Under the RE Tree: September 2020

Here’s a little sample…

…of what we have cooking in the RE kitchen right now!

It’s been a busy summer and the last two weeks have brought things to a boil, as staff and committees start coming back together to plan for the 2020-2021 church year.

One way to think of the plans for RE this year is to imagine a large pot of spaghetti… we’re going to cook it up and throw all the noodles at the wall to see what sticks. Programs that stick, we’ll gobble down and enjoy the nourishment!

The Youth Programs Committee will meet on Tuesday evening to review and select some of the items that have been thrown into the pot. Some of those noodles include…

GATHERINGS
As long as we are gathering virtually for Sunday morning worship, we will continue to invite families to join the service – so we may be all together as a community. During the Time for All Ages, I’ll ask families to help me present the activity every other week or more… from the comfort of your own home. We’ll work together to create something engaging and topical.

Before the service, we may gather at 9:30 for a Family Chapel – AND/OR – Following the service, we’ll continue to Zoom into our own coffee-hour Sunday RE Family Check-in three Sundays per month, with one Sunday reserved so folks can join the other coffee-hour groups… because it’s awesome for everyone to engage between the generations.

Each month, we hope and plan to create and deliver an at-home kit for you to do at your leisure. This kit will reflect a monthly theme. Let me or someone on the YPC know if you have a creative idea to bring the spirit home.

We hope to offer fun and interesting – possibly life-skill building – virtual activities… similar to the LunchTime for All Ages. Depending on the interest, meetings will be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly… whatever works! We’ll meet by age groups… a play along, sing-along, story time for pre-K, an activity for K-2nd graders, and an activity for 3rd-5th graders.

We are offering Soul Matters’ “Crossing Paths” (just like “Neighboring Faiths”) curriculum for 6th and 7th graders. The Soul Matters developers did all the work to make this rich for in-person, hybrid, and virtual classes and experiences. So many houses of worship are continuing with virtual worship, this program keeps the opportunity for learning about other faith traditions alive.

8th Graders – you (might?!) be glad to know, we haven’t forgotten you! The OWL developers are very clear that OWL is NOT be offered virtually. Hearing that congregations intended to offer “something OWLy”, they stepped up and created “Taking Flight”. WE WILL OFFER AN 8th GRADE SEXUALITY CLASS THIS YEAR! Carolyn and I are hard at work coming up with the best plan using our OWL experience and the Taking Flight curriculum. If we are able to schedule a handful of in-person gatherings, we will offer a hybrid… “OWL-Taking Flight” – featuring the most important pieces of OWL during in-person sessions combined with Taking Flight lessons offered virtually. These will be on Sunday evenings as we’ve always done.

We know the opportunities for community service for our high school youth are really hard to come by right now. Working with local organizations, we hope to offer a handful of opportunities for our youth to gain some of the hours they need for graduation (and to gain other high school privileges). We hope to hold a monthly Zoom meeting to check-in, discuss a Hot Topic, and brainstorm service projects. We will encourage our youth to consider where they are on their spiritual path.

Parents… it’s not just all about the kids. We’re here to support you as well. We’ll get together informally for social check-ins, offer some topical discussions, maybe have a more formal presentation or two. What are some topics that have you interested in right now?

IN YOUR OWN TIME ACTIVITIES
Other activities and lessons will be available on the FPL website. Just look for Virtual RE .

There, we’ll feature some of the nuts and bolts of FPL RE’s curriculum from when we were – and will be again – together. There will be Spirit Play and Sacred Stories.

Spiritual nourishment reflections and activities will continue to be developed and shared on the website. There are some you can engage with right now, and more will come throughout the year. We hope to provide ways for you to bring the Spirit home and incorporate spiritual practice into your daily lives.

Some different, new, and fun stuff – like “Cartuuns” and “Do’h God”… family movie night can feature something you watch together as a family, and then talk about, play about, sing about, etc. Cartuuns takes Disney-Pixar short movies and brings deeper thought and meaning to the story being told. Watch the short movie, then engage with it off-screen. Similarly, and for a slightly older audience, “Do’h God” uses some Simpson’s episodes to begin conversations about religion and ethics.

EVENTS
And we’ll plan fun events. Certainly around the holidays… let’s RE-imagine the Pageant! Last spring, we talked about a Pet Show… how about around the feast day of St. Francis? I wonder what we can do for Easter? What would you like to do?

How about a drive-in movie in the Parish House parking lot? And/or a sleeping bag movie on the playground?

We MUST to do another car parade of some kind! Maybe we can all meet in the Parish House parking lot to decorate our cars together, then meet the rest of the group and parade to… Tucker? Where might we parade to this time?

In this case, there can’t be too many cooks in the kitchen! What’s your recipe for a great church year?

NO, SERIOUSLY, WHAT CAN YOU ADD TO THE MIX?
Great ideas… you’ve got ’em, I want to hear ’em. And volunteers to help present activities – either in person or on Zoom.

I hope some of my noodling around sounds good to you and yours; and, perhaps, has whet your appetite. Remember, anything we do is open to friends and family of all ages, near and far… in the case of virtual offerings, no matter where they live!

Margit