CRE Blog

CRE News

Nate Sellers, Acting Director of Children's Religious Education

Job Posting: Pre-School/Kindergarten Teacher (9/6/2016)

Paid Pre-School/Kindergarten Teacher Position Description

The First Church in Belmont, a Unitarian Universalist congregation, seeks to hire a paid lead teacher for its combined pre-school and Kindergarten classes.  This position will begin on Sunday, September 11, provided background checks are complete, and continue through Sunday, June 11, 2017.  It will be for four hours per week from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm on Sunday mornings.

General Responsibilities:

  • Work under the supervision of the Director of Children’s Religious Education (DCRE) & with the Religious Education Assistant
  • Teach two classes per morning, from 8:55-10:15 am & from 10:55 am-12:15 pm
  • Lead weekly lessons and activities following existing curricula & lesson plans with assistance from a parent or congregation member classroom volunteer
  • Help develop teaching skills and situational expertise of volunteer co-teachers
  • Interact with parents to share information about program & their child’s experience in it
  • Prepare classroom materials & reset the room for the second service
  • Maintain attendance information & related reporting for each class

Ideally, candidates will match the following criteria:

  • Current or former preschool, Kindergarten or elementary teachers
  • Current college students or recent college graduates with a major in early childhood or elementary education
  • Beliefs consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles and values

Experience/Strengths:

  • Enjoys and relates well with young children
  • Mature, responsible adult
  • Collaborative, friendly nature
  • Articulate
  • Sense of humor
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred but not required
  • Previous teaching experience; preferably in early childhood education or religious education
  • Previous experience (preferred) or working familiarity with the values, principles, and practices of the Unitarian Universalism
  • Ability to motivate and lead volunteers, and a willingness to work closely with parents

Specific Requirements:

  • Work schedule is Sundays 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Sept. 11, 2016 – June 11, 2017
  • Must be able to teach every Sunday during the church year except December 25, 2016
  • Must be able to attend four hours of preparation meetings prior to beginning work (date and time negotiable)
  • CORI and SORI background checks will be required

Compensation: $18.00 to $18.30 per hour for 4 hours per week worked

Reports to: Director of Children’s Religious Education

Interested applicants should send a resume to: jobs@uubelmont.org

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes A Congregation (6/14/2016)

Summer-time and the living is busy, but that’s no excuse for not holding the importance of your Unitarian Universalist faith close to your heart and weaving it into everything you do during the “care-free” days of summer. Here are some things I am doing that involve my life-long faith formation and journey:

  • Attending continental UU gatherings for ministers, religious educators, and lay people in Columbus, OH. I am serving as a delegate from Aiken, SC where I hold my membership. Downing Cless and Alice Trexler are going as FCB’s delegates; they will make a presentation in September so you can learn about our denominational activities. I am walking in the Service of the Living Tradition on Thursday, June 23rd. You can cheer for me from afar by live-streaming the program starting at 7:30 pm – follow this link: uua.org/ga/program/highlights/slt. You can watch much of GA this way; so check out more of what is happening.
  • Traveling to Transylvania with a group from FCB to visit our Partner Church, where I will deliver the beautiful wall hanging made of artwork by many of the children in CRE, and sewn together by Dawn Anderson and Yolanda Aliberti with fabrics donated by Sandy Nyack (see pictures, below). Be sure to thank the stitchers! I’ll also take with me a copy of the photograph we took of the children and me with the wall hanging on Flower Communion Sunday. FCB and I will each have a copy of that photo, too, to remember the occasion. The dozen Transylvania Travelers will make a presentation in September, too, so plan to attend that and find out more.
  • Collecting water during my travels to bring to the Ingathering Sunday/Water Communion at the end of the summer. Y’all will want to remember to do this yourselves. Water Communion is September 11.
  • Spending time daily and weekly living out the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism. Every one of us can find a way to do this; as Sufi mystic and poet Rumi wrote, “there are a thousand ways to kneel down and kiss the ground.” Practicing our faith is a life-long journey, you’ve already taken the first steps — all you have to do is carry it on!

