Monday, November 26, 2007

Never too Young, Never too Old

My congregation has a wonderful program that pairs sixth graders with an adult mentor. It is a year long program where we meet during Sunday classes and jointly discuss various spiritual topics. Twice during the year we work on a service project. It is a great intergenerational experience that helps the youth connect to more people in the congregation and adults to better understand the youth. I have been fortunate enough to participate in this program for the last three years. Most adults who nervously agree to do this, end the year learning a lot more about their own beliefs and are thoroughly impressed by how much eleven year olds have thought about their own spirituality.

This past Sunday we did an exercise where we stood in the middle of the room and then were asked a question. If you strongly agreed, you moved to the right. Strongly disagree, move to the left. What a visual way to see the vast differences of beliefs in the room. At no point, was everyone in one area. I really felt our UU values in practice. There is no right answer to any of the questions asked - only your beliefs, reached through your own thoughts/study. It is very hard to find many religions where there could be such a diversity of beliefs, yet we still feel connected as a community. After each question and realignment we would have a discussion. It was fascinating to see how people absorbed each others reasoning and maybe readjusted/rethought our beliefs as we reflected on what others said. I found it very important for the youth to realize that even as adults, we are open to experiences and how they may shape our spiritual lives. I hope you never stop looking for your path.

(On a personal note - I am very excited that I will be starting to work part-time in my youngest's Montessori classroom. I don't know how it will work, but I really believe in Montessori education and am excited for the opportunity.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bread Sunday

One of my favorite tradition's at our church is Bread Sunday. It is also one of the most popular! I am not sure if this is a tradition in most UU congregations, but ours has has been participating in it for a number of years.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we invite families to bring bread to the service to share with the rest of the congregation. (It is completely voluntary.) Before the bread is divided up, we each give a little talk on the bread we brought and why it is special to us. This year I brought Swedish Limpe bread. It is one of my absolute favorites and I have a great recipe for it! My family has a very strong German surname, but in fact, one of my Grandpa's was Swedish. I never met him, he died when my mom was sixteen. He was also thirty years older then my grandma. He owned a little land and my grandma was a migrant worker during the depression. They fell in love and had six kids. I once asked my Grandma about him and you could tell thirty years after his death she is still in love with him. She told me she was still mad at him for dying on her! I find that type of love really amazing. I have never heard anything but love and admiration for him. I wish I could have met him. So for him I made the Limpe.

I loved hearing all the family stories about the bread they chose to bring. From the silly to the sentimental. I think as a congregation, it brings us closer as we learn a little bit more about each other and where we come from. I had some great conversation's after the service and the kids couldn't stop talking about all the great "snacks". If your congregation doesn't participate in this, you might think about this next year.

During this service, we also take up a collection for our partner church in Transylvania. That area is really struggling with droughts and just keeping the church going. It was another look on how lucky/fortunate we are and gave us an opportunity to help support fellow UUs. It was a wonderful inter-generational and international service.

I hope you all have a safe, happy, loving Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thank You....

Veterans! I may have mixed feelings about the military, but I do appreciate all your sacrifices. May we all hope and work for peace and never forget the lesson's of the past.