Here we are in mid July! The long hot days have me fantasizing about the fall – which means I am also thinking about the launch of our 2022-23 Religious Exploration Program. RE staff is currently busy recruiting volunteers, creating calendars, as well as imagining all the amazing things that we will do this year with our children, youth, and families. The best way to help us plan is to register your children and youth for Religious Exploration as well as signing up for a role in our cooperative program. You can find out more about what we’re offering and sign up via our registration form here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfNl5syRDifDP6N-Pgm2_GRm0YTXjPCvg4cWcIcEKhRKrDoKA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Religious Exploration will kick off on Sunday, September 11. Beginning on that day, we will return to our pre pandemic schedule of everyone beginning together in the Sanctuary for the chalice lighting and story for all ages. Children, youth, and volunteers will leave the Sanctuary to go to their classes together after the story.

We are also meeting on most Sundays this summer for fun (and sometimes dirty!) play and serving our earth and congregation with small service projects. This Sunday, July 24th we will all begin in the Sanctuary to hear a special story from our worship leader, Tobias Van Buren. Children and youth who attend are encouraged to bring a toy or stuffed octopus if they have one. We will head downstairs after the story to have an indoor play day. It is forecasted to be in the 90’s on Sunday, so for everyone’s safety and comfort, we’ll play inside this week.

On Sunday, July 31st we will begin downstairs in RE Commons for a campus litter clean up and a visit to the Little Free Pantry on Charlotte St. to restock it for our neighbors and friends. If you’d like to bring some items to go in the pantry, we are needing the following items: Canned meals / food with pop tops, bottled water, socks, sunscreen, first aid supplies, and dental hygiene items.

As many of you already know, we lost our beloved, recently retired minister, Rev. Mark Ward suddenly on Wednesday, July 13th. While our newer families didn’t have a chance to get to know Mark, we know that some of our children and youth very much remember Mark. We wanted to share some resources for you from our friends at the UU Trauma Response ministry, in addition to the resources already located on our website (https://uuasheville.org/family-ministry/). You can find more resources for children, youth, and adults here: https://www.uutrm.org/resources/

We will celebrate Mark’s life and gifts to the congregation on Friday, July 29th at 3 pm. This past Sunday in RE we created a grief altar for Rev. Mark as well as others that we have lost. We will leave it up for the next few weeks, and any children or youth who would like to contribute is welcome to do so on Sunday mornings. There are small candles, stones, and shells available to be added to the altar.