Yours in faith and with fond regards,

~ Charlotte Lehmann, Acting Director of Children’s Religious Education

E-mail: clehmann@uubelmont.org

The entire quilt.

Detail of top panel.

Detail of center panel.

Detail of bottom panel.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:

  • No CRE until September. Have a happy summer! Don’t forget to collect some water from your summer adventures and bring it with you for multigenerational Ingathering Sunday/Water Communion on September 11th. Regular CRE classes for grades 1-8 begin on 9/25/16, but programming is available for all starting 9/11/16.
  • All children must be registered for the CRE program. You can register over the summer; access the 2016-17 registration form on the Children’s Religious Education page of FCB’s website (http://uubelmont.org/childrens-re/).
  • Volunteer to teach in CRE! Fill out Background Check and Code of Ethics forms, available on FCB’s website (http://uubelmont.org/coriandsori/), and mail or drop off attention CRE Program. The sooner the better; it helps make starting up in September much easier.
Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (6/7/2016)

Although the church year is drawing to a close, staff and leadership do cast their vision forward into the next year.
     For CRE this means cleaning up the classrooms, putting away supplies, making end-of-year purchases, and sending one more Children’s Offering donation to a worthy organization – the children chose New England Greyhound Rescue as the recipient of over $100.
     It also means planning for the next year’s classes, recruiting teachers, ordering supplies, reminding CRE families to register their children and youth for FCB’s religious education programs – CRE, OWL, COA, and Youth Group, and putting CRE classes and events on the calendar.
     For me, it means making sure that my successor can find everything that they need, with or without Wendy’s assistance. It means clearing my things out of the CRE Office. It also means saying goodbyes.
     I have really enjoyed my two years as the Acting Director of CRE at FCB. I have lived and breathed the seven UU principles along with the children, youth, teachers, CRE Committee, families, staff and FCB community. We have seen everyone as important, treated all people fairly and kindly, accepted one another and kept on learning together. We have encouraged each person to search for what is right and true, given everyone a vote about the things that concern them, worked for a peaceful, fair and free world, and taken care of the Mother Earth, our Blue Boat Home.
     When I introduced myself two autumns ago, I promised to keep the program running smoothly while at the same time making an assessment of what is working well and where making changes could strengthen the program. I communicated my findings with the Parish Board in a report in December 2015, as well as stating the most significant realities in my report for the annual meeting each spring.
     At the time of my first meeting you, I also said that I had chosen to work in the field of religious education/life-span faith formation while I was still working to meet the requirements of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, because I felt it would broaden and deepen my ministry. It has certainly done this and I am grateful for the experience I have had here at FCB. I believe the benefits of my experience here will show – and perhaps already have in the interim search process – as I embark on the adventure that lies ahead for me as the interim minister in Tallahassee.
     May this congregation continue to grow in love as we go in peace to our summer haunts. And don’t forget to bring a little water back with you in September that represents all the places you’ve gone in June, July and August.
     In case I don’t see you at the Flower Communion and Annual End-of-Year Picnic, many blessings upon your journeys.
     Yours in faith and with fond regards,

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

Remaining CRE programs

  • June 12th, Flower Communion, multigenerational worship services at 9 am and 11 am. 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 pm. 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.
Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (5/31/2016)

Thank you for all of the heart-felt congratulations expressed over the last week. I am delighted with the new adventures on my horizon. Having spent two years with you here at First Church in Belmont working as the Acting Director of CRE, I feel well prepared to serve the UU Church of Tallahassee as their Interim Minister for the next 1-2 years. Their congregation will be making a transition from a long-tenured minister to calling their next settled minister under my guidance, but they approach it with strong programs in place, including the life-span religious education program, and great appreciation for all of their staff.

