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2019-03-21

Religious Education News: Sun Mar 24

In addition to being St. Patrick’s Day, March the 17th was also a day of celebration, unity, and shared faith at CUUC. It was a beautiful multigenerational gathering of our five Westchester UU congregations, each one contributing their thoughts and prayers as well as music. It was the first time that we had set up a “quiet play” area in the sanctuary where the children could enjoy simple activities while experiencing the words, music, and rituals of our faith. The area had a big welcoming rug, cushions, and bright lime green milk crates filled with books, stickers, puzzles, etc. We also had on hand our usual Sunday “quiet boxes” (recently replenished thanks to Kim Force), which kids could keep with them if they chose to sit with their families instead. Some parents took advantage of sitting in the quiet area as well, to be near their children. At first the children were a little reticent about sitting in a separate area, but one by one curiosity got the best of them and before we knew it there was a bevy of activity, children working together on puzzles, laughing, and their voices at a decibel level that did not disturb the service. I felt like the Pied Piper with 15 children spilling over the area, much to my delight. This integrated RE “class,” if you will, proved to be a successful and impactful exercise for the children, promoting independence and collaborative sharing. What an affirming demonstration of honoring and rejoicing in our little UU congregants! Simultaneously, while the service was taking place, there was a breakfast for the 6th through 12th grade youth of several congregations. This forum enabled neighboring DREs and assorted advisors –- including our Cyndi Tillman, UUCHV’s Jane Podell, and CUUC’s soon-to-be DLRE Tracy Breneman –- to meet the youth, and afforded the youth an opportunity to socialize, discuss issues and ideas of relevance to them, but most importantly worship as a group of newly discovered friends. We have all walked away from this event not only gratified but re-energized as well. It is our hope that we can continue the children’s quiet area on a semi-regular basis, and strive to engage and attract our older youth in taking an active part in designing and facilitating their own youth program in tandem with the youth counselors. These options for all the children provide inclusion, dedication, and an avenue by which to grow in mind and spirit.

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, March 24
Grades K-7 start in the sanctuary to listen to the Centering Music performed by our special musical guests, jazz legends Valerie Capers and John Robinson. The kids then move to Fellowship Hall for our Environmental Sunday program, led by the CUUC Environmental Practices Group. Grades 8-12 start in their classrooms.

Upcoming Youth Cons
The Metro NY Social cons (conferences) provide a safe space for UU youth from NY, CT, and NJ to meet, bond, and explore their religious identities together through worship, workshops, and fun! (They are also a great place for adult advisors to connect and support one another!)

Metro NY Youth Conference, March 29-31, UU Congregation of Danbury, CT
Our spring Youth Con in Danbury is for kids in grades 9-12. At cons district youth meet one another, build community, explore their religious identity, create worship, practice leadership, and have fun. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Monica Schlichting (monikai@optonline.net).

Metro NY Spring Junior High Youth Conference, April 6-7, CUUC
Registration is open! This 24-hour event for youth in grades 6-8 is a fun opportunity to connect with other UU youth. Information and registration links HERE. Questions about programming? Contact Denice Tomlinson (denice1uu@yahoo.com). Questions about registration? Contact Charlie Neiss(cneiss@aol.com).

Help Feed Our Visiting Junior High Youth
Volunteers are needed to bring food items and cooked dishes on Sat Apr 6 to provide meals and snacks for the kids and adult advisors attending the Junior High Youth Con. Please contact CUUCevents@gmail.com to learn more.

2019 Variety Show Fundraiser, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
Help us get ready for the fun! PERFORMERS (adults AND kids) sign up in the RE lobby; BAKE SALE sign-ups: Contact Benetta Barnett (benettabarnett@hotmail.com); RAFFLE PRIZE DONATIONS: Contact Liz Suvanto (elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com).

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