• December News from Faith Formation
    O come all ye faithful,       and doubtful, and joyful, and blue, Mary and Joseph, Rudolph and Frosty,       and me and you, To hear Christmas stories, some old and some new, Reminding us that love, hope, and mystery are true. ~ Rev. Sarah C. Richards I love this quote for the season because it perfectly captures that play between fun and reverent that most of us feel sometime during the season.  For me, the last line is particularly meaningful: “love, hope, and mystery are true.” Thank you, Volunteers!  The Preschool Toddler Room is now two months old, made possible by generous volunteers.  The success of this program is dependent upon them, and it does take a village.  A huge thanks to: Melina Adduci, Allison Anderson, Sherrod Beall, Brenda Huffman, Elizabeth Long,  Lisa McCorry, Bonnie Miller, Grace Wilms, Liza Tregillus, and Marketa Young. To keep to my commitment of calling upon volunteers no more than once a month, we have room for additional help.  If you’d like to be part of this endeavor, please drop me an email by clicking on this link. Sunday Faith Formation Is Growing   Little by little over the last year, the number of children in attendance is growing, though we still have a long way to go to reach pre-pandemic numbers. A year ago, we were, on average serving eight children each week. During November we served an average of thirteen each week, including our two groups growing the fastest—preschoolers and middle schoolers. Though our numbers are still small, this growth is significant, After the first of the year, the middle schoolers and elementary schoolers will be divided into their own groups at least twice a month so they can each focus on their individual areas of interest.  This leads to – yes! another call for volunteers. As a volunteer, you will be assisting one of our regular teachers each Sunday to give our kids the richest experience possible.  If you like working with middle school-age children or elementary school-age children, please let the Coordinator of Faith Formation know of your interest. Peace, Joy, and Ho, Ho, Ho – December 10 During this Sunday service, join the UUFD kids for this irreverent, fun, and poignant service that highlights the House of David family reunion and holiday festival where wise persons, Christmas characters from many traditions, and a young expectant couple show up at the UUFD Bed and Breakfast for the most sacred of events.  It’s time to break out your favorite Christmas sweater and warm up your voice for some new and some traditional carols. Big Changes in Faith Formation Staff Nikki Bauer is stepping away from her role as a teacher at the first of the year.  She focusing on her studies as a full-time college student and as the efficient Office Administrator for UUFD.  Harrison Wendt is stepping down from being the Youth Coordinator of Faith Formation, but he will continue to be a teacher each Sunday. Please extend to them a thank you for their many contributions in helping the Sunday Faith Formation program grow. Both Harrison and Nikki will continue on with Faith Formation in vital roles as needed, including being teachers for the OWL program coming in February. After the New Year Watch this space for the dates for Our Whole Lives (OWL) classes for the elementary school kids beginning in February.  This sexuality education presents honest, accurate information about sexuality that dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships and improves decision-making.  This 10-session program will be led by Nikki Bauer and Harrison Wendt, who became certified OWL teachers last spring. Adult Faith Formation Opportunities Plans are underway for a new book study (led by Sharon Mignerey) and a new Circles of Trust (led by Rev. Barbara) after the first of the year.  Watch this space for details. Personal Faith Development This lovely poem is from Rev. Gordon B. McKeeman, which could be the basis of daily reflection during the often too-busy holiday season. How does one address a mystery? Cautiously… Reverently… Hopefully… Quietly… Simply be in the intimate presence of mystery, unashamed—unadorned—unafraid. This quiet poem encourages an equally quiet reflection that I extend to each of you during this holiday season.  May you be well and filled with peace. May you be at ease as you shop, cook, and care for your loved ones.  May you take good care of yourself.  May you breathe deeply and feel the love that you give and that comes back to you.   Merry Christmas. Respectfully submitted – Sharon Mignerey, Coordinator of Faith Formation
