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Winter Unitarian Universalist Thread - All Welcome

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

Welcome to the Winter support, community, information, conversation, and fun thread for UUs and UU curious.

Here is the link to the previous Autumn thread.

Come on in and say "Hi", ask a question, tell a story, or feel free to just lurk for awhile.

Sorry this is late.  Winter Solstice was two days ago.  Did anyone/everyone enjoy that full moon on the solstice?  Awesome!

 

This is a very busy time of year for me, as I'm sure it is for most of us, regardless of which winter holidays we choose to celebrate.  I celebrate a secular Christmas that includes going to church on Christmas Eve and telling the nativity story as well as talking about Santa Claus and a big celebration involving light and warmth in the cold, dark days of winter.  What holidays do you celebrate and how do you celebrate them?  Does anyone celebrate Chalica as a real family celebration?

 

Here is a quote from Earth Bound by Brian Nelson


Quote:
The evergreens -- the pines and firs that provide winter color when the rest of the landscape is white and gray during this harsh time of year -- remind us that life perseveres.  Even in the most trying of times, the trees grow.  And so do you.

Wishing you all a season of peace, joy, light, and love.

candle.gif  grouphug.gif


Adele

post #2 of 60

Love the Earth Bound quote!

We are going to our first UU Christmas Eve service tomorrow and looking forward to it!

post #3 of 60

I am UU curious, I guess. innocent.gif

 

I was brought up in a secular home, with a culturally Jewish mother, and a lapsed Catholic father. My DH is non-practicing Protestant, I guess... 

 

I have been wanting to attend a UU service for years, but I guess I feel self-conscious about it, as I've never attended any church, or synagogue, of any kind. My motivation is to seek out a place to celebrate our spiritual lives and connections with one another & our community for our family. Also, I very much want my boys to have an initiation ceremony when they are older, of some kind, and figure we need a community to do it within. I think it would be a good fit for our family.

 

Maybe in the new year.

 

post #4 of 60

Thanks as always Adele! I loved the quote- such a great reminder to me right now!

 

Similar story here as far as celebrations this time of year. I am really looking forward to the Christmas Eve service tomorrow. I have always loved going to church on this night for the carol singing, candle-light and abundance of uplifting energy. It is particularly exciting as it is our first Christmas Eve service in a new UU congregation.

 

We haven't taken on Chalica yet but I am interested to hear what others are doing.

 

Enjoy tomorrow night columbusmomma!

 

Daisymama12: if you don't have plans for Christmas Eve, I encourage you to go!!! It would be a lovely night to dip your toes in the water!

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful celebration, whatever form it takes for you!

post #5 of 60

I'm new to the MDC UU threads... and also new to UUism :)  Last march I started attending a very large UU church (largest in the world, actually) and I love it.  It's kind of a challenge b/c I was raised Christian (Catholic to be precise) and I am not a Christian any longer.  I have not really gotten to a place where I feel comfortable talking about this with my extended family.  And now that Christmas is here, everyone keeps talking about Jesus' birthday and it just sort of makes me squirm.  Plus, I really really wanted to celebrate the soltice this year by lighting a fire in a chimenae or fire pit or something, but my FIL said, "it's the feast of St. Thomas and we're not doing a fire."  So instead I went out by myself and tried to view the lunar eclipse, but it was cloudy where we were and I couldn't see the moon.  I tried.

 

Anyway, I'm completely loving my new church.  It's really wonderful to be part of a community that is open and accepting of all different kinds of people.  My church has an AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME children's program, that I'm looking forward to being more a part of as DS gets older.  We also have a great MUMs group.  And I'm on the steering committee for our women's group.

 

Are any of you planning on going to the SWUUW conference in Dallas in March?

post #6 of 60
Thread Starter 

Welcome.gif to the new thread, everyone!

 

columbusmomma:  I'm glad you like the quote.  I have used quotes and excerpts I have found in Earth Bound for RSC meetings and suggested service readings as well as these threads.  It is a great book.

