November, 2016
Faith-filled Greetings!

What a time we're in, friends. Post-election, it seems our world has been upturned, scrambled, and torn. This has been a foundation-shaker to say the least.

Tiffany and I have addressed this, as well as shared ideas for engaging with our monthly theme of "Hospitality," and news about OWL for 5th & 6th grades, youth being worship associates, and more. May this provide you some hope and strength in the midst of these rough times.

Peace,

- Martha
Martha

We're in this Together

When people ask me how I'm doing these days, I often say, "I'm okay." I used to say I was "fine, thanks," or "well," but that's not so true anymore. 

This is, I suppose, my way of giving voice to the upturned surrealailty that is post-election America. This is the "new normal" which must not become normalized. It's a reminder to myself and everyone that what is, is not okay.

One of our UU Sources which particularly informs me is our own direct experience of life. So I've found myself looking and listening for threads of truth and understanding to grasp in these tangled and tossed times. 

My first ray of clarity was that on Election Day a collective voice of angry, frustrated, desperate, underheard, overlooked, dismissed Americans ROARED. And this reminded me of my moral responsibility to do a whole lot more LISTENING, especially to those whose stories are largely different than mine.

I then became more acutely aware not only of how polarized America is, but how insulated those poles are from one another such that we scarcely know how to discuss our differences! The "other side" is just too hot to touch. I knew this before the election, but now it really concerns me.

Some I spoke with expressed gratitude for the bubble of Burlington or of Vermont, and I get that. But the truth is, not only do many priveleged folks (among whom I count myself) suddenly feel vulnerable; marginalized groups are saying, "Welcome to the club. It's been here all along, but you were too comfortable to notice." 

These times call for so much that it can feel overwhelming. Until, that is, we remember we are in this together. 

Take care of yourself. Grieve fully. Remember that enduring truths run beneath and beyond the current turmoil. 

We will link arms and together we will find our way. 

See you at the UU,

Martha Dallas, Director of Religious Education
Child Dedication
Martha Dallas

On Sunday, December 18 during both worship services, we will offer a Child Dedication Ceremony. This ritual, provided twice a year, is a loving acknowledgement of each young, precious soul. Together, we promise to support them and their families through all that life is. this is a beautiful, moving, and affirming ceremony. Each child receives a certificate of dedication and a flower. Each also receives a special welcome and blessing from Rev. Mara. Often, close family and/or friends attend to witness and celebrate.

If you'd like to have your child dedicated, email Martha (martha@uusociety.org) and include their full name, parent name(s), place and date of birth, and which service you wish to attend.
Youth Ministry at its Worst and Best!
Martha Dallas

I hope you're starting to see the ways in which we are breathing life into our Youth Ministry beyond the experience of YUUth Group.

Check out this comparison of Worsts and Bests. Where do you see us in this?




Our Children and Youth are Wise
Tiffany Tillman
Tiffany Tillman, Youth Ministry Coordinator

Whenever I'm looking for inspiration, hope or wisdom I turn to my children, and yours.  Last year during the darkest days of Winter whenever I needed a little lift in my heart center, I'd pay close attention to my then two year old.  After a few moments of focusing all my heart, mind and body on her, I'd feel some light shining back in.  Maybe it was her innocence, or unabashed joy, or maybe it was (and is) her ability to be completely in the moment that reminds me what's important and whole in this world.  Recently, I've turned to her, and your children, for inspiration, wisdom and hope.  In the wake of election news, the first glimpse I had of hope was seeing a map of how the youngest generation of voters voted.  You'll be glad to know they stand on the side of love and justice-and we are in good hands!

And then I gathered with our YUUth Group and hope was confirmed once again.  One youth eagerly asked to show this video.  (Youth alternate bringing a reading, video, question, poem, song, etc. to each meeting.)  When she shared it, a conversation holding all our UU values ensued.  Be proud parents, you (and we) are teaching your children well.

At our gathering our youth also started to plan a sweet, and warm, service project for December where they bake cookies and make hot cocoa and deliver it to COTS, Spectrum and people up and down Church Street.  

In the coming weeks, look for a beautiful image, conceived of and designed by our youth, of hands holding a heart that says "You are Welcome Here!" for all to display in their windows.  

As many of us reel in pain, anger, sorrow and confusion, we can turn to our younger generations and do as they do.  They act. They inspire.  They organize.  They give hope, shed wisdom and work for truth and justice.  May we all be so inspired and find ways to turn this topsy-turvy world back on it's axis and bend the arc of the universe towards justice.

Rainbow Chalice
Youth Worship Associates!
Martha Dallas

Our Youth Ministry Advisory Team is broadening and diversifying opportunities for ministry to, by, and with First UU's youth. I am very psyched that two are joining our Worship Associates Team! 

Rev. Mara writes,  "We are thrilled that Abby Grimm and Wren House, two of our First UU high school youth, have recently joined the Worship Associate team! This is exciting for a few reasons. First and foremost, it's wonderful that Abby and Wren will get to bring their own unique gifts and presence to our worship services. Second, we are delighted to have the presence and involvement of youth in this core shared ministry of our congregation."

I'm excited for us, and for each of them, and look forward to their Sunday worship debut!
Our Whole Lives (OWL) for 5th & 6th grade!
Martha Dallas

We will, for the first time, be offering Our Whole Lives (OWL) to 5th & 6th graders this year! You are clearly excited about this too, as the class is nearly full in the wake of my outreach to registered families in this grade range.

This program, part of the UUA's series of comprehensive human sexuality curricula, fulfills a key part of our responsibility in being a safe congregation. It will kick off in December and wrap up in February.

This year's offering is part of a larger plan, which includes offering the K-1st OWL level in 2017-18. I'll keep you posted on that!

If you are interested in enrolling your child for this year's program, contact Martha.

UUSC's Guest at Your Table
Martha Dallas

Those who were at the UU on Nov. 20 heard Rev. Mara announce about the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Guest at Your Table Program

The UUSC partners with local organizations across the globe to advance human rights where they are most threatened. 

I hope you'll support the UUSC financially, get your children involved through their stories of hope, and if you can, become a member, to help support their essential, ongoing work. 

In This Issue
HOSPITALITY
is  this month's theme.



STORY
This story from the UUA's Tapestry of Faith collection, was also  in "The Path," our Theme Circles companion publication:


SERVICE
Support the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf! Children and youth can help shop and bring items for their pantry or help cook and deliver food for the Sunday meal that UU'ers help serve! Contact Martha to learn more.
 
Handy Links
Parenting Resources

Do you have a blog you love? A book to recommend? Let us know and we'll put it here in an upcoming edition!

Blogs to check out:
Rev. Evin Carvill Ziemer serves as the Congregational Life Consultant for the Central East Region.  Rev. Evin has posted some great articles and information for LGBTQ+ youth post election.

Videos to check out:
Check out this video shared by a youth at youth group.  

Articles to check out:
This is a great article for families and allies around supporting LGBTQ+ youth.  The author starts with these words to say to our LGBTQ+ youth, friends and family, "Know that there are millions who will fight for you because we know that you belong, that you are deserving of love and respect. That you matter."  Those words apply to all marginalized people.  

What do you say to your children post election?  Read this article from UU Follen Community Church in Lexington, MA for some ideas and tips.
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, Vermont 
http://www.uusociety.org
152 Pearl Street
Burlington, VT 05401