Thanks to everyone who came together to make our 2020 pageant possible!
Posted in Children and Youth
Over 40 children, parents, and grandparents joined us on Saturday, December 7th for our annual Children’s Ministries Advent in the Light event. Our theme this year was prophets – both ancient and modern – and how they help us wake up to hope and pay attention to God’s message during Advent. Prophets are carriers of the messages about how God longs for our world to be, and they share these messages loudly (check out this video of Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit in September, furiously calling out world leaders for not doing more to tackle the climate crisis). We asked children and parents – what do you hope, pray, and imagine for our world this Advent? Can you think about what God wants for our world and imagine how you can be a part of that change? Before entering the labyrinth, people wrote their prayers on gold stars and then carried them into the center (these stars of hope are now hanging outside the sanctuary!). Children and adults also engaged in making play dough stars, creating 3D star ornaments for our Gift Tree in the sanctuary, painting kindness rocks, and decorating our Imagine poster. As always, the evening was filled with warmth, light and delight in coming together during this dark season to share hope and peace as a community. Enjoy the pictures from our evening together!
For three years running, the children of WCUC have been eager and enthusiastic participants in our church’s Congregational Giving campaign. Beginning in October, our children learned about our church’s finances – where our money comes from and where our money goes. And we talk about giving. What does Jesus say about money and possessions? How do people decide how much to give away? Why is giving such a good thing? Our children also want to participate in the financial health of our church and experience the gift of giving. So once again, the kids worked hard to create cards and crafts to sell at our third annual Congregational Giving sale, with all the proceeds being offered back to WCUC as our Children’s Ministries pledge for 2020. Because our giving theme this year was “Bind Us Together,” we decided to use yarn, twine, and lots and lots of needles to create our beautiful cards and our woven bracelets. Please enjoy the pictures, which show our crafting process and tell our giving story from sewing to sale! Thanks to ALL who came to support the children’s amazing efforts!
Last weekend, WCUC hosted a book sale to support children in Honduras who need medical, financial, and educational assistance. We raised over $600.00 and had a great time doing it! To read more about Emily and Tom Collins’ non-profit organization click here.
A huge thank you to all of the volunteers from WCUC that helped to make this possible – those who donated or bought books, helped with set up, the sale itself, and clean up! The left over books were donated to More Than Words, a local non-profit book store that is managed and operated by foster care youth and young adults. A special shout out to those who helped box up all of the books after the sale ended on Sunday – a great joint effort by the Youth, Sunday Fellowship and other WCUC adults.
In preparation for learning about our Congregational Giving appeal later this month, our Sunday school children heard the story of King Solomon and the construction of his great temple in Jerusalem over 3000 years ago. And what a spectacular and grand house of worship it was! The finest wood, stone, and precious jewels and metals were used in construction, prompting King Solomon to declare it a space truly worthy to worship God. But are the finest, most expensive materials necessary to worship God? We wondered this. We wondered what is really necessary to create a worship space for God – and would God care? I showed the children a slide show of 25 of the most fascinating worship spaces in the world – from an inflatable church in England to a snow church in Germany to a Hindu temple buried deep within the mountains of Nepal to a Buddhist monastery constructed so high on top of a mountain peak, no one could figure out how anyone could get in! The last picture in our slide show was of West Concord Union Church, prompting discussion about what is unique about our community and how our different spaces (the sanctuary, the Welcome Garden, North Hall, and even the parlor and the offices) make it possible to worship together. The children decided that four things are necessary for worship: a leader, people, some space, and God. Armed with those thoughts in mind, I challenged the children to create their own unique worship spaces, complete with what they felt was most important to include. The Middler class worked collaboratively, creating an incredible structure with three outdoor gardens, a stream and a waterfall! The Multiage class worked independently, using containers and a variety of materials to create their own spaces including elevators, special seating, alters, and lots of decorations. Please enjoy the pictures, and pay special attention to the level of detail our children use when creating their worship spaces. If you could create your own space, how would you design it?