  • News from Faith Formation
    Happy Thanksgiving! This note is an update on several things going on with Faith Formation. First, our next multi-gen service is on December 10, our Christmas pageant entitled Peace, Joy, and Ho, Ho, Ho. There are significant parts for each of the kids to play. During the Nov 19. Faith Formation class, children will be asked which parts they would like to have. Some are speaking parts, some are not. There is one song the children will be learning, which means we need to have a bit of rehearsal during our final two Sundays available: Nov 19 and Dec 3. They will be sent home with a script, which does not need to be memorized, but that we would like them to become familiar with; like last year, they will be able to read their parts. If your children are toddlers or preschoolers, there will be opportunity toward the end of the play for them (and you) to be on stage with the older children. Even if you have not been in regular attendance, we would love for your children to participate in this fun, annual event. We do ask you make the commitment to be here for these three Sundays — Nov. 19, Dec. 3, and Dec 10 — so your kids feel connected with the process and understand what they need to do the day of the event. For the benefit of this service and fun for your children, please commit to your children being at service on Nov. 19, Dec. 3, and Dec. 10 (the day of the service). — Yes, dear readers, this is a repeat, just in case you didn’t notice it the first time. Please forgive the redundancy. On Dec. 10, please arrive by 9:15 so we can do a quick walk through and final music rehearsal before service.
    Second, the annual holiday market is being held on Dec 3, which will remain open during the town hall that follows the service. This is an opportunity for the children to “shop” for gifts for their parents and loved ones (grandparents, siblings, significant others) during service. Your children might need help with their recipient list. Third, OWL for elementary-age children will be offered in the late winter, early spring. This will be taught by Nikki Bauer and Harrison Wendt, who became certified teachers last spring. Watch for the registration form that will be coming later in December. For more information about the OWL program, click here. Fourth, Nikki Bauer is stepping down from teaching, except for special events like OWL, after the first of the year. Please join me in thanking her for her service to the children of UUFD over the past year. You will continue to see her in her role as Office Administrator. And finally, Harrison Wendt is stepping down from his role as Youth Faith Formation Programming Coordinator after the first of the year. He is currently on hiatus from teaching until the first of the year. In January, he will resume his role as a much revered teacher. Also, please join me in thanking him for his invaluable service in his role as Youth Programming Coordinator over the last year, This first full year of being back together in person after the pandemic has been a fun with only a few of hiccups along the way. The number of kids in attendance each Sunday has slowly and steadily grown. Each of us in Faith Formation love being with them. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for entrusting us with your children. In Peace and Light, Sharon Mignerey Coordinator of Faith Formation
  • November News from Faith Formation
    “It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.” ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau As we play with the Soul Matters theme for November, generosity, it’s good to remember it comes in many forms – generosity of things (of course), but of equal importance, of time, of spirit, of understanding.  It’s also important to remember none of us can do it all or be it all.  So, within your own space of generosity, embrace this other quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are.”  No matter how large or small these may seem, you do make a difference, as has been proven by all the wonderful things going on in Faith Formation.