     In some ways, I’ll be in fairly familiar territory because First Church also has strong programs in place and shows their appreciation for staff regularly. Although my title has been “Acting Director”, I have really been doing the work of an interim religious educator, assessing the CRE program while assuring that it has continued to run smoothly. I have been preparing the way for your next settled CRE director. From the feedback I have received from many of you, I am leaving the program well situated for the arrival of new leadership in CRE.
     Although the hiring process hasn’t been completed at the time of this writing, I am confident that FCB will have an excellent CRE director in place when the 2016-17 church year begins.
     Regardless of who is hired, however, the congregation and its programs are owned by the members. It is up to all of you to make sure that they are the best they can be. That means registering your children for CRE, volunteering to teach, serve on the CRE committee or helping with special events that help include families in congregational life. It also means making regular church attendance a family priority and contributing financially so that the church can sustain all of what you love so much about this community. We’ll say our goodbyes at the annual picnic, but until then…
     Yours in faith,

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

Remaining CRE programs

  • June 5th, final Community Sunday and Children’s Chapel for Grades 1-6. Final collection of the children’s offering will be included in their donation to the New England Greyhound Rescue. Children will be cleaning the classrooms and getting them ready for summer and next fall. Building Bridges (Grade 7) wrap-up, Spirit Play (pre-K/K) and Nursery meet as usual.
  • June 12th, Flower Communion, multigenerational worship services at 9 am and 11 am. 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 pm. 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 th grade. All children must be registered for CRE.
Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (5/24/2016)

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.
Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (5/17/2016)

Spring really is here at long last and summer weather won’t be far behind!

     Please bear in mind that the Church is not responsible for the children’s health and safety when they are playing unsupervised on church grounds or adjacent property.
     The following was communicated in September and it’s time to remind you of our policy.

Important Biannual Reminder Regarding Free Time on FCB Playground from the CRE Committee:
The First Church in Belmont (FCB) staff and Children’s Religious Education (CRE) Committee wish to communicate that the church cannot under any circumstances be responsible for children playing in the stream behind the playground. Some children and families have gotten into the habit of going through the arbor vitae hedge along the property line between Powers Music and FCB to play in the water.
     The area in question is private property belonging to the Baker/Underwood Condominiums. So, in point of fact, the children are no longer on church property and are trespassing on private property.
     Whether they are back there with adult supervision or not, such activity is a safety risk and poses a liability to the congregation. This kind of activity becomes an insurance issue whether an accident happens or not.
     While we are strong advocates for children engaging in play outdoors/in nature, please limit outdoor play to church property.
     Again, please be advised that First Church in Belmont is not responsible for those children who play on the other side of the playground fence, nor does the First Church in Belmont encourage any such activity.
     Please play safely and respectfully. Remember to clean up after yourselves and let church staff know if you notice anything that needs attention or repair.
     Thank you.

~ Charlotte Lehmann

There are always volunteer opportunities in CRE for ALL at FCB; before the end of this church year, please consider:

  • Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: tinyurl.com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line: uubelmont.org/coriandsori/.
  • Lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday. Click to sign-up: tinyurl.com/chalicelighting. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
  • Assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 a.m. each Sunday. You can easily sign-up here: com/sundaynursery. You will receive an e-mail reminder.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:
If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (www.uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12th grade. All children must be registered for CRE.

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

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (5/10/2016)