 

daisymama:  When I first started attending church I hadn't been to any church at all since I went once or twice with my grandparents when I was about 3 and I was really nervous!  As I always say on this thread, it was soooo worth it!  And the church was very relaxed and welcoming and made it much easier for me.  Church has provided a wonderful community for my daughter as well.  My church just started a Coming of Age program last year.  My daughter is not old enough yet, but everyone I have talked to thought it was just wonderful.

 

shanniesue:  That is great that you have found such a  wonderful UU church for you!  I think this time of year must be particularly difficult when it comes to dealing with extended family spiritual issues.  Just yesterday I was talking with the DRE at my church.  Her parents are strict Lutheran and are coming for the holidays, which is causing her lots of stress.  I think I am very fortunate not to have to deal with that at all.  I think it's great you tried to observe the solstice anyway.  Sorry you couldn't see the moon.  Actually, I heard from several UU's for whom clouds or snow obscured the sky, so I guess I lucked out there too.  I hope you are able to enjoy the remainder of the holidays without too much stress or conflict!

 

Hi Stargirl!  Thanks for being so active and supportive to everyone on these threads and writing such great posts.

 

I hope everyone who is going enjoys the Christmas Eve services tomorrow!

 

Peace.

 

Adele

post #7 of 60

Hi everyone, I'm glad to be here. Adele_Mommy, Earth Bound looks like a wonderful source!

 

We've been very happily attending our local UU church for about six weeks now (this is my first time going to a UU church). At first it was just dd1 and me as dd2 was sleeping later and staying home with Daddy. But now dd2's going to sleep earlier and waking earlier so she's come along for the past three Sundays, and dd1's girlfriend who frequently spends Saturday nights has come with us for a couple of Sundays also; I wasn't sure if her parents would want her to come, since the other church they've sent her to is fundamentalist, but I told her mom the name of the church making sure to add "Unitarian Universalist" and she was totally cool with it.

 

Both girls just love the children's program. It is just so very, very, very child-friendly. I think it helps that some of the other families that go are unschoolers like we are, so it's very play-based and dd1, who is ten, loves it that she can knit during storytime.

 

I've been enjoying each and every service and also the "coffee-klatch" time in the cafe during the first hour (adults have the option of Sunday School, a forum where social issues are discussed, or hangin' out in the cafe). I plan to get started soon volunteering 2x a month in the children's area as there is a big need for more volunteers.

 

Dd1 is really enjoying the children's choir. The choir leader is just wonderful -- a professional singer but also very fun and relaxed with the children, which I've heard is a pretty rare combination.

post #8 of 60

Oops, I didn't mean to make it sound like I was dissing professional musicians -- just that I've heard that if you're really gifted in this area, it's sometimes hard to adjust your standards to children.

 

In the church choir that dd1 was a part of for a few months last year, I feel the leader tried to be nice to me but we just really weren't "her kind of people." Dd1 has had no formal voice training or formal musical experience, which I hadn't realized was so unusual for a 9yo. We also unschool and she's very active.

 

Well, the leader really tried to be nice but after the first or second practice, she took me aside and told me that she was wanting to help dd but it was really hard, because they'd all been a group for a long time, and were actually working on a song they'd sung the previous year. So they were all familiar with it and she said it was just really hard having this new child coming in who not only wasn't familiar with that song, but was also having a hard time even singing on-key.

 

I was about to just take dd out but then she added that she really wanted to work with dd but was just trying to help me understand how stressful it was for her. She didn't say any of this in front of dd or the other children. When I talked with dd later (not repeating all of this of course), she was really gun-ho for wanting to stay in choir, though she didn't like it that they had to stand for so long and didn't really appreciate the 100% classical music. So she stayed in a little longer, and actually went to the end of year party last May, and then we fell out of going to that church; dd1 just found parts of it really boring and it seemed there wasn't enough fun stuff to make up for the boring parts.

 

I liked alot of things about that church, but it just seemed that we didn't 100% fit there. I think we were probably the lowest income family there, and maybe most of the other children really had had formal voice training from an early age. They also seemed to be accustomed to sitting still more and listening to Bible readings and so on. Dd really likes the much more active and open style of the UU children's program. In other churches, they seem to discontinue the long free-play sessions once the children are past pre-school age, so it's nice to finally be part of a congregation where they understand that older kids still do most of their learning through playing, too.


