Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

When I was a kid, I used to go to the cemetery on Memorial Day with my grandmother to place flowers on the gravestones of her parents. It is a ritual tradition that I remember with a sense of warmth and bright sunshine, peace-filled and colorful. My grandma’s actions were measured and caring. Her son, my uncle, goes to tend the graves now, carefully clipping the grass around the edges and brushing the anthills away. Even though I can’t go there physically each year, I still do so in my mind as I remember my father, grandparents, and other family members.

     The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the children in grades 1-6 will learn about Memorial Day and memorial services, and have a chance to remember loved ones who are gone from their lives in a ritual of memory. (They should plan to bring a photograph or object that represents their loved one, which they will place on our altar.)
     Rituals mark the beginnings and endings of special times in our lives. Each church year there are worship services that serve this purpose: Water Communion (our ingathering ceremony), holiday and holy day services, New Member Sunday, and Flower Communion (recognizing that we are part of a community although we tend to disperse for the summer), are a few of them.
     Recently, the kids in the Grade 3-4 classes learned about Child Dedications. These can take place at whatever age the parents and children wish to hold it; so if you are interested in this ritual, speak to Rev. Bryce if you are interested in having your child or children dedicated.
     Rituals may also be part of our daily lives. In the last week, I was invited to have dinner with a family and enjoyed the ritual they practice before the start of their meal: they ring a bell three times, holding themselves in silence and stillness until the last ringing sound has faded away. Then each person at the table shares what they are grateful for on this day. Similar to saying “grace”, their practice brings them into a place of presence and receptive gratitude for each other, the blessings in their lives, and the food on their table. It was a wonderful pause before we ate; a chance for bodies, minds and spirits to catch up and integrate after an active and busy day or work, school and play.
     Rituals are an aspect of self-care and spiritual care in groups (such as families and congregations). What rituals do you and your family practice daily? Which ones mark the cycles of the year? How do you remember those you loved who are no longer living? Consider sharing your rituals with others.
     And be sure to mark your calendars now so you will remember to bring flowers on June 12th for the Flower Communion – bring one each for yourself and the members of your family, and then bring an extra for someone who wasn’t able to get one ahead of time. It will be an extra special Flower Communion because the group that is traveling to Transylvania will be commissioned and the beautiful wall-hanging, made up of squares created by many of our children, will be shown to the congregation. This wall-hanging is a gift to our Partner Church in Desfalva from the children of First Church in Belmont. I can’t wait for you to see it. And I am looking forward to presenting it to our Partner Church.

~ Charlotte Lehmann, Acting Director of Children’s Religious Education
Office hours: Tues-Weds, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. E-mail: clehmann@uubelmont.org.

Fun for all ages:

  • June 12th, Flower Communion, multigenerational worship services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. If your family would like to light the chalice or help with ushering, please contact the CRE Office (crebelmont@gmail.com). The annual end-of-year fellowship picnic follows at 12:30 p.m. Food and fun for all!

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:

  • Consider registering your children for CRE early for 2016-17 using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12 thgrade. All children must be registered for CRE.
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