There are certain experiences that appear on the “bucket lists” on many Unitarian Universalists. Some are ones that our religious education programs try to arrange for children and youth to have as part of their faith formation. Living in the Boston-metro area, it is pretty easy to incorporate visits to historic houses of worship, such as King’s Chapel and the Arlington Street Church, as well as other places of special historic interest to Unitarian Universalists, such as the Ralph Waldo Emerson home in Concord, Mass. (where I went on a tour recently) or Beacon Hill, where the UUA was headquartered for more than a century. Not long ago, a group of FCBers went to visit the new headquarters, a LEED certified building renovation in downtown Boston’s Innovation District. It’s worth stopping in sometime if you are downtown sightseeing during a weekday this summer. You can check out the interactive history displays and shop in the UU bookstore for books or bling.
     Other must-do’s on any serious UU bucket-list certainly include attending UUA district, regional or national assemblies, at least once in your life, especially as a delegate. I’ve mentioned this before. General Assembly is held in a different location in the U.S. each year; so it can be expensive to go, but in my opinion it is worth doing at least once. You can check it out on-line this year and see how exciting it can be to be among several thousand UUs. I’ll be walking across the stage during the Service of the Living Tradition on Thursday, June 23rd; this service recognizes milestones in the ministry of UU clergy.
     On my personal bucket-list has been a pilgrimage to Transylvania to see and experience something of our Transylvanian Unitarian roots. I am very excited to be a part of the group of FCB members, staff and friends who are making such a pilgrimage to visit our partner church in Transylvania early this summer. We will be meeting people, visiting locations important in Unitarian history, and doing some service work with and for our partner church. Gifts for our many hosts is an important part of this experience; I plan to do some shopping at General Assembly for the gifts that I personally give. I will also be carrying a gift to our partner church from the children of First Church in Belmont, which they will be working on this month. Thanks to volunteer quilters: Yolanda Aliberti, Dawn Anderson, and Sandy Nayak, I will be able to present a wall hanging with artwork created by our first through fourth graders. You’ll be able to see the completed project during our Flower Communion services on June 12th.
     However, I hope you will come Saturday, May 14th at 7 pm to see the 2014 documentary film “Beneath the Surface” in the Parish Hall and learn more about our Unitarian roots in Transylvania. Bring your whole family! Ticket sales provide funds for this year’s FCB trip.
     ~ Charlotte Lehmann

There are always volunteer opportunities in CRE for ALL at FCB; before the end of this church year, please consider:

  • Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: tinyurl.com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line: uubelmont.org/coriandsori/.
  • Lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday. Click to sign-up: tinyurl.com/chalicelighting. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
  • Assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 a.m. each Sunday. You can easily sign-up here: com/sundaynursery. You will receive an e-mail reminder.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:
If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (www.uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12th grade. All children must be registered for CRE.

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

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (5/3/2016)

Endings. Beginnings. Next steps. These are what I am thinking about right now. They are often all mixed up together. Spring is here and new life is bursting forth. Yet we sense and are getting ready to wrap up the end of the church year, the budget is being finalized, the annual meeting is three weeks away; it won’t be long before the Flower Communion and the annual picnic. Next fall there will be new staff members.
     A case in point is the leadership of the CRE program. My time here is drawing to a close, only two months to go now. The Search Committee is actively working towards identifying the person who will fill the role of Director for CRE. When my tenure ends, a new person will begin working to ensure that FCB continues to have an excellent program for its children on Sunday mornings and at other times as well. This person may have different ideas about how that excellence is achieved; so there will be next steps underway to reach those goals. There will be questions to ponder and solutions to try out. The new director will likely have a different style from mine. Get to know each other before making judgments. Be open to trying new ways of doing religious education.
     On a personal note, even before the church year and my position come to a close, I am working to put together my ministerial record, a search packet that shows more about me as a minister, and check out what possibilities exist for ministry positions. Truly, the end of my preparations for preliminary fellowship in the UUA brings lots of new beginnings in my life.
     It is always a journey that we are on. Endings roll into beginnings. We must always be ready to take the next step.
     ~ Charlotte Lehmann

There are always volunteer opportunities in CRE for ALL at FCB; before the end of this church year, please consider:

  • Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: tinyurl.com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line: uubelmont.org/coriandsori/.
  • Lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday. Click to sign-up: tinyurl.com/chalicelighting. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
  • Assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 a.m. each Sunday. You can easily sign-up here: com/sundaynursery. You will receive an e-mail reminder.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:
If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (www.uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12th grade. All children must be registered for CRE.

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

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (4/26/2016)

