September Newsletter for Families – 9/17 edition

September RE Newsletter
for Sept 17

I’m trying something new this year. – a monthly newsletter for you that I’ll updated weekly with fresh info about what’s happening in RE this Sunday morning;  ways for you to bring the message home; and notification on family-oriented events and adult ed offerings geared to parents and caretakers.

The Theme for September is Welcome

Children have their own styles and habits of welcoming. Like adults, some are outgoing among circles of friends and family, and even strangers. Trust can come naturally to some when they see how adults generally warm up to an enthusiastic greeting.
Other children are shy and turn away from a friendly face. You’ve seen little children turn to bury their faces  in the legs, laps or shoulders of their caretakers or parents; some teens lower their heads and mumble “hello” to elders they don’t know well. Being welcoming is a skill you can work on with your child.
Read More
If you haven’t already, please fill out your RE Registrations today!
It gives me all the info I need to create rosters, decorate the rooms and stock the closets. And the volunteer guides can learn more about your child and welcome them.You can fill it out line  or print the form out and bring it with you on Sunday or mail it to FUUSA; 405 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12206

 Welcoming Every Day

Here’s a bookmark created by my colleague Robin Slaw at the UU Congregation in Colombia, MD.
I’ll have some printed up and available at Albany UU, but here’s a sneak peek.
Each week there is a challenge for your child and a message you can use to have a chat with your child sometime when you chance during the day – at breakfast, waiting for the bus, in the car, at dinner time or bed time.

This Sunday, Sept 17
Children in Pre-k through 6th grade will start the morning with their families in the service starting at 10:00. Then they will go to their groups (Sunday school) until 11:20. Parents and caretakers of younger children often walk upstairs with their children and settle them in. Parents and caretakers of 3rd graders may want to go with their children to their room (B-3/4) since this is the first year they will meet downstairs.
IN THE SERVICE – The children will play a role in a commissioning ceremony for their RE volunteers this Sunday. Their unison words for the ceremony are “We appreciate the time, energy, and love that you will be sharing with us this year.” The words will be in the order of service, but you might want to practice with your child before Sunday.The Nursery/Toddler Room opens at 9:45

Children in third grade and younger are to be picked up from their rooms promptly at 11:20. Our RE volunteers need to gather their things and pick up their own children at that time.

Picnic in Washington Park near the playground after Sunday school. See separate segment below.

YSOP meeting for interested Senior High youth and their caretakers noon- 1:00 in room 24/25. See separate segment below

Rite of Passage Meet Up in room 26 from 1:00 – 3:00. See separate segment below

Taking It Home 
Conversation Starters on What’s Happening in Each Group This Week (with a # for each UU Principle taught)
Red Group (pre-k) The group read the book “It Looked Like Spilt Milk”. Take a look at the sky with your child and invite them to imagine images in the clouds. #4th Principle
Orange Group (K/1stThe children heard the story, “The Grumpy Gecko,” which showed that all living beings on the Earth are connected on a great invisible web of life. Discuss the ways members of your family are interdependent and the ways each individuals of you influences one another. #7th Principle Read more…
Yellow Group (2nd) The children learned to recognize signs, symbols, and rituals inside and outside our congregation that show we live our Unitarian Universalist faith. As a family, talk about the activities you most like to do together. Could one of these activities become a ritual? #4th Principle Read more…
Blue Group (3rd/4th) The children were introduced to the central idea of the Faithful Journeys curriculum: Unitarian Universalists express faith in our actions and behaviors. Read and talk about the Principles together. #3rd Principle Read more…
Indigo Group (5th) and Violet Group (6th)  The children will hear the story of Noah, and the covenant that God makes with creation following the flood. Talk about… what covenant means. How is a covenant the same as or different than a promise? Who makes covenants? Do you have any family covenants? #2nd Principle. Read more…
7th/8th Grade OWL – Workshop 1 – What is Sexuality? #1st Principle
Annual Picnic this Sunday
It’s our tradition to celebrate the start of the RE year with an informal picnic in Washington Park. We’ll gather near the playground in Washington Park shortly after Sunday school ends until about 2:00. Bring your own lunch and blanket or chairs and your favorite lawn game to share. Come meet a new friend!
Parents and Caretakers of Senior High Youth 
YSOP Meeting (the service trip to NYC in March 2018) This Sunday
Informational meeting for the YSOP trip to NYC in March is this Sunday from noon to one. We are limited to 10 youth participants.  At this meeting we’ll go over the YSOP program itself, our future meetings (outside Sunday school) and fundraising. There will be a $50-$20 (sliding scale) deposit for participants due no later than October 9.
Meet Up for Rite of Passage Participants this Sunday
I’m happy that 9 of the 12 respondents to my doodle poll are able to come to another meet up this Sunday.  If you haven’t responded yet, please do as soon as you can.

I’ll have new games for us to play. And if you have a fave – bring it along. I have some left over snacks from last time. Would you like to bring fresh fruit, veggies and cheese? Or should I order pizza? Let me know by commenting in the doodle poll

Check out this resource for you – A Handbook for Families.
You can check here when you have a question   about our Religious Education Program, Like “What’s the program look like this fall?” or  “When are the Family Chapels and Mulitgenerational services?” or “What are the health guidelines to help me know when I can bring my child?” I’m always updating it, so check here first when you have a question.
Button, Button, who’s got a button – at home?
We’re making name buttons for children who are new to us this fall and for anyone who needs one. If you’re a returning family and your child needs a new button, please email Tammy Hathaway at
We’re better together.
It’s a blessing for me to be on this journey of faith formation, service and community with you and I enjoy hearing from you. Let me know how I can support you.

in joyful service,

About Leah

Leah and her husband, Kevin Purcell, live in Albany. They have two grown daughters that were raised at Albany UU. Leah has served as DRE at Albany UU since 2007; before that she worked in both private and public schools. She served as Chair of the Seaway Chapter of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) and now serves on the LREDA Board.

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