Edited by mammal_mama - 12/27/10 at 6:11pm
post #9 of 60

well the rest of our trip was pretty good!  Not too much pressure from the ILs.  I just sort of avoided specific talk about church and it was fine.  DS had a great time playing with his cousins so that was nice.  We did go to SILs church for Christmas Eve.  And even my Christian DH wasn't impressed.  The whole theme was "making room for Jesus" and they ended the sermon with a "Christmas" themed version of the "Jesus come into my heart salvation prayer."  There was also this solo that a young man sang that was all about Bethlehem sleeping while the king was coming.  It was fine, really, until he got to the verse about the United States of America and philosophies that "save trees and kill children."  Huh?

 

But really, once we got through that, it was all okay.  And we had a really lovely time over all.  I did get the oppportunity to watch my church's service online yesterday (we do live streaming).  And we had a guest preacher (Bishop Carlton Pearson) who gave a very insightful sermon.  The thing that I have really appreciated about my church is that EVERY sermon and service has seemed just so relevant to my life.  I swear, when our ministers sit down to write their sermons, I'm just sure they are thinking, "what does Shannan need to hear this week?"

 

We have a women's retreat coming up at the end of January.  Kate Braestrup (author of "Here when you need me," "Marriage and other acts of charity" and "Beginner's Grace") is our keynote speaker.  I got one of her books for Christmas, and I'm a few chapters into it... I'm really looking forward to hearing and talking to her in person!  We're also going to have workshops on art, singing, white crane silat, spirituality and sexuality, knitting, ecstatic dance, and I can't remember what else.  There are going to be pedicures and chair massage by appointment.  I'm really looking forward to it!  Last year's retreat was really fantastic.  And this year's is looking to be great as well :)

 

Adele_mommy:  Our church offers a coming of age program, too.  For the 9th graders.  As part of the program, the kids do a lot of self exploration and write their own credos that they present to the congregation at a special coming of age service at the end of the year.  I often wish that they had a similar program for the adults (although I would want to pass on standing up in front of the congregation).

post #10 of 60

hi! I really need to start attending. i miss going to church every sunday. i just didnt have a church to go to since i changed my religion/beliefs. i am excited to read more about how your UU church does it. the closest one to me is 20 miles away but i plan to start going as soon as the driving gets beter.

post #11 of 60
Thread Starter 

Your church sounds great, mammal_mama!  I'm glad you found a place where you feel like you fit in.  I love that your dd knits during storytime.  orngbiggrin.gif  I have been known to crochet or do needlework during meetings and forums at my church, and at Wednesday night activities there is usually a group hanging out in the gathering area talking with several people crocheting or knitting while they chat.  winky.gif

post #12 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanniesue2 View Post

well the rest of our trip was pretty good!  Not too much pressure from the ILs.  I just sort of avoided specific talk about church and it was fine.  DS had a great time playing with his cousins so that was nice.  We did go to SILs church for Christmas Eve.  And even my Christian DH wasn't impressed.  The whole theme was "making room for Jesus" and they ended the sermon with a "Christmas" themed version of the "Jesus come into my heart salvation prayer."  There was also this solo that a young man sang that was all about Bethlehem sleeping while the king was coming.  It was fine, really, until he got to the verse about the United States of America and philosophies that "save trees and kill children."  Huh?

 

But really, once we got through that, it was all okay.  And we had a really lovely time over all.  I did get the oppportunity to watch my church's service online yesterday (we do live streaming).  And we had a guest preacher (Bishop Carlton Pearson) who gave a very insightful sermon.  The thing that I have really appreciated about my church is that EVERY sermon and service has seemed just so relevant to my life.  I swear, when our ministers sit down to write their sermons, I'm just sure they are thinking, "what does Shannan need to hear this week?"

