Posted in Children and Youth

All Ages and Abilities Celebrate “Disability Saints” Through Art

  • October 9, 2019

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.

Fall Brings Faith, Food, and Fun to Youth Group

  • October 2, 2019

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.

Celebrating Disability Saints in Sunday School

  • September 18, 2019

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!

Fun, fellowship, and apples!

  • September 18, 2019

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!

Pentecost, teachers, graduates, and ICE CREAM!

  • June 13, 2019

On an absolutely gorgeous first Sunday of Pentecost, we celebrated our graduating seniors, thanked our talented teaching staff and Children’s Ministries members moving onto different roles, welcomed the Rev. Dr. Jim Antal as our guest preacher calling us to action on climate change, had a ridiculously fun time playing games in Sunday school, and enjoyed the sunshine outside with watermelon and ice cream. Such a perfect way to end our programming year at WCUC. Enjoy the pics!

Celebrating Children’s Ministries Sunday

  • June 6, 2019

Enjoy the wonderful photos capturing our very special Children’s Ministries service last Sunday, featuring our children leading all aspects of worship. An interactive drama (complete with a holy prison escape!), very special songs, and a fun sermon with streamers helped to create an energetic – and adorable – experience for all.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

  • June 3, 2019

Fun times with the Miracle League of Massachusetts baseball organization! Spirits were high, smiles were plentiful, and the sun was shining brightly on this fabulous afternoon. Not sure who had more fun…the players or the youth group buddies? We are so thankful for this opportunity which has now become a favorite youth group tradition!

Living the Questions

  • May 30, 2019

“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

With these words in mind, the youth recently ventured into the woods to listen for God’s wisdom in nature and to ponder the questions on our hearts. Witness what WCUC Youth are thinking about these days…

“What does it mean to be a Christian?”

“Why did God create people who are homophobic or racist?”

“What is the difference between God and Jesus?”

“What does God have control over?”

“What happens to us when we die?”

“What is heaven like?”

“Is there only one right religion?”

“Does God love people who don’t believe in him/her?”

“If Jesus is still with us, why doesn’t he preach like he used to?”

“Why do people believe in that which isn’t supported by scientific evidence?”

“Why do bad things sometimes happen to good people?”

“Does anyone deserve bad things?”

“When did life begin?”

“How can we help educate Christians who don’t believe in science?”

“How can God be real if his so-called ‘followers’ go against his teachings?”

Dads lead Sunday School!

While moms and teachers were attending the women’s retreat last weekend, the dads combined forces to lead the Multiage and Middler classes in a lesson with lots of action and energy. Beginning with an interactive drama (that we will perform on Children’s Sunday!) featuring some disciples, a jail, chains, and an earthquake, the kids (and dads) jumped right into the fun. Upon reflection after the drama, the children thought about what binds them (worries, nervous thoughts, insecurities) and how God helps to free them while the dads wrapped up groups of kids with crepe paper. God’s love then shook them up like an earthquake and the kids wriggled free of the bindings! Lots of laughter – lots of mess – so much fun! Creating prop chains, making disciple signs, and building Lego scenes of the drama rounded out the day with the dads. Many thanks to Josh Torgerson, Jeff Tustin, and Carlin Andrus for leading the day while the moms were away!