Family Ministry Programs
The Wednesday Thing
During the COVID shutdown, we offer online Vespers services every Wednesday at 6:30pm, often followed by an hour-long program. The Vespers programs are often accessible for families, but we have found the programming works best for adults only. For more information, visit The Wednesday Thing page.
All Ages Worship
Worship is a time when our congregation lifts up that which is of worth. It is a time for the community to live out the principle of supporting each other in the search for meaning that is part of the process of faith development. Welcoming all ages to our services allows us to embrace our children and youth as they participate through ritual, song, movement, and listening in the life of the congregation. There are large pillows on the floor so children can be close to speakers and the choir. “Soul Work” packets (for all ages) are available on the table outside the Sanctuary to support centering and focus during our multigenerational time together.
UUCA’s Gathering at The Mountain
This all-ages gathering at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center is an opportunity for multigenerational connection and fun. October 11-13, 2019 over 130 congregants of all ages gathered to be in community, get to know each other better and participate in many activities. To learn more about this event, we invite you to view this Powerpoint about the 2019 event and read Adam Griffith’s thoughts on the experience.
Future UUCA Gathering dates.
Oct 14-16, 2022
Oct 13-15, 2023
Keep scrolling for resources for talking to children about grief and upsetting news stories.
“We opened with the creation of a sand mandala under the guidance of Martha Kiger. Workshops included “Stories from the Heart” with published author Nora Carpenter, “A Way to Start a Day” with our minister Mark Ward and a dulcimer workshop with the Kleibers. There was music throughout the weekend thanks to the Sandburgers, our homegrown music group. We had a talent show, a costume contest, several hikes, low and high ropes courses, arts and crafts for all, labyrinth walks, and a garden tour. The weather was cold and rainy, so we had to snuggle quite a bit, but the sun came out for a nice look at the mountains before we left on Sunday.”
–2018 Gathering Planning Team Member Kristi Miller
Dealing with Death (Grief)
The Dougy Center website has information about developmental (age) responses to grief, ways to help/tips, and more. You can find good links on left side of grief resources page here. Under the grief resources tab for some additional tools.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie (Author), Robert Ingpen (Author) (we have a copy in our RE library)
Lifetimes tells us about beginnings.
And about endings.
And about living in between.
With large, wonderful illustrations, it tells about plants.
It tells that dying is as much a part of living as being born.
It helps us to remember.
It helps us to understand.
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr (Author, Illustrator)
Ghost Wings Story by Barbara Joosse
Why Death is like the Banana Tree Based on a folktale from Madagascar. From Tapestry of Faith, Love will Guide Us, Love is Eternal.
Long, long ago when God made the first man and the first woman and prepared to put them on the Earth, God asked them if they would rather die like the moon or like the banana tree.
Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved (Author), Charlotte Pardi (Illustrator), Robert Moulthrop (Translator)
Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gently, naturally. And he comes with enough time to share a story with the children that helps them to realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye.
Tragic Events in the News
Unfortunately we encounter these news reports of horrific events all too commonly these days. That doesn’t mean we should start to ignore them or how they might be impacting our children and youth. As children grow, they are learning of these tragedies in a different stage of development than perhaps with the previous events. We should be mindful that they may be hearing about these for the first time or processing them from a new perspective and with new fears, sadness, anger, or other emotions.
It is important for our kids to recognize that, as UUs, we can and will treat people from all backgrounds with respect and love and pay special attention to those in vulnerable populations.
We encourage you to take action: When tragedy has struck our Muslims or Jewish siblings we created and delivered cards showing our support. You can do this at home and send it yourself “from a UU friend” or bring to church and we will deliver locally. Other ideas: chalk some love notes around town (message ideas here); write a letter to the editor; learn about Judaism oir Islam, including the differences and similarities to UU; make eye contact and smile at those who appear different than you (religious or otherwise); point out that one of our UU sources we draw from is “Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life” (see all sources here)… what other ideas do you and your children have?
Also, how are you doing? Remember we have pastoral care through our ministers and volunteers if you or a family member is needing some support or processing right now.
Conversation Resources for Tragic Events
You know your child(ren) best and can modify these as you think best for your family.
1. Gun Violence and Mass Shootings: Table Talk for family conversations
Simple tips at the beginning. Later goes deeper w/ details about recent (2015-18) shootings, then at bottom question prompts and how to take action.
2. Hand in hand parenting article: Helping Children Exposed to Shocking Events
3. Good links to guide discussions (families or RE teachers):
Full packet w/ age-based resources, lesson plans, discussion prompts, etc.
4. Teaching Tolerance: Pittsburgh Shooting Reminds Us Why We Must Talk About Hate – There are some good resources through this Teaching Tolerance link. It contains an excellent perspective and call to action by educators (see intro at bottom). Below the pyramid of hate images and paragraph on the website, Teaching Tolerance has several links to teaching aids, including a film that can be streamed; school climate resources (one called Speak Up at School); lesson plans for Being an Ally, Advocate and Activist, another one for Contemporary Antisemitism and Youth; and more.
Other resources for helping children following traumatic events
The Fred Rogers Company: Resource for Helping Children Deal with Tragic Events
Talk about it: How to help your kids deal with trauma in the world
Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry has several resources for children following traumatic events and death
UUCA has an Religious Education Library!
There is a room tucked at the back of RE Commons that has a small library for families with books for parents/caregivers and children. See the library catalog Helen and Jennifer Abbott created.
We also have a selection of books in the RE Commons and other religious education classrooms. Want to borrow some? Fill out the info on the clipboard in the Religious Education Library, use gently for a few weeks, and return materials back in place. Be sure to mark “returned” on the clipboard.
Note: Please don’t confuse this with our “Little Free Library” outside the playground. The books in the Religious Education Library are for borrowing for a short time while the Little Free Library is one from which you can take and give.
A Message from Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington,
Interim Lead Minister
Greetings Members and Friends of UUCA,
Etc. Will drop in new when we have it.
I am excited and honored to have been chosen to serve as your interim minister during this time of transition and look forward to our time together. As I have gotten older and wiser, my main goal in life has been to cultivate joy in my personal life and in my ministry. I tell you this because though we have a lot of hard work to do, we are first going to take time to get to know each other and have fun together. I want to learn about your accomplishments, challenges, joys, and concerns as well as your hopes and dreams for the future. And we will be carefully navigating the complex challenge of returning to church as the pandemic restrictions are gradually lifted.
As an accredited interim minister (AIM), I have completed multiple trainings and enjoyed years of successful service to multiple UU congregations. I love doing this specialized type of ministry and have claimed as my motto “Love them and leave them.” Saying goodbye is the hardest part of this work but having the privilege to walk this transitional journey with Unitarian Universalist congregations has been the most significant and rewarding ministry of my career.
Rev. Cathy Harrington