 

We have a women's retreat coming up at the end of January.  Kate Braestrup (author of "Here when you need me," "Marriage and other acts of charity" and "Beginner's Grace") is our keynote speaker.  I got one of her books for Christmas, and I'm a few chapters into it... I'm really looking forward to hearing and talking to her in person!  We're also going to have workshops on art, singing, white crane silat, spirituality and sexuality, knitting, ecstatic dance, and I can't remember what else.  There are going to be pedicures and chair massage by appointment.  I'm really looking forward to it!  Last year's retreat was really fantastic.  And this year's is looking to be great as well :)

 

Adele_mommy:  Our church offers a coming of age program, too.  For the 9th graders.  As part of the program, the kids do a lot of self exploration and write their own credos that they present to the congregation at a special coming of age service at the end of the year.  I often wish that they had a similar program for the adults (although I would want to pass on standing up in front of the congregation).


I'm glad your time with your ILs wasn't too painful!

 

I feel the same way you do about my minister's sermons - like he's talking directly to me.  I love that!

 

I have been wanting to read Here if You Need Me.    That is so cool you get to meet Kate Braestrup!  Please post here after your retreat and let us know what it was like.  loveeyes.gif

 

 

post #13 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionessMom View Post

hi! I really need to start attending. i miss going to church every sunday. i just didnt have a church to go to since i changed my religion/beliefs. i am excited to read more about how your UU church does it. the closest one to me is 20 miles away but i plan to start going as soon as the driving gets beter.



Welcome.gif LionessMom!

 

 

Where in Iowa are you, if you don't mind my asking?  I attend the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.  The Prairie Star District Conference is going to be in Des Moines this year, so I will be meeting people from lots of other UU churches around the state too.

post #14 of 60



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adele_Mommy View Post





Welcome.gif LionessMom!

 

 

Where in Iowa are you, if you don't mind my asking?  I attend the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.  The Prairie Star District Conference is going to be in Des Moines this year, so I will be meeting people from lots of other UU churches around the state too.



 i am closest to cedar rapids and iowa city. the one i was thinking about starting at is in cedar rapids. i really think my kids would enjoy going.

post #15 of 60

Hi ladies!  I've been away from MDC for a while but when I came to check things out (holy cats is the formatting all different) the first place I wanted to go was the UU thread.  Thank you so much Adele for always keeping on top of starting a thread.  For those of you new to UU and this thread, I'm a rarity here... a life long UU lol.gif over 40 years as of last summer.  My dad is a UU minister, I took a break from going to church (except foo things like Christmas eve) when he moved to another part of the country when I was in my mid 20's and suddenly I realized going to church hearing someone other than my dad preach was a really weird thing for me.  I had grown up going to many different congregations but always had the same minister.  I started going back to church regularly when i was 33 and 8 months pregnant with my son.  He's going to be 7 years old in two weeks. The only time we miss church now is if one of the kids are sick.

 

Much has been happening this year.  Our congregation welcomed a new part time minister.  She's good, but change is difficult for many, me too sometimes.  At the same time I love that she and our new church president, who started her term the same month our new minister arrived, diving in and creating forums to get the congregation to discuss what it wants to be.  I know that sounds very 70's but our church needs to define itself.  At least I think so, and once it does it needs to move in that direction.  For the last 9 years we have gone through a lot of changes in that we moved from twice a month meeting at 4 in the afternoon to every wk, then a new location that allowed us to meet in the mornings, a more traditional time, and then another move to a location that allowed us to have up to three RE classes or two classes plus baby and toddler care.  We grew in numbers slowly and steadily to support these changes, our previous minister was working 3/4 time.  But things sort of stalled out.  We stopped growing, we struggled to get people to volunteer to teach RE.  The same people who always did it were getting burnt out.  We tried to reorganize things and doing things differently worked for about a year.  But now I think it wasn't really a great system, it was just a different one so that's why it got participation for a while.  We lost people, families.  And that bothers me the most.  Because I go to church for my kids.  I go to this church for my kids it's close to us and some of the kids that were in the RE program lived in the neighborhood and went tot he same school.  And I loved the idea of my kids growing up and not having to repeatedly hear the words, "You're a Uni-what?"  So anyway I'm having a bit of a hard time with it.  I'd love to hear about how you congregations go about teaching sunday school. 

