YRE Update: Let It Flow Through

Six children seated around a square table with two adult OWL leaders on one side; adults have notebooks and children have yellow sticky notes; play hard and shelves of children's books and toys visible in the background - photo

Thank you for your warm welcome to the UUSM community. I am really feeling at home here with you all and just full of gratitude. If your time on our campus hasn’t taken you to the cottage lately, let me share with you that it is bursting with life, learning, and so many sources of inspiration!

Our “Littles” (K through third graders) are learning about our roots: in science and reason, in LGBTQIA affirmation and support, in UU Heritage, and more. Our fourth through sixth grade OWL kiddos are delving into gender, sexuality, and body image, exploring our values around these important topics. The Coming of Age group is currently remembering who they were as children and what that has revealed to them about belonging and who they are becoming.

All told, about 30 kind, thoughtful, and insightful young people cross my path each Sunday morning. Each brings some new reason to smile, to wonder, to bow in their direction. Sixteen of our full-grown community members regularly give of their time, talents, and wisdom in service to our young people. They are all truly the future of UUSM and our UU tradition. Not everyone is there every week. They share the load with grace and generosity. They take turns being patient, present, and hilarious.

I am so heartened by the way all these folks, all ages, show up together to be a presence of love in the world. So honored to be making my path here with this wonderful team of leaders and learners.

Children’s ministry in fraught times

Sometimes in ministry you get asked a version of, How do you hold it all? There’s so much pain and suffering in this world, and it’s too much to be present to.

In the midst of it all, my answer is: First off, don’t hold it. Don’t try to contain it. Let it flow through. Keep it moving. Second, let the joy flow through too. Let the joy flow like kids through the courtyard. Notice it every bit as much as you notice the pain of the world, and the balance will begin to reveal itself. The joys and sorrows keep one another company and restore us to possibility.

I hope you’ll notice our young people, at work and at play, on Sundays, and come to know them as they grow with our community. I hope you’ll be part of showing them that they matter, and that they are integral to the future we all contribute to and long for. And may they inspire you in return. May the gift of their presence with us bring more joy to the balance of life.