On Sunday, April 24th our combined grades 1-6 class celebrated a second Jewish holiday this spring: Pesach or Passover. Our lesson began with prayer such as, Baruch atta Adonai, eloheynu meleh ha-olom, she-heh-he-yanu, ve-kiy’manu, ve-higi-an la-z’man hazeh. Praised be Thou, our God, who hast kept us alive and sustained us, and brought us to this season.
     Each year during Pesach, Jews around the world engage in embodied ritual, the Passover Seder. During the Seder, which, like many Jewish holidays, is a home-centered tradition, the story of the Jewish people and their journey to freedom (Exodus 1:1-15:21) is re-told and passed down to the younger generation through a set of four questions, prayers, traditional songs, and special foods. The Exodus is a story of an enslaved people throwing off the yoke of bondage and enduring tremendous hardships on their way to the Promised Land.
     The symbolism of the Exodus has also been embraced in the African Diaspora. The well-known African-American spiritual “Go Down Moses” — often sung as part of the Seder — is an example of how the Exodus metaphor was incorporated into American slave culture. A later musical interpretation is reggae legend Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 song “Exodus.” The lyrics say, “Exodus, movement of Jah people / Send us another Brother Moses gonna cross the Red Sea Liberation /… Jah come to break down ‘pression, rule equality / Wipe away transgression, set the captives free…” Marley wrote “Exodus” in response to the religious politics in Jamaica during an election year. Marley’s reggae espoused a theology of liberation.
     Theologies of liberation are found throughout the world’s religions. All liberative theologies and ethics of risk are defined and lead from the inside by the oppressed and the marginalized, and the particulars of the context are crucial to its form and substance. All three of the Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — view Moses as a liberative leader and use the story of the Exodus to inspire followers to seek freedom.
     Liberation theology as contextualized praxis is most frequently anchored in rereading the texts of the tradition as metaphors for the present historical context of the oppressed and marginalized. Black Liberation Theology is one result. Black Lives Matter is the political equivalent of Black Liberation Theology.
     Catholic liberation theology, which arose in 20th century South America, where Pope Francis served as a priest, is another example of the marginalized and oppressed using their faith to effect systemic change. They look to Jesus as a liberative leader. Jesus was a radical, non-violent revolutionary; his call — his mission — was to free the people from oppressive Roman rule. Jesus did “not see the day of our liberation physically” but he contributed to the struggle. As Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu reminds us, Liberation is Costly (#593 in Singing the Living Tradition): “We must remember that liberation is costly. It needs unity. We must hold hands and refuse to be divided. We must be ready.”
     The Passover Seder is an annual reminder for the Jewish people, their friends and allies who gather around the table with them, that liberation is costly. Each year at the end of the Seder, Jews around the world bring this story from the beginnings of their faith tradition up into the present day. They speak about the costs of enduring as faithful people through the nightmares of the Holocaust. They speak about the hard won freedoms of democracy. They lift up the struggles for freedom from oppression by all people. They remember that black lives matter; that refugees from war-torn countries need safe places to live and work that is meaningful. They affirm the worth and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and promote civil rights for all.
     Despite the plagues and hardships remembered in the Passover Haggadah, it is ultimately a ritual of hope. Liberation is costly, but it brings us to the Promised Land. “Let us be united, let us be filled with hope, let us be those who respect one another” (Desmond Tutu). We can and we will overcome and be free.
     ~ Charlotte Lehmann

Mark Your Calendars – Events of Interest to Families

  • “Pariah,” film showing, 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27th – a Forty to None Day event. The film, “Pariah” will be shown this evening with a discussion of issues related to LGBT youth homelessness following the movie. According to True Colors, “approximately 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), yet LGBT young people make up less than 7% of the general youth population.” The goal of True Colors is to reduce the disproportionate percentage from 40% to none (truecolorsfund.org/40tononeday/).
  • Stand Up Campaign, 1-4 p.m., Sunday, May 1st at the Belmont Public Library. If you are concerned about the deterioration of public, civil discourse, please join Donna Ruvolo and other concerned citizens for this event.

CRE Volunteer Opportunities for All at FCB

  • Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: tinyurl.com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line: uubelmont.org/coriandsori/.
  • Would your family like to lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday this year? CRE is coordinating this effort to involve families in this element of the worship service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. Click to sign-up: tinyurl.com/chalicelighting. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
  • Non-parent teacher-volunteers are needed to assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 am each Sunday. You can easily sign-up for this volunteer opportunity here: tinyurl.com/sundaynursery. You will receive an e-mail reminder.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:
If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (www.uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12thgrade. All children must be registered for CRE.

