Parties and Passages and Religious Exploration for All

by Robin Mitzcavitch, Director of Religious Exploration

The Religious Exploration Team and I do a planning retreat every year, over 6 months before the new program year begins.  We all bring our unique vision, interests, humor, and talents. We combine them with my training and experiences with the UUA and with fellow religious professionals…. and we throw all of these “supplies” on the “crafting” table.  At first it looks like a mess, and it’s a little overwhelming, but eventually we come up with a design, full of rhyme and rhythm. The only unknown is who will show up to our party when the RE year begins. I like to think of our weekly gatherings as parties, I guess. 

I spend the gap in between planning and the opening day to try to register families and recruit volunteers, to write curricula, to plan outside events and activities, outreach opportunities, and fundraisers. Sounds like a lot, and well, yes it is. Thankfully, I have a wonderful team to assist and parents and congregants who are always willing to step up and volunteer.  

And then, suddenly, the RE program pops open and the time moves fast. Every weekend is surely like hosting a party. Sometimes the party is well-attended, and sometimes not…but the party goes on. The parties are magical for me, because no matter if the Sunday goes as planned or not quite so, it’s filled with moments of wonder and meaning.  It is what it needs to be. The most important work we do here is to build a loving community.  And the lessons and activities we explore together only strengthen the good in us and support our wonder and our challenges because we know that we belong. And that, after all these years, is the thread that runs through UUCW and its existence: belonging.  Thank you for allowing us to be co-journeyers with you.

One of the favorite parts of my job is when I watch young people growing in community with each other.  I love seeing the new groups form, the connections made, the cooperation and acceptance build.  What a gift.  Time passes, and I watch these young people move into OWL, Lessons of Loss, Coming of Age classes, Teen OWL classes, Youth Group, and then out into the world.  I see them (admittedly, mostly on social media) as they bring their UU values out there with them. 

Time passes, we will grow, and we may grieve, but we always have the ability to give and receive love in all of its forms like knowledge, discovery, friendships, and diverse acceptance.  That is the bridge which connects us forever- love. May we appreciate and honor the work done here in this community and in our programs. And in quoting Rumi: “Love is the bridge between you and everything.”

Please watch your emails for my annual “asks” of  you to fill our co-operative RE teaching program. Many of you have filled out a survey letting me know how you can help.  I have factored those into putting together our teacher scheduling.  Next year we need your help to teach and assist the groups as follows:

0-pre-k-  The Childcare Space. Gladys Maldonado will be the presiding staff member and we are looking for a substitute leader if Gladys has to be out and also volunteer helpers year -round.

K-4th Grade- Explorers. Lead teachers and assistants needed.

5th and 6th Grade- Builders. Lead teachers and assistants needed.

7 and 8th Grade- Our COA Programassistant to Robin needed.

9-12th Grade- Youth Group Youth Group Advisory Leaders needed.

Thank you for being there as supportive families and congregants.  We honor your time and your love and commitment to all of the children and youth in our programs.

Summer Connections

Please remember, even though RE does not officially meet over the summer, there can be opportunities for pick-up gatherings of children and families.  Reina Quidon has offered to organize childrens’  hang-out groups during summer services or directly after. Please contact me if you’re interested, and I’ll put you in touch. If you have other ideas to get kids together over the summer for a trip to an amusement park, or a game, or a hang-out at a park…please contact me and I‘m happy to coordinate the communication.

Maya Desai has a gathering opportunity:  Pickup Soccer and Playground Time

Organized by members of the Refugee Ministry Team, there is a pickup soccer game every Sunday evening from 6:30-sundown at Holmes Field.  We meet at the intersection of Plantation and March Streets. This is a low pressure, no score kept, all ages (10-50+), mostly guys game, but another scrimmage could get started with girls/women and/or the littler kids.  In the park is also a great playground for those less keen on soccer.  It’s a great way to spend a summer Sunday evening.  Ask Maya (maya dot c dot desai at gmail dot com) with questions, but it’s so informal, you should just show up!!  (No cleats or shin guards required. Bring your own water although we usually bring some as well.) 

Adult RE

We are poised to offer the following  Adult programs if there is interest.  Please let Robin know if you want more info!

Adult Coming of Age – A Continuing Journey

This experience will be offered bi-weekly on Wednesday evenings 6-8pm  October -March. The model is a “covenant group” of people committed to journeying through the entire program together.  There will be a limited number of slots available, and is not conducive to drop-in participation.

 Kindred Conversations

Using the Soul Matters small group ministry themes and discussion topics, we hope to have a space to gather biweekly on Wednesday mornings from 10:30-noon, opposite our Lunch with the Minister dates. This is open to all and can be attended all year as a drop-in activity.

In the spirit of Adult Connections Groups- we are looking for folks who may be interested in taking part in and /or facilitating the following offerings to add to our mix.:

  • A Writing Group Support and Discovery Group- Sharing stories, experiences, writing techniques, writing prompts, contests, joys and challenges. For anyone who likes to write in any genre  and level.  Possibilities of a monthly evening gathering or bi-weekly? You can create it!
  • The Great Outdoors Group-can you lead an outdoor experience? Folks can sign on to lead a monthly experience where all are invited to participate.

Excited for Our Time Together,