From Cathy

March 27

At Home Chalice Challenge: Kids from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers invite you to participate in the At Home Chalice Challenge! During a time of social distancing, we cannot gather in our churches and fellowship halls to light our chalices, but that doesn’t mean we can’t carry the flame within our hearts at home. Take some pics of the chalices you create at home and post them on social media using #chalicechallenge.  Watch this video for fun ideas.

Young People Buddies: During a Zoom parent gathering, one of our volunteer teachers suggested that their 10-year-old offered to be a check-in buddy for a 5-year-old who needs a pal. I love this idea, as some children just want to chat when parents and siblings are busy. Please contact me dre@firstunitarianprov.org if your child/youth would like to be a buddy or if your child/youth needs one. Once I know who is interested, I will cook up a system.

Retired Teachers Supporting Parents: People are helping their own children with distance learning, and some are struggling. Rev. Liz mentioned the idea that we may have retired teachers in the congregation who might help. Are you a willing retired teacher or a parent who would like support in learning to manage virtual school? If so, please contact me dre@firstunitarianprov.org.

Trauma Informed Practices: “When people are facing stress and difficult life circumstances, it can particularly affect three areas: a sense of safety, feelings of connectedness and feelings of hope. In each of these areas, parents and educators can make an impact.” Click here for more information.


March 19

Dear Ones,

 

You are in my heart and on my mind each day as we move together through this huge health crisis and its dominoeffects. Each of us is dealing with challenges ranging from actual illness to financial crisis, to anxiety, stress and sadness. I am grateful for you, our congregational community, and many other people in my life who are reaching out to care for one another. Of course, our staff team along with amazing communications and tech volunteers are working together to continue to provide worshipful offerings and virtual connections in many aspects of congregational life.

I am aware that children youth, parents, and all adults may feel overwhelmed as we navigate this unbelievable change in daily living. I am encouraging myself, along with you, to breathe and try to find balance in sorting through online opportunities while making sure we have frequent outdoor time, exercise, nutrition, and rest.

For now, I am sharing a few links, a photo collage of last Friday evening’s virtual at-home supper and program and a brief description of what I will share in the next few days.

I am in the process of setting up and hosting Zoom check-in opportunities for many small groups, including youth and parents. For example, our UU campus group met virtually on Sunday evening for comfort and even some laughs. Senior high youth and coming of agers are next.

I will continue to curate and post here spiritual care and other fun resources for families, children, and youth, including online tours, music, storytelling, and more. My colleague network is amazingly organized and supportive in this work.

Mostly, please feel our presence, helping to hold you!

Take good care & love,

Cathy

 

Here are a few links for experiences in these times at home:

Stories read by famous peeps:

https://www.storylineonline.net

Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus”:

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus

Resources to talk to children and teens about the coronavirus:

https://parenting.nytimes.com/childre…/coronavirus-kids-talk

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/…/ways-to-reduce-anxiety

https://www.healthline.com/…/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-the-…

https://www.nytimes.com/…/coronavirus-teenagers-anxiety.html

 Tour National Parks from Home:

https://crafty.diply.com/121060/you-can-virtually-tour-a-whole-bunch-of-national-parks-from-your?fbclid=IwAR1szAYNWJKx173cX_5HtWgBV_8CxBKXfI3ldGZyqlSKQxjayWNQ7sQRrhU

Broadway Stars streaming live performances:

https://secretnyc.co/broadway-stars-nightly-performances/?fbclid=IwAR1HSZYBJM_L6V0sExX0-m6E5iWyD8AuvcFDXUGLKH7QT9NUKgBeI5yUWEY


March 14:

My first message through this link is a copy of the RETimes communication, a weekly message sent to our volunteer teachers, advisors and other leaders. Currently, I am at work launching online community connections, informing groups and curating resources, I look forward to continuing to share here.

Dear Ones,

I have waited, anxiously, to send this message until the official church announcement was public, also posted on the church website and on FB page. Please know that I am holding you in my heart as we navigate this health care issue.

We are transitioning more comprehensively to virtual community connections. Stay tuned, as I will be setting up on-line circles for youth, sharing resources for spiritual care, fun for families and more.

I have had a Zoom (online video conferencing) account for RE for several years and will now be putting it to good use. All general content that I share with teachers will also be posted through the church website www.firstunitarianprov.org Additionally, I will separately share ways to gather in small groups online with teachers, advisors and leaders.

I remain devoted to my work in providing UU faith development for children, youth and adults. I will also be practicing self-care. Please contact me for individual questions and needs.

Take good care & Love,

Cathy

 

Pandemic — Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.