Every year the WCUC youth look forward to one of their favorite traditions – baking pies during worship with Ann Schummers on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Usually, they meet in the church kitchen to make the pies and while they’re baking, the youth write notes to members of our church community, and then the pies are distributed after the worship service. This year, however, we needed to make this happen in new ways. The youth met via zoom from our own kitchens to make the pies and the write notes “together”. We also relied on Congregational Care members for help to fulfill all of the orders and to make some of the deliveries. It was a great team effort and by all accounts, a fun way to make an old thing new. A huge thanks to everyone who participated!
Posted in Children and Youth
In trying to take advantage of the gorgeous weather this fall, the youth have enjoyed once a month outings out in nature. After kayaking in September on the Concord river, the group ventured to Acton in October to explore the Nashoba Brook trails. https://trails.actonma.gov/nashoba-brook/
Our next destination was going to be Walden Pond, but too many others had the same thought on that sunny day in November, so we quickly made a Plan B and ended up in the nearby Hapgood Wright Town Forest. https://www.concordma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2090/Hapgood-Wright-Town-Forest-Trail-Guide
Soon we discovered that sometimes Plan B turns out to be better than Plan A! Walking along the trails we enjoyed several art exhibits, “fairyland pond”, and eventually the “reflection circle” – a beautiful sanctuary of stone benches with carved words of wisdom from various spiritual teachers. It was the perfect place to gather, rest, and reflect before heading home.
One year ago, Sunday Fellowship and Children’s Ministries partnered with the Village Art room to create a communal icon of depicting Jesus, the Disabled God, with the saints of the disability rights movement. Little did we know that one of our favorite disability saints, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, would see her image on our icon and want to connect with us.
After weeks of careful preparation, representatives from Sunday Fellowship and Children’s Ministries interviewed Keelan-Chaffins and her mother. It was fascinating to hear Keelan-Chaffins talk about becoming “a master of talking with the media by the time [she] was six and half” and explaining the social model of disability. Highlight clips from the 37 minute interview are posted below. The entire interview can be viewed here.
Sunday Fellowship is also making T shirts with the image of Jesus as the Disabled God on the front and Rebekah Anderson’s powerful meditation “The Body of God” on the back. The cost is $25 per shirt (add $8 with shipping) but financial assistance is available. To order a T shirt, use this link.
Thanks be to God for Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins and all the saints of the disability rights movement!
Jessica and Children’s Ministry offered these reflections on the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:43-49).
During September, Jessica led our Sunday school on an exploration of the scripture story of the Ten Commandments. During worship, the kids retold the story and then Jessica offered these reflections:
The Children’s Ministries apple picking tradition lived on this year! 27 adults and children safely gathered on a bright and sunny Saturday morning to reconnect after a VERY long spring and summer apart. What a wonderful morning it was! Enjoy the smattering of pictures as we crisscrossed each other in the orchard, rejoicing in each other’s company.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the WCUC staff lined up in front of our church to wave and bless a steady stream of cars as we kick off our fall season together. It was wonderful to see so many smiling (we could tell under the masks!) faces. Enjoy the pictures of our reverse parade!
Check out the pictures to see what many of our families were up to this summer!
This past year, seven young people gathered monthly with Joyce and Hannah to explore Christian beliefs and practices. These students have put in time and effort, and like many of us, they have not yet come up with many definitive answers about their own beliefs. So on Confirmation Sunday they shared some of their values and questions with us today. We’ve taken statements from all of the students and mixed them up together, and I’m grateful that many of the students got together virtually to record it. I invite you to listen to them and to consider what you value, and what you wonder about God, Jesus, Spirit, and Church.
by Jessica Torgerson
I met with Hannah earlier this spring to talk about Children’s Sunday and to plan out how, exactly, we were going to do this. To be honest, March and April were a blur of anxiety and stress and uncertainty for me and it was hard to wrap my head around planning a brand new medium for Children’s Sunday. I felt pretty lost at times, without a map, but doing my best to navigate this new normal. So this is my headspace when Hannah suggests adapting pretty much the entire book of Exodus into a drama for Children’s Sunday, but focusing mainly on the Israelites in the wilderness – wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Can you imagine the fear, the uncertainty, the frustration the Israelites must have felt? Well, yeah. Yeah I kind of can, and our children can, and I bet you can too. This pandemic uprooted our lives just about as fast as the Israelites were uprooted when they fled Egypt. In the span of four days in March we went from pretty much business as usual to shut down, shuttered at home. No map. We were all wandering in fear, uncertainty and frustration.
Once freed from slavery, the Israelites were not too happy about their new nomad lifestyle. “When are we gonna be there? There’s nothing to eat! Do you even have a plan?” These were complaints that Moses and Aaron and Miriam had to address with God’s help. I’ve heard those same type of questions in my house recently. When are we going back to school? When can I see my friends? Do we have to wear these masks everywhere? When will this be over and we can go back to normal? Why is there no flour at the grocery store?! It is hard to wander without a map, without many answers. God heard the complaints of hunger from the Israelites and answered with a shower of sweet, flaky starch every morning. God heard the frustration and anger and confusion and gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments – a roadmap of how to live together as a community. And God heard the desperation and fear of the wandering mass and promised to lead them with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, never leaving them.
When we talked about this story in Sunday school, we noticed the similarities between the wandering Israelites and all the uncertainty in our own lives right now. But is God helping us and leading us right now, just as in the Exodus story? We compared God to a lighthouse, leading boats through a storm, providing comfort and safety, like a beacon home to those who may be lost. I asked the children, “What is your lighthouse right now? Who is helping you to find comfort and safety?”
My lighthouse is my teacher sending me school work to do every day because I really like school and I was really sad when I couldn’t go anymore
My lighthouse is doing a Zoom with my friends
I do crafts with my neighborhood and we share the crafts. We all do a different one and we share it on the computer.
I can FaceTime my friends and that makes me happy
We do more movie nights with my family and I like that. It’s fun.
And all the children mentioned some combination of hikes, walks, bike rides, and being out in the sun. Sunshine seems to help everything.
This is a scary and uncertain time for all of us, but particularly so for our children. Schools (and churches) are closed, routines have been upended, nothing fun is open, they are forbidden from being together with friends or even grandparents, and the grown-ups don’t have many answers. They are wandering – sometimes literally – in a very new wilderness. But children are resilient, and they are excellent at looking for that pillar of cloud or fire, for that lighthouse in the distance. I wonder, what is your lighthouse right now? Who or what helps you find comfort and safety and protection as you wander in this wilderness? Do you see God at work around you, leading us through the unknown? I see God through our leaders keeping us safe with new rules and guidelines, through our healthcare workers healing and protecting us, through neighbors who drop off a few cups of flour on our porch, through friends and family who strive to connect in new and creative ways. And through our children, who teach us every day that God’s lighthouse is burning bright, helping to guide us through this stormy wilderness.
Thanks be to God.