November RE Newsletter – November 26th Edition

Here’s a monthly newsletter for Religious Exploration at home and at our congregation. I update it 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 November is Abundance

From Soul Matters, including Katie Covie, Religious Education Resource Coordinator

When it comes to abundance, our culture and our religion are clearly at odds. Our culture cries, “Accumulate!” Our religion counsels “Appreciate!” The mantras couldn’t be more different: The commercials tell us to “Go out and get what you want!” The pulpits plea with us to “learn to want what you have.”

Appreciation is central to this Thanksgiving month. Noticing the abundance around us is clearly the work we are called to do. But one wonders if that’s enough. It all depends on what you do after the noticing is done.

So, what needs to change? Maybe that’s the real question this month. What needs altered so you can dance with what is plentiful rather than worrying about what is scarce?

Read More


This Sunday, November 26


 The children in grades Pre-k through 6th grade will start the morning with their families in the service in Emerson Hall. Instead of a story, we’ll be singing the chant “What We Need Is Here” as we did in Family Chapel on Nov 12. I’ll be inviting the children up front to help me teach the chant to the congregation. Click on the link here to review or learn the chant. 

Then the children will go to their groups until 11:20
•    Red group (pre-K) – meets on their own in their room
•    Orange and Yellow Groups (K-2nd) meet together in the Orange Group Room (#26)
•    Blue, Indigo and Violet (3rd-6th) meet together in the Blue Group Room (B-3/4)

Both these multi-age groups  heard a story about homelessness – Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting and will discuss it in age appropriate ways. Then the children in each group will pack “Blessing Bags” for you to keep in your car and give to people in need. They are gallon zip-loc bags with nonperishable food items and toiletries. Often we see people by the traffic lights by shopping malls or in other places looking for donations, usually money. These bags are a way to show compassion. And yes, there are criticisms of Blessing Bags – that the practice is demeaning to people, as if they can’t be trusted with money. But children need to have hands on experience with compassion – both in the giving and receiving.  You might consider having your child put some of their own money into the bag, or put in some yourself. Talk to your child about the humanity in those who are asking for help and encourage them to receive a thank you, a smile or a blessing in return. You can get more ideas from the Huff Post article “How Blessing Bags Can Change the World”. 

The Senior High Group will go to the first part of the service, thought the meditation this week and then go to their group. One of the youth is writing the meditation this week.

Nursery/Toddler Room opens at 9:45, as usual

Order and Pre-Pay Your Poinsettia to Support Rite of Passage This Sunday
 The culmination of the Rite of Passage Program (for 9th and 10th graders) is the heritage trip to Boston this spring. Order and pre-pay for your poinsettia at their table in Coffee Hour to help them raise funds for the trip. These are 6” plants, in red or white; $16 each or $30 for two. Payment is due when you order; make checks out to FUUSA and put Rite of Passage in the memo line. Pick up date is Dec 3. If you cannot order in person, or you cannot pick up on Dec 5, contact me
 Schedule for 7th/8th grade OWL


November 26 – Workshop 9: Sexual Orientation
December 3 – Workshop 10: Guest Panel
December 10 – Workshop 11: Sexuality and Disability

Senior High Youth Group Events Outside Sunday School  
Click this link for details about upcoming events:

Youth Con Here at Albany UU- Organized by the Upstate YAC (youth adult committee) Dec 1-3
This con be perfect for us because only one of our youth has ever been to a con and this upcoming con is to help youth and adults understand what cons are all about.  It will be organized by the Upstate NY Youth/Adult Committee and they promise a fun, exciting, and inclusive winter holiday themed con! Register here. And let me know if you have any questions. REGISTRATION ENDS WED, NOV 28. Youth are responsible to getting their own advisors. 

Parents/Caretakers of Senior High Youth –The Top 4 Reasons You Should Consider Being a Con Advisor Dec 1-3. from our regional UUA staff. 

Visit to Joseph’s House in Troy – info to follow

Equinox Thanksgiving Meal Prep – CANCELLED 

Cluster Con sponsored by Albany Youth Group here at Albany UU April 27-29 Mark your calendars

Info on the YSOP Service Trip (for interested Senior High Youth)
Check out this google doc with more info about the YSOP trip,  which I am running
Next YSOP events:Chalice necklace making workshop to raise money Nov 19 after Sunday school was cancelled. Our plan was to sell the jewelry at the Albany UU Bazaar Dec 3 at Coffee Hour  Any one have expertise in making jewelry using Sculpey? And who can meet this Saturday, Nov 25 to make  jewelry?  Please fill out this doodle poll ASAP. 
Rite of Passage 
Mateo Newell is volunteering at the Poinsettia Table during Coffee Hour this week.
We are on for babysitting Sat, Dec 9 and Sat, Dec 16 from noon to 4:00 each day!
Parents’ Afternoon Out – Rite of Passage Fundraiser Dec 9 and 16
This fundraiser is to help us get to Boston this spring!

Friday, Dec 9th and Fri, Dec 16th – Noon – 4:00 pm

Drop off your kids at Albany UU and the Rite of Passage youth, adult mentors and Leah Purcell will entertain them while you have some time to yourself

(Think holiday shopping, wrapping gifts, cleaning the house, taking a nap- you get the idea!)

Cost per child is $10 with a maximum family cost of $30
Care provided for infants through 11 year olds
Snacks provided
Sign up in Channing Hall or at


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.
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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