mean assisting with a community garden or collecting and dropping off food donations. Each group is encouraged to be creative in developing the giveback activity.
How does a typical SGM session go?
Eight to ten individuals led by their co-facilitator meet at a participant’s home twice monthly for a period of two hours. Each gathering has the same structure but offers a unique experience. The format includes a chalice lighting, opening words, check-in and sharing, introduction of the topic, sharing without feedback, sharing in dialogue, reflection, closing words, and introduction of the topic for the next session. For all participants, there is no preparation and no homework. SGM guidelines discourage providing food or beverages (except for water) at the gatherings. Groups generally begin in October and meet through early June. In this launch year, groups begin to meet in January and continue through early June, with an opportunity in late spring to gather with other groups over a shared meal, voice reflections and ideas, and sign up for the group of their choice for the following year.
By Small Group Ministry Sunday on December 15 we hope to have all co-facilitators on board and will provide a training session so that we can begin group gatherings in the New Year! Following the worship service you’ll have the opportunity to sample an abbreviated (one-hour) session led by the Coordinating Team. You’ll meet the new SGM facilitators and learn about the prospective group meeting times, with the opportunity to sign up for this amazing way to begin the New Year!
To learn more, contact any of the members of the Coordinating Team HERE
Small Group Ministry will launch Sunday, December 15!