Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means that you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.
– Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
As we navigate the next, darker, colder season, I am keenly aware of anxiety in the air regarding injustices both near and far away from southern New England. I know that we exist in multiple age groups and backgrounds and at varying spots on a continuum of privilege, comfort, hope, power, and pain. A good reason for being in a healthy faith community is to accompany and support each other along the way. Sunday worship and small groups, gatherings to act for justice, learning, and relationship building are all branches of our spiritual development paths.
Fall highlights from our community of children, youth and adults:
• Deep thanks to the more than 60 volunteer teachers, advisors, and mentors serving young people in our Sunday Spiritual Pathways small groups.
• The Coming of Age program has been launched. Parents met for orientation; mentors have been matched with eighth-graders (coordinated by Sally Caruso); and experienced, trained teachers are leading the small-group Our Whole Lives components.
• Worship in young people’s chapel is following the November theme of gratitude, interwoven with current issues, including democracy and elections.
• Eighth-graders will kick-off and facilitate our congregational participation in the UU Service Committee Guest at Your Table project on Sunday, November 18 – a good family social justice opportunity.
• The fourth and fifth grades will lead the congregation’s participation in the RI Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange.
• Sixth- and seventh-graders will sell holiday goods for the UUSC and facilitate the recycled toy sale. They have been doing an excellent job as chapel worship associates.
• The senior high Youth Group is preparing to lead a worship service in young people’s chapel. And stay tuned for their offering of Coffee Hour Plus Tech Connect, pairing hungry youth with adults who need tech help.
In early November, I attend my annual Liberal Religious Educators Association professional development conference, in Houston, TX. The theme is Changing the Narrative and includes sessions on family ministry, relationships and power, self care, and social justice as we work to dismantle white supremacy culture.
I am very grateful for your family’s connection to our congregation and encourage you to worship with your children and youth at our annual Thanksgiving celebration in the Meeting House on November 18. Community worship, as spiritual practice, is foundational to UU faith formation. Our congregational curriculum is taught when we worship together. Liz Maclay, Fred Jodry, Marcia Taylor, and I look forward to being with your family.
Take good care,
Cathy Seggel, Director of Religious Education