Meet Jennifer Keelan, the second grader from Phoenix who, along 60 other activists with disabilities, left behind her wheelchair and crawled 83 steps in 90 degree weather to reach the door of the Capitol building. This demonstration, now known as the “Capitol Crawl,” is credited with finally convincing Congress to pass the ADA (American with Disabilities Act). It was the brainchild of Rev. Wade Blank, founder ADAPT, the political arm of the Atlantis community, a community where young people with disabilities could live independently without having to forgo all support. It was Wade Blank who encouraged Jennifer to crawl that day.
While many Americans are aware of the ADA, comparatively few have ever heard of the Capitol Crawl or the 504 Sit-in led by Judith Heumann, despite the fact that it continues holds the record for the longest running occupation of a federal building in history (The 1977 Disability Rights Protest that Broke Records and Changed Laws). The video below gives an introductory glance to the movement in less than 2 minutes.
If we wouldn’t want our children to grow up ignorant of women’s suffrage, civil rights or any other historic fight for justice, then disability rights should be no different. People of all ages and abilities at West Concord Union Church are now learning about the heroes of disability rights. We call them “disability saints” and we’re making art in the style of religious icons to honor them. Take a look below. You just might see a disability saint you recognize.
The youth kicked off the new year with their annual game night complete with pizza, board games, ice cream sundaes, ping-pong, and of course, flashlight sardines. *A huge thank you to Jane Epstein for the ping pong table and to David Sedlock for helping to transport it to the church!
More night time fun was shared at the Davis Farmland Mega Maze where we played a variety of lawn games, jumped on inflatables, pet and fed farm animals, braved the corn maze with flashlights, and enjoyed food and company around the campfires.
Faith exploration has also begun again. Our traditional “Sink a Worry, Float a Hope” ritual helps to set the stage for a year of self-reflection in light of God’s promise to walk with us always. And the beautiful weather has allowed us to experiment with different kinds of centering prayer, including a walk through the labyrinth in our Welcome Garden.
Thanks be to God for the lives of these amazing teenagers, for the adults who walk with them every day, and for the world which is blessed by their voices and visions.
Last Sunday, Melissa Tustin subbed in the Multiage and Middler classes for Jessica Torgerson while she was away, and she created an amazing lesson highlighting special Disability Saints, past and present. And what is a Disability Saint you ask? It is anyone, living or dead, who follows Jesus and does God’s work within the community of all abilities. Melissa presented a dozen saints, some still living and several in our own WCUC community, who have advocated for, supported, protested, and sometimes were even arrested for fighting for the rights of people with disabilities throughout the decades. This lesson is a part of a larger, church-wide project in October to create a huge Disability Saints mural (with the professional help of ART GYM in West Concord) to hang outside of our sanctuary. On Sunday, our Sunday school children helped to paint the background of the mural, played a memory game of past and present Disability Saints, and made a dollhouse accessible through Lego wheelchairs and ramps for all abilities. Melissa will continue to post about this project in the coming weeks, following the mural project from inception through completion. Check out the cool pictures below!
Please enjoy the photos from our fabulous day at Carver Hill Orchard in Stow on September 8th! The weather was perfect, the pizza was plentiful, and almost 80 people from Sunday Fellowship and Children’s Ministries joined together in the orchard to pick many bags of delicious apples. Such a wonderful way to start our year together!
With the help of several dedicated and hard-working volunteers, the massive clean-out of our Children’s Ministries supply closets was completed last week! After four years of heavy use, it was time for a solid purge, cleaning, and thoughtful reorganization of all our materials. It is such a gift to have this huge job conquered! Check out the before and after photos below.
A special thanks to Ruth Sedlock, Janice Smith, Melissa Gardner, Susan Coppock, and Melissa Tustin for the many hours of wading through the mess, the mice droppings, and the endless bags and boxes of trash and recycling!