Posts By Mark LaPointe, DLRE

Spirit Play

By , Published on September 21, 2017
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This past Saturday, RE Committee co-chair and volunteer teacher, Dana Robinson and I trekked over to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Northborough for an 8-hour training in Spirit Play, an exciting new addition to our RE line up.  Part of the multi-year curriculum change that we launched two years ago, Spirit Play builds from the Montessori method and Jerome Berryman’s Godly Play to engage children in Preschool through First Grades in Unitarian Universalism, ethics, world religion and spiritual exploration.  

The basic premise of Spirit Play is that young children learn best when given room to explore in their own way through play.  Each Spirit Play class begins with a story that tells a moral lesson, or perhaps a bit of UU history, or some unanswerable mystery of life, and so on.  Unlike reading a children’s book, however, the stories are told using what we educators call manipulatives (material items that can be touched and moved).  The storyteller ends the lesson by raising up wondering statements such as, “I wonder what it’s like to break a promise,” or “I wonder if you’ve ever experienced unfairness.”  The children are left to contemplate and wonder without being given answers.  As one story notes, “sometimes there are different answers to the same question. Sometimes there are no answers to a question. But, we keep on asking anyway.”

Ask me or Dana or any of the RE Committee members a bit more about Spirit Play if you’re curious.  Sometime this fall we will present one of the Spirit Play stories as the Time for All Ages during worship.  We are excited about this addition to our RE program and want to share this excitement with the church.  

In peace,

Mark LaPointe

Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration

 COA Mentors Needed for 2017-2018 Church School Year

Help us launch our first full year Coming of Age program by mentoring a 9th grader through an exciting process of exploration and discovery. Mentors must be good listeners and should have a caring spirit and a decent sense of humor. We are especially interested in Baby Boomers and others in their post-parenting years, although all interested individuals are considered for a match.  The program begins in September and requires approximately one Sunday per month with occasional opportunities to accompany youth on outings and activities.  Please contact Mark LaPointe to express interest.

Annual Senior Youth Group Service

By , Published on April 30, 2017
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Worship Service
Sunday, May 21, 2017
10:30am in the Meetinghouse
Led by the Senior Youth Group

When considering our call to service, we must consider the differences between indirect vs. direct service work. Do we as Unitarian Universalists place more value on one type of service? If we open our hearts, can both be fulfilling? Come be inspired by our fabulous Senior Youth group, who have just come from Thompson Island and Nashua, NH, ready to help us explore these questions. Through their time together on their service trip and beyond, this group provides a unique voice to our community at First Parish. All should come and hear their message as we contemplate the 3rd stanza of our covenant “We gather as a service community, to share our beliefs through action and care for our world”.

Children attend the first 15 minutes followed by Religious Exploration classes. Childcare available for infants and toddlers.

Junior Youth Group meets at 5pm in the Parlor.

Senior Youth Group meets at 7pm in the Parlor.

 

Perfectly Imbalanced

By , Published on March 23, 2017
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Worship Service
Sunday, April 2, 2017
10:30am in the Meetinghouse
DLRE Mark LaPointe, preaching

We tend to think that our ultimate goal is to live a “balanced” life.  Yet, the image we have of balance is one of stasis. The scale never tips in either direction. Everything is safe, comfortable and predictable. This is not only unrealistic, it is undesirable.   Instead, we should strive to live a life that is perfectly imbalanced, moving forward and growing through the back and forth of a whole and dynamic life.

Children attend the first 15 minutes followed by RE classes with members of the Green Sanctuary Committee. Childcare available for infants and toddlers.

Junior Youth Group at 5pm  in the Parlor.

Senior Youth Group at 7pm in the Parlor.

Help Wanted: Seeking Youth Program Coordinator

By , Published on March 8, 2017
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First Parish of Needham, Unitarian Universalist is looking for a creative and committed individual to act as our part-time Youth Program Coordinator. This person works under the supervision of the Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration and is responsible for planning and implementing weekly meetings (most Sundays) of our senior and junior high school youth groups, as well as our annual service trip during the April or February school break, and other service-oriented opportunities. The successful candidate will have some experience working with youth and will bring an open mind and generous spirit to our program.

Interested parties should submit a cover letter and resume electronically to dre.uuneedham@gmail.com. Please note “Youth Program Coordinator” in the subject line. The position is open until filled with the successful candidate expected to begin work in mid-August 2017.

You can learn more about First Parish at www.uuneedham.org.

Printed Job Announcement.

Alleviating Our Election Anxiety

By , Published on November 2, 2016
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It’s all over the media and in the public discourse – this year’s election is causing many people great anxiety.  According to a Harris Poll survey, more than half of all Americans experience significant stress around the 2016 election.  This is true across all ages groups although it seems to impact the “Matures” (71+) and the “Millennials” (19-37) most. Continue reading…

Coming of Age Sunday

By , Published on May 28, 2016
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Today is the culmination of a year of work for our eighth grade students—a year of religious exploration done individually and together. The year culminates with the milestone Coming of Age ceremony where each young person shares his or her own personal statement of belief and belonging, a personal credo. Join the youth, their mentors, and parents to celebrate this meaning-filled rite of passage in our Unitarian Universalist tradition. Please show your support by being there with them and for them on this milestone day.

Recordings available by request, send email to the office indicating which segment is requested.

Children in preschool through 3rd grade attend Children’s Worship in Parish Hall.  4th-7th graders attend the regular worship service. Nursery and toddler care available downstairs.

Senior Youth Group meets from 7 to 8:30pm.

 

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