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

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation (4/19/2016)

One day during the winter months, as I walked across the parking lot of my apartment complex, I found one of those jelly bracelets with these words on it: “KINDNESS MATTERS.” I decided to put it in my car in a place where I could see it while I driving the 250-300 miles that I do each week. I did this not because I need to be reminded to be kind, but because there are an awful lot of people on the roadways that need to be reminded. By keeping this mantra in view, I intended to energize a kinder, gentler driving experience for myself and for everyone else around me.
     In March, Donna Ruvolo decided that she needed to stand up to the increasing lack of civility being experienced by children and youth during the school day and at athletic events. She e-mailed as many people as she could asking her contacts to stand up to bullying and hate speech. Thus galvanized, a group of adults gathered to organize what is now being called the “Stand Up Campaign.” Fifty people met at First Church on March 29th to discuss these issues which are affecting kids locally as well as nationally. Taunts and jeers from peers, who are hiding behind the verbal and physical attacks, negative pronouncements and hate speech that are all too common in this year’s primary campaigning, have become much too vitriolic to not do something.
     There will be a second public gathering on May 1st from 1-4 pm at the Belmont Public Library. The group plans to offer ways to change the dynamic to one of community conversations.
     At First Church in Belmont, we strive to raise caring kids who know what it means to be kind and compassionate; who strive to live their lives according to our seven UU principles. I share with you a few ideas and resources on promoting kindness and civil discourse.
     There is a series on WBUR called, Kind World, stories of kindness and how one act can change our world (www.wbur.org/series/kindworld). The episode I heard this past week, #22: Chocolate Bar, focused on how a 9 year-old boy helped a friend with a rare and life-threatening medical condition. This boy started a fundraising effort that has helped researchers gain needed financial support. He wanted to raise a million dollars; he has succeeded and surpassed that goal.
     Daily acts of kindness are shared in a Facebook Group that I belong to; these can be experiences for which we are on the giving or the receiving end. It boosts spirits to focus on these moments of loving human-kindness. Participating in random acts of kindness actually changes our neural networks, releases endorphins and promotes de-stressing our lives. Consider starting your own Facebook kindness campaign.
     I see similarities between the positive approach of these media-based initiatives, Belmont citizen’s Stand Up Campaign and the UUA’s Standing on the Side of Love initiatives (www.standingonthesideoflove.org/).
     If you haven’t seen the National Geographic film called Celebrate What’s Right With the World, I encourage you to find it on Netflix. Rather than putting our attention on the negativity in our society all of the time, it is important to celebrate what is good and right in our lives and the lives of our siblings all over the earth.
     The Stand Up Campaign is one way to call attention to the need for kindness in our lives. Community conversations are a proven way to make connections and develop relationships. I was part of such a program up in Lewiston, Maine after Somali Muslim immigrants were told to leave by the mayor of the city. (See The Letter, a documentary film about what happened there in 2002-2003.) Bridging what divides us leads to healing and reconciliation. Kindness matters.
     With loving human kindness,
     ~ Charlotte Lehmann

Mark Your Calendars – Events of Interest to Families

  • “Pariah,” film showing, 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27th – a Forty to None Day event. The film, “Pariah” will be shown this evening with a discussion of issues related to LGBT youth homelessness following the movie. According to True Colors, “approximately 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), yet LGBT young people make up less than 7% of the general youth population.” The goal of True Colors is to reduce the disproportionate percentage from 40% to none (org/40tononeday/).
  • Stand Up Campaign, 1-4 p.m., Sunday, May 1st at the Belmont Public Library. If you are concerned about the deterioration of public, civil discourse, please join Donna Ruvolo and other concerned citizens for this event.

CRE Volunteer Opportunities for All at FCB

  • Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: tinyurl.com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line: uubelmont.org/coriandsori/.
  • Would your family like to lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday this year? CRE is coordinating this effort to involve families in this element of the worship service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. Click to sign-up: tinyurl.com/chalicelighting. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
  • Non-parent teacher-volunteers are needed to assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 am each Sunday. You can easily sign-up for this volunteer opportunity here: tinyurl.com/sundaynursery. You will receive an e-mail reminder.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:
If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (www.uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12thgrade. All children must be registered for CRE.

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