This month’s newsletter will consist of updates for the fall and what is upcoming.
You will notice the name change for the children’s programming that we are proposing to the Board of Trustees for approval this month. We are taking out the words “religious education” and calling our programming Children’s Spiritual Exploration. As your children and youth explore their UCF/UUA principles, beliefs, and values, they will learn how they can make a difference in the world that they live in with their own beliefs and values, questioning and re-questioning with the “why?”, “why not?”, “how?”, “who?”, “when?”, etc., etc., etc.
In the fall, we will be working on a multi-generational Faith in Action project called “Blankets of Love”.
This project will last for several weeks and will bring everyone from our congregation working together to make a difference in someone’s life from babies to young children to teens. This Faith in Action project
resonates with our first principle that we believe that every person is important. When I spoke with Susan at Vidant Hospital three years ago, before COVID made an unexpected arrival, she said, “don’t forget the teenagers as they are struggling as well”. This fall we will be making fleece knotted blankets for the cancer patients at the Carteret Health Care Cancer Center in Morehead City. Next year I hope to
collaborate with the Greenville UU Church to donate “Blankets of Love” to the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center.
This project will need donations of fleece material of all colors and patterns as we think about all ages of
children that we will be receiving these warm cozy blankets as we wrap them with love and reach out to our beloved community.
I will continue to read the Time for All Ages books during the service, and I hope you have been enjoying them as I’ve had fun reading them to you. If we have young children returning this fall there will be an activity that relates to the book that is being read. I will need two adults in our children’s exploration room to facilitate these activities. It sure is a fun place to be!
NURSERY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
If you want to come play with some little ones, 6 months to 3 year olds in the “Under the Sea” nursery on Sundays from 10:15 to 11:30, please contact Sarah Sutherland at email@example.com or
603-254-5559 (c). The nursery works on a rotation system with Autumn Gillikin being our hired staff every week and one other volunteer needed from our fellowship.
What else is around the corner? OWL is coming in the springtime. See below.
OUR WHOLE LIVES (OWL) – Lifespan Sexuality Education
Many of you may be asking what OWL is and why am I writing about it.
The Unitarian Coastal Fellowship is collaborating with the other eastern North Carolina UU Churches; the Outer Banks, New Bern, Greenville, and Wilmington to offer this program to the 7th to 9th graders of all our congregation and community in early 2023. Open registration will be in the spring of 2023.
There are a lot of moving pieces that I will be planning for this event that includes, coordinating and collaborating with the churches to set the youth workshops, publicizing all the classes and dates for the youth retreats, recruiting youth and other facilitators, talking with parents, other churches, and involving our communities as well.
The OWL program is offered from kindergarten through the lifespan and is a holistic view of sexuality.
It provides accurate, age-appropriate information while helping people clarify their values, build
interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality. It is an honest, accurate information about sexuality changing lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives.
Liberal religious sexuality education gives children, youth, and adults a safe forum in which to make meaning of their lives. Participants learn to feel positive about themselves and their sexuality while they clarify their values, apply their values to their experiences, and gain knowledge about their bodies, feelings, and behaviors. When we offer an Our Whole Lives program, we help transform a cultural climate of fear and confusion about sexuality into a new reality in which every person’s inherent worth and dignity is valued. Our Whole Lives values self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice and inclusivity through interactive workshops and activities that will engage participants.
What does Our Whole Lives offer?
Honest, age-appropriate answers to questions
Activities to help clarify values and improve decision-making skills
A safe and supportive peer group
Acceptance of diversity
Encouragement to act for justice
Affirmation of parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children
I hope you all agree that this is important for the youth of our congregation and community not only now, but in the future, with so many uncertainties before us with the right to autonomy of our bodies and the health of our community and country.
Adapted for the UUA/OWL brochure
In Spirit and Love,