Sunday, September 28, 2008

Youth Group Saves the World!

Our new combined youth group this year is working with a role playing game created and led by Andre Mendes. As members of the First Unitarian Temporal Unification and Restoration Explorers, each week the youth receive a "time capsule" with a situation from the future and use the skills of their created characters to solve the ethical dilemma of the situation. The youth were very tolerant of my interruptions today to take pictures of the festivities!

Next Sunday after church (Oct. 5) we are kicking off a new endeavor: the Youth Adult Committee of the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore.  All youth and select adults are welcome to participate in this group.  Using as our guide, the continental YRUU's Six Components of a Balanced Youth Program, this group will provide leadership in guiding the youth group's programming, including special activities of their choosing.  As we go forward, it will be crucial to have the input of as many of the youth as possible.  Your support and encouragement of your youth's participation is much appreciated!  The YAC will meet after church the first Sunday of each month.  If you are willing to help provide lunch for one our meetings, please contact Becky.

Here's to an excellent, fun and inspiring revitalized youth group!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunday Schedule

We have an exciting day ahead of us on Sunday.  Here's a look at our schedule:

11:00 — Worship begins!  Joining us as guest minister this morning will be Rev. Kate Braestrup, author of the incredible memoir, Here if You Need Me. 
11:15 — Children and Youth are sung to their Religious Education classes
12:15 — Religious Education classes end a bit early today to give us time for...
12:20 — Pizza Lunch!  Folks who will be joining us for the cottage meeting will enjoy a pizza lunch in advance of the meeting.
12:45 — Ministerial Search Cottage Meeting in the Parish Hall.  RE parents and guardians will give input to the ministerial search process at this meeting led by the Search Committee.  Childcare will be provided in the downstairs classroom.

If you plan to be with us at the cottage meeting, please RSVP to Becky so that we can be sure to have enough food and room for all.  

See you Sunday!

Easy-Peasy Registration

Thank you to all the families who have registered your children and youth!  If you haven't already, please register your kids as soon as you're able.  Registration helps us keep track of the needs of our families and helps us keep you in the loop about all the exciting things that are happening at First Unitarian.  There are two easy ways to register:

1. Register online!  To fill out the quick and easy online form, simply click here.  It's easy, it's quick, it's eco-friendly!

2. Register on paper!  Paper registration forms are available via download by clicking here, or simply pick one up at church during coffee hour.

Thanks for your participation!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ministerial Search Cottage Meeting, Sept. 28

Let your opinion be heard!  

Sunday, Sept. 28, after church (12:45 to 2:15 pm) the Ministerial Search Committee will be holding a cottage meeting focused on RE families.  Come share your thoughts on the state of the congregation today, where you'd like us to go in the coming years, and what type of minster(s) you would like to see us call as we enter the next phase of our historic ministry in the city of Baltimore. Listen to your fellow and sister congregants as they express their own desires and concerns for the future of First Unitarian Church, and gain a deeper understanding of what links and sustains us.  Please email the search committee ( or Becky ( to let us know to expect you and whether or not you'll be needing child care.  If you have some input you'd like to share but cannot attend this cottage meeting, you can feel free to attend a later meeting or to contact the search committee directly via the email address above or mail addressed to the church, att: Search Committee. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Care and Feeding of Small UUs

I'm not a parent, but working with families over the years, I pick things up here and there. One thing I've heard again and again, all across the country, is the familiar story of the Picky Eater. While there are resources aplenty for techniques to get your kids to eat (and to eat right!) most are more easily said than done.  At the end of the day, the situation often remains that there's too little time or money or energy to follow the experts' solutions.  Yet our relationship with food and our children's current and developing relationship with food contain emotional, physical and spiritual issues that impact our lives and the world around us every day.  How does one let one's Unitarian Universalist values guide them in this dilemma?

One More Step

Does your child refuse to eat sauce on their pasta?  Does he shun any green food?  Does she resist trying anything new?  When there’s an objective we wish to accomplish, we don’t only want to accomplish it, we often want to accomplish it fast and easily.   Whether it’s marriage equality, world peace, or for our children to eat something they don’t want to eat, it’s going to take perseverance.  Even though it seems as if our children resist new things, that’s partly because in their daily lives, they encounter new things all the time.  Though it may seem as if your request for them to try just one new thing is a reasonable one, by the time dinner rolls around, your child has probably encountered a dozen or more new things that day.  Dr. Susan Roberts, co-author of “Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health,” offers the “Rule of 15,” arguing that it may take up to 15 times of a food being offered before your child tries it.   Though it may feel excessive, you needn’t give up at 12 tries, when 15 might do it.

Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield

Not getting what we want is frustrating, whether we’re 8, 38, 88 or anywhere in between.  We all know that feeling of being refused (again!) and deciding to resort to something that we wouldn’t when we were less frustrated.  But every war has a loser and if there’s a food war in your family, sometimes that loser is going to be you.  Though it may feel like a win to offer a reward to eating a particular food, it may be a case of losing the war for winning the battle.  Dr. Leann Birch, a psychologist at Penn State, authored a study that indicated that children are less likely in the long run to eat foods they have been coerced to eat through rewards or punishments.  Though remaining neutral won’t necessarily enable you to get what you want, it will lead to less losing, for both you and your child.

Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire

What is your relationship with food?  As with most of the influences your child will encounter throughout their young lives, yours is the most significant.  Specifically: not what you say, but what you do.  Though they may not emulate your specific food preferences, they will, in the long run, emulate your behavior.  As a wise man once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Most parents would say that they want their kids to live a long, happy and healthy life and want them to have a positive relationship with food and eating.  Often adults strive to give the children in their lives what they do not have themselves, but it’s extremely difficult to give something we do not have.  Take the time and energy to discern what kind of relationship with food you want to have in your own life.  Food and eating is a vital part of our lives and it deserves our attention. 

Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky

It’s not a secret that we grow to love the beings and things we spend our time and energy on.  Your child may love cats, but none more than the cat that lives with them, that they care for and play with.  Food that we grow ourselves or that we purchase directly from the growers at a farmers’ market tastes better partly because we have a connection with that food that we simply cannot get from the anonymity of a grocery store shelf.  Providing the opportunity for your children to spend time and energy on preparing their food can create a natural bond and familiarity that predisposes them to enjoy eating that food.  A Columbia University study found that when elementary school-aged children participated in cooking vegetables and other foods in a workshop, they were more likely to choose those foods at other times.  We come to love what we know.

For All That Is Our Life

Food will be our companion throughout our lives.  Food sustains us, gives us energy, livens our spirit and comforts us.  The opportunity to eat together is a gift.  Part of why it can be so difficult to deal with a picky eater is that it brings an enormous amount of tension to an otherwise precious time.  Sometimes the knowledge that what is about to happen may be difficult is even more reason to take a moment to acknowledge the gift of eating together.  This may look like saying grace or singing a song or checking in about your day over dinner or lighting a candle.  Whatever this moment looks like in your own family, I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to mark the occasion with something that acknowledges the value of eating, and of eating together.  Life is short, and every opportunity we have to be grateful to be together is one not to be missed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Religious Education Volunteers Recognized

As is the case every year, a generous and talented team of volunteers will lead our classes for children and youth. The following volunteers were recognized in the service this morning.  Thank you for all you do!

Alice Lium, Andre Mendes, Becky Redett, Caitlin Cross-Barnet, Deb Kinder, Gina Foringer, Jen Langdon, Karla Huber, Karla Peterson, Katie Davis, Kristen Humphrey, Laura Laing, Lee Dix, Lyn Cox, Martha Holleman, Megary Sigler, Michael Preston, Mike Cross-Barnet, Molly Ruhlman, Pat Montley, Rebecca Bainum, Rebecca Wald, Rose Kinder, Sue Parr, Tim Dodge, Tim Niessen, Tina Paquet, Tony DiGregorio and Ursula Marcum

Religious Education Classes Begin

The Religious Education building is alive once again Sunday mornings as we welcomed our children and youth back for classes today.  

Our nursery was bursting at the seams with our youngest ones; thanks to Pat Montley for providing valuable assistance to our childcare provider, Kim Wolf.  Rose Kinder and Rebecca Wald helped our Sprouts (preschoolers and kindergarteners) learn about one of our most cherished values: each person is special and important.  Lee Dix and Karla Huber led the Explorers class (1st-6th grades)  in considering the idea of thresholds and helped them decorate the thresholds to their own classroom.  Our Spirit Play class held an orientation for the kids, led by storyteller, Gina Foringer and doorkeeper, Deb Kinder.  The youth group began their RPG with youth advisors, Andre Mendes and Alice Lium, creating the characters they will use in their adventures this year.

After classes, members and friends of all ages enjoyed a welcome party for Rev. Lyn Oglesby, featuring delectable Baltimore-themed potluck items.  Yum!

If you haven't already, please don't forget to register your children for this year's RE program by completing the online registration form here.  If you'd prefer a paper version, you can find a link in the sidebar to the right to download a registration form.

If a week is too long for you to wait to join your church community in a fun activity, I hope you'll join us for our Multigenerational Music Night this Wednesday at 6:00 pm.  RSVP to Becky.  Otherwise, we'll see you on Sunday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Class Schedules now available online

You're probably already noticed the new calendar box at the bottom of the blog here, where you will be able to click for more information about all the events we have going on in the Religious Education world of First U Baltimore.  In addition, you'll find downloadable class calendars for the fall in the column to the right under "Helpful Links"  Each class calendar includes the name of the session, the scheduled teachers and a link to that day's lesson.  Whether you need to check the info quick or print out a copy for your fridge, now you can!

Welcome, Hon Party, this Sunday

Please join in the Balm'r celebration as we welcome Rev. Lyn Oglesby with a Welcome, Hon! party.  Bring your favorite hometown dish to share, your Baltimore outfits and hairdos, your O's gear and Ravens' regalia as we welcome Lyn to her post here with us this year.  We'll be celebrating after the service this Sunday, Sept. 14 in the Pratt Parish Hall until all the food is gone!  See you there!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The 21st Century Beckons!

For the first time, we will be collecting registration information for children and youth online!  To fill out the quick and easy online form and register your children and youth for this year's Religious Education Program, simply click here.  You will also find the same link under "Helpful Links" in the right-hand column, as "Online Registration Form".

It's easy!  It's quick!  It's eco-friendly!

If you prefer the paper form, you will find a downloadable copy under "Helpful Links".  Simply fill it out and return it to Becky on any Sunday.

Thanks for your participation!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Homecoming Sunday Events, Sept. 7

Our annual Homecoming Service is nearly here!  I hope you'll join us for all of the exciting events of the day:

9:30 am: Welcome Back Pancake Breakfast, sponsored by the Board of Trustees

10:00 am: Inaugural meeting of the All-Ages Chess Club—all skill levels and ages are welcome!  We will also have cards and other board games—bring the whole family!

11:00 am: Intergenerational Homecoming Worship Service—Don't forget to bring a small amount of water from your summer travels (near or far) for our annual Water Communion as we gather for a brand new church year with our interim Minister, Rev. Lyn Oglesby.

Religious Education classes will begin the following Sunday, Sept. 14.  

See you then!