post #16 of 60

There's been no RE for the last couple of weeks, so we haven't been attending. I just can't manage two little ones in service by myself. Still, I'm looking forward to start going again. Happy 2011! Any predictions or resolutions for the new year?

post #17 of 60

Well, we missed this morning. Dd1's girlfriend spent the night, the one who'd been enjoying coming with us (I'd thought), then last night she told dd that she thought it was bad that they don't pray at our church. When dd told me about it this morning, I said that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and her friend doesn't have to come to church with us if she doesn't want to. Dd's friend said she'd rather stay at our house, and at first dd was still wanting to go to church, so I offered to drop her friend off at her house while we went and then pick her up when we came back, but she said she didn't want to go home because it's boring at her house.

 

Dh was intending to drop us off at church, do the grocery shopping, and then come back, and I didn't think it would be a good idea to either leave dd's 8yo friend at our home alone, or have her spending time with just dh alone (because of the way our society can be when it comes to men spending time alone with kids who aren't their own, just seems like a road we don't need to go down) ... so I said if she didn't want to go to her house for that time, she'd need to come along. It was really her choice.

 

Then dd1 said she'd actually kind of like to stay home. Dd2 really likes church, but was pretty happy to go out with dh to get a milkshake and then do the grocery shopping. And I've been having a lot of back and leg pain for the past couple of days, which is unusual for me, so I've been very tired and decided it'd be great to just stay home and relax.

 

But I don't want to miss again next week, so I'm not sure how we'll handle the fact that dd wants her friend to come nearly every weekend, and her friend wants to come, too. But I guess our church doesn't match her idea of what a church should be doing. When I change my work schedule in late March (I work from home doing English training over the phone), I can start doing overnights on Friday nights but for right now I work so many hours on Friday nights that this just won't work.

post #18 of 60

Hi All,

 I started a blog about being UU and a homeschooler.

It is just a beginning, but i thought it might be helpful to some.

 

 

http://uuhomeschooling.blogspot.com/

 

I will eventually write about raising kids UU as part of homeschooling curriculum, we are also nature oriented (well Pagan really but I don't always use the Pagan description on public things).

 

post #19 of 60

Mammal-mama I'm sorry that DD's friend prevented you from going to church. My kids aren't yet flexible about church.  My son will be 7 this month and my daughter is 3.5 and one of the worst threats I can make on a Sunday morning is that if they don't move to get dressed faster I'm leaving them home and going to church without them.  They LOVE going.  And so far I am not willing to mess with that.  We go every week.  I'd have given the little girl the option of joining us or dropping her of at her own house.

 

 

Revolting I'm lucky that they provide some sort of child care even if there is not RE.  Last week the regular teen that watches the toddlers and babies was unable to be thee, so the church president watched/played with my 3 year old.  It wasn't always like this and I still think in many ways the congregation struggles with how to make families with children feel welcome. 

post #20 of 60

artgoddess, dd actually told me the other day that she doesn't want her friend to spend the night this weekend because she's been getting on her nerves. She also wants to go to church. So we haven't called her and I suppose if she calls we'll tell her not this weekend.

 

I will really be glad in late March when my schedule changes so that it's easier to do overnights on Friday nights instead of Saturday nights -- not that I'm not cool with taking children along, but then the parents need to know what church we're going to and give permission, and so on. And I really feel proud to be UU, it's not like there's any shame or anything, but I feel like it can kind of make religion an issue in my children's friendships when it doesn't need to be.

 

I also want to start sometimes visiting the Gaia community which meets at around 4 on Sunday afternoons at another UU church in our area, a little bit farther out in the suburbs. But I hesitate to do so when dd's friend is with us because I know we'd be enjoying earth-based rituals that would seem strange to dd's friend (this would also be very new to my girls and me), and of course I'd need to ask parental permission and I'm not really sure how to explain Gaia. All in all, doing overnights on Fridays seems like the easiest way to protect our freedom to explore spiritually in the ways that we want to on Sundays. The Gaia community sounds very child-friendly by the way.


Edited by mammal_mama - 1/5/11 at 8:59pm
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