Religious Education News: Jan 13

Last week it was my great privilege and joy to conduct the Children’s Service for K-5. I was really looking forward to this “solo” event and I was not disappointed. In following the theme of Simplicity, we held a discussion group about what simplicity means and what gifts the students received or what they did that was “simple” yet made them happy. Getting a Lego kit was definitely a front runner and someone’s lucky dog got fed! The kids drew pictures of the things we talked about and there were some great artistic interpretations. It is so heartwarming to experience the honesty of our children, as I did when I wrote the word “Leggo” on the flip chart and was immediately taken to task for misspelling. Who knew?

We then proceeded to join in a circle sitting on the floor where I introduced the book The Rainbow Fish. This rainbow fish was beautiful, covered with multi-colored scales, but he had no friends as he was haughty and proud. (One of the children said he was conceited and thought he was better than everyone else.) Another fish begged for just one scale, which the rainbow fish finally agreed to give, and then felt very strange. Before he knew it he had given away all his prized scales yet was happy for the first time. Now he was invited to join the other fish and play. After the story another child mentioned that his family gathered items for gifts to be given to people who had nothing at the holiday.

The message of simplicity was articulately expressed by a number of children. Not too wordy, not too superfluous, just clear and focused and right on mark. They had a clear understanding of the gratification of having less yet having so much when one thinks of others and shares. The lesson was simple yet spilled over with the values of family and being a UU. I could not help but think of the song by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, “Teach Your Children Well,” whose lyrics echo the line from the Shema, the important Jewish Prayer, “And you shall teach [these words] diligently to your children…”

You, who are on the road,
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.
Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.”

The "road" is life's journey that we must all go through, during which we seek the truth of our existence, which may never be found. That doesn't matter despite our struggles. What does matter is the joy of living and loving and letting both parent and child be who they are without trying to fix what is not broken. The song lyrics are a road map for accepting people as they are and simply having gratitude for the experience of being. Do not let the trappings of materialism and power suffocate our basic goodness and compassion. This congregation has taught our children well…

Michele Rinaldi
Religious Education Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, Jan 13
Grades K-5 start in Fellowship Hall for Children's Worship
Grades 6-12 start in classrooms

Religious Education Special Friends Sign Up
We invite you to join us for this pen pal program that anonymously matches children and adults in the congregation so they get to know each other better. After exchanging six letters over nine weeks, the pen pals get to meet at the Canvass Community Meal on Sun Mar 31. The letter exchanges begin on Sun Jan 27. Please email RE@cucwp.org to sign up.

Faith Development Friday, Fri Jan 11
Our evening of learning, spiritual growth, and community. 6:15pm Pizza & Salad Community Dinner; 7:00pm Programs; 8:30pm Coffee. Programs include Adult RE and Family Journey Group. Adults may also just come for a slice and unstructured social time together. All are welcome to stay after the programs to share coffee and a chat. RSVP to CUUCevents@gmail.com by 12:00 noon on Fri Jan 11.

In the Community - Family Friendly MLK Events

Interfaith Community Concert in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Sun Jan 13, 4:00pm, Congregation Kol Ami, 252 Soundview Avenue, White Plains
This annual concert combines singers and musicians from many faiths and communities, and includes the “Adhan” Muslim call to prayer, the Calvary Baptist Church Inspirational Choir, The LOFT LGBT Community Center’s Pride Chorus, and the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Temple Ceremonial Taiko Drums & Choir. Sponsored by The Interfaith Connection and Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence. Free event. Refreshments. Info: connect@mlkwestchester.org, 914-949-6555.

“The Dream Is Still Alive: Remembering Dr. King with Songs for Peace, Justice, and Equality,” Jim Scott in Concert, Fri Jan 18, 7:30pm, UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester, 236 S Bedford Rd, Mt Kisco
Jim Scott, composer of “Gather the Spirit” and other UU hymns, will lead a participatory songfest of music celebrating the ideals that Dr. Martin Luther King championed. More about Jim at jimscottmusic.com. Sliding Scale Admission $12-20. Purchase tickets at jimscottatuufnw.brownpapertickets.com.

Bookfair to Benefit the MLK Freedom Library, Mon Jan 21, 11:00am – 4:00pm, Barnes & Noble, 230 Main Street, City Center, White Plains OR online
Come to Barnes & Noble for a day of activities - OR - order items online from Jan 19 to Jan 24 at barnesandnoble.com/bookfairs and enter ID #12464053 at checkout. Purchases benefit the MLK Freedom Library. Flyer at mlkwestchester.org/events-1.

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