Dear UUFR Parents,
I hope that you are well and have had wonderful summer breaks. We are looking forward to launching our 2021 Fall programs this Sunday, although they are much adapted in response to the evolving Covid 19 risks. We’ll kick things off tomorrow, Sept. 12th with a Party (and Kickball!) at Pullen Park. You can find details or RSVP HERE.
Youth are encouraged to watch Rev. James’s service tomorrow which will focus on our September Soul Matters theme is ‘Embracing Possibilities’; I’ve found this a both ironic and inspiring theme to explore personally as I try to let go of hard clung-to plans, norms, hopes, and habits. One of the quotes in our small group resources on this them is by Heather Warman:
‘For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.’
Our fall program plans have changed many times in response to the Covid 19 Delta variant. Our sense of what families need and want has changed many times, too. I expect this will continue, and I’m wrapping my arms wide around the theme of embracing possibilities. I’m hopeful that all of us will be gentle with each other, will be able to find new ways to connect, and will be patient with evolving plans as we pave our new path forward. I’m hopeful that we may even find ourselves letting go of hard clung-to norms will open space for innovation and change.
Here are the broad strokes of our fall plans at this time:
Sunday Scoop 2021:
We will be resuming twice per month Parent Email Newsletters on Sunday mornings with details about Soul Matters at home resources and UUFR events and programs. Soul Matters is our monthly thematic programming which is explored through worship (1st Sunday of the month), at home activities, youth group, and small group ministry. We do not plan to have virtual or in person children’s chapel, Time for all ages stories, or cohort meetings this fall; however we do plan to offer twice per month family events and youth group gatherings in person, outdoors. Be sure to check your Sunday Scoop!
Updated Covid Protocols:
The UUFR Board updated safety policies in Aug. 2021. Moving forward, all attendees at indoor events, including worship, must wear masks and be vaccinated. However, we are planning outdoor events and activities open to everyone, including children, on 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. You can read the full policies here.
Ongoing programs for Children 0-11:
This fall, we welcome children to attend outdoor all ages events with parents. 1st Sundays of the month we will be meeting at 11:30 for social activities, including several Parties in the Park at Pullen Park with cool drinks and activities provided (2nd Sunday in Sept. and on site at UUFR in Dec.). On 3rd Sundays we will meet at 11:30 at UUFR with activities related to our Soul Matters theme or seasonal holidays. (Dates below).
Ongoing programs for youth 12-18:
Youth are strongly encouraged to attend worship, in person or online, on 1st Sundays of the month, when Rev. James will explore Soul Matters themes. Following worship, youth are invited to our social activity for all ages. On 3rd Sundays of the month, youth group will meet at 10:30 DURING service with free pizza to follow. (Dates below)
Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education (OWL):
In accordance with UUA recommendations, we will not be offering in person or online OWL programs until at least early 2022. Given the long gap in training opportunities for program facilitators because of the pandemic, we are hoping to host a local training for both elementary and youth age group facilitators in early 2022. This local training had been planned for October but was postponed due to safety. Pendant upon adequate volunteer leadership commitments, we hope to resume OWL in 2022. If you are interested in being considered for a position as a volunteer facilitator, coordinator, or support person for OWL, please email [email protected].
Family Ministry Director Calls with Parents:
I welcome all of you to schedule a 1:1 phone conversation with me; I would love to know how your family is doing, to provide a listening ear, and to hear about your hopes, dreams, or disappointments. Email me at: [email protected] to schedule a time.
Support for Parents:
We are thrilled to have an emerging ministry team hoping to expand the support we provide to parents, particularly parents of very young children. Updates about these efforts will be included in our Sunday Scoop. We will also resume monthly support group meetings via zoom for parents of teens, hosted by our Family Ministry Director.
Save the dates:
Please note that all Family Ministry events will plan to meet outdoors. All ages events are weather permitting. Youth group will meet indoors (vaccinated youth only) during inclement weather, but will not be able to serve pizza in that event.
September Theme: Embracing Possibility (Soul Matters Worship Sept. 12th)
Sept. 12th: 11:30-1:30 Kick-off all-ages party at Pullen Park (shelter 5) with Kickball!
Sept. 19th: 10:30am Youth group (6th-12th grades) with free Pizza to follow
Sept. 19th: 11:30am All-ages gathering (outdoors outside of upper Peace Hall)
Sept. 19th: 11:30am Adults and youth welcomed to Rev. James’ Fishbowl activity
October Theme: Cultivating Relationship (Soul Matters Worship Oct. 3rd)
Oct. 3rd: 11:30-1:30 October all-ages party at Pullen Park
Oct. 17th: 10:30am Youth group (6th-12th grades) with free Pizza to follow
Oct. 17th: 11:30am All-ages gathering (outdoors outside of upper Peace Hall)
November Theme: Holding History (Soul Matters Worship Nov. 7th)
Nov. 6th: UUFR Auction Event
Nov. 7th 11:30-1:30 November all-ages party at Pullen Park
Nov. 21st: 10:30am Youth group (6th-12th grades) with free Pizza to follow
Nov. 21st: 11:30am All-ages Thanksgiving Activity outside of upper Peace Hall
December theme: Opening to Joy (Soul Matters Worship Dec. 5th)
Dec. 5th: 11:30-1:30 All ages Party at UUFR
Dec. 19th: 10:30am Youth group (6th-12th grades) with free Pizza to follow
Dec. 19th: 11:30am All-ages Winter Holiday Celebration (outside of upper Peace Hall)
We are making as many safe spaces as we can for connecting with each other, but know that we also understand the wide range of comfort levels, emotions and needs that people are feeling. Many of us have grown fatigued of making decisions, caretaking, isolation, the division that our communities and even families are experiencing around risk-taking, and change. Some have taken respite in the opportunity to live more simply, to eliminate the morning commute, or to keep those jammies on 8 days a week. In talking with families, I am hearing a wide range of responses; some feeling contentedly disconnected, some feeling desperate for support. Many feel a measure of both. Wherever you are; we are here to support you.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or reflections.
Sending you lots of love!
Family Ministry Director