    Thank you, Volunteers!

    If you’ve been to service lately (and if you haven’t been, come on down—you will be welcomed), you’ve seen that the numbers for our children are growing.  This has been wonderful, and the expansion of our programs is made possible because of volunteers willing to help.  The first Sunday in October, the toddlers and preschoolers were separated into their own fun space at the back of the sanctuary.  This is made possible by volunteers who ensure these children are well cared for during service.  To each of you who stepped up for this important role, thank you. Did you notice the great decorations in Bowman Hall for the Halloween party on October 29? We have the Faith Formation Team to thank for all of that with their imagination, contributions of decorations, and their time on Saturday to get it all put together.  To each of you who participated, thank you. The Multi-Gen Service on October 29 was a success because of the enthusiasm of the children and because of the hard work put in by all of the Faith Formation Staff.  A huge thanks to both.

    Coming Soon

    December 3 – The Holiday Market

    One of the traditions we’ve had for years is the market for children of UUFD to “shop” for special gifts they select for family members.  This year, the market will be a little earlier than in the past. Faith Formation is requesting donations for the market during November.  Look around your house, closet, and drawers for those special things you might want to contribute.  Donations from previous years include jewelry, home décor items, books, puzzles, scarfs, candles, toys, Christmas ornaments, kitchen gadgets, and so on.  Please, NO CLOTHES—scarfs, hats, and gloves are okay, but otherwise, no clothes. Watch for a donation box labeled HOLIDAY MARKET at the back of the sanctuary beginning the first Sunday in November.  Your donations must be received by November 30.

    December 10 – The Christmas Almost-No-Rehearsal Pageant

    The kids and youth of UUFD will be contributing their skills and talents to this fun and sometimes irreverent celebration of Jesus’ birth.  If you liked the multi-gen service put on by the kids and Faith Formation at the end of October, you’re going to equally like this holiday celebration.  Be looking for your loud or ugly Christmas sweaters to wear on this fun Sunday service.

    After the New Year

    Watch this space for the dates for Our Whole Lives (OWL) classes for the elementary school kids beginning in January.  This sexuality education presents honest, accurate information about sexuality that dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships and improves decision-making.  This 10-session program will be led by Nikki Bauer and Harrison Wendt, who became certified OWL teachers last spring.

    Adult Faith Formation Opportunities

    A Creativity Matters group is meeting via Zoom on Saturday, November 11 at 10 a.m. with plans.  If you would like to participate, drop and email to Sharon Mignerey (faithformation@durangouu.org).

    Adult Faith Formation Opportunities After the New Year

    Plans are underway for a new book study (led by Sharon Mignerey) and a new Circles of Trust (led by Rev. Barbara) after the first of the year. Watch this space for details.

    Personal Faith Development

    The Soul Matters theme for November is generosity, which fits since we’re probably thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, then all the holiday celebrations in December.  It’s a time of year when we’re not only thankful but when we often want to share generously.  As you contemplate your own relationship with generosity, consider this introduction from the Soul Matters curators. “First of all, it’s transformative. Generosity doesn’t just brighten our days; it changes how we relate to life. Let’s be honest, life can harden us. And before it does that, it often hurts us. … But then these seemingly small or sentimental gestures come our way. A person notices we forgot to bring our bus pass and pays for us before we have to ask. The neighbor shovels our part of the driveway while she does hers. … In those simple moments, the world suddenly feels less cold.  … We may still hurt, but it also feels as though life itself is trying to help. That’s what generosity does. It transforms. It also connects. Deep down we know the difference between giving and giving generously.  … When you hand over a part of you to someone else, you’re tethered. Your vulnerability meets their vulnerability. You haven’t just helped; you’ve shown you care. Both of you feel seen. And less alone.” For your own spiritual growth and enrichment, engage in one of these exercises:
    • Enrich someone else by making a difference anonymously.  The point is to demonstrate to someone else that life is generous, not that you personally are.  The other point is to let go of our own ego and any need for recognition.
    • Give what you need to receive.  Do you need encouragement?  Give this to someone else.  Do you need someone to notice you, listen to you?  Notice someone else and listen—really listen—to them.
    • Journal about how your ideas of generosity have evolved since you were younger.  Who taught you to be generous?  What was your hardest act of generosity? In what ways do you long to be more generous than you are?  Out of whatever insights you gain, find ways to take your values of generosity into the world.
    • Be generous with yourself.  If it’s true that you cannot give what you do not have, find ways to lavish yourself with self-care so you are rejuvenated and can give generously in the forms that enrich you.
    In closing, contemplate this wonderful quote from Annie Dillard.  “If the landscape reveals one certainty, it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation.  After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down eons of emptiness.” Respectfully submitted – Sharon Mignerey, Coordinator of Faith Formation
  • Multi-gen service Oct. 29 includes costume parade!
    On Oct. 29, Faith Formation’s kids will lead the service and celebrate the many traditions of Samhain and The Day of the Dead. Our UUFD kids will be in costume for this service. All are encouraged express their inner child and wear their own costumes. The service will be followed by a party!
  • News from Faith Formation
    “You don’t stumble upon your heritage. It’s there, just waiting to be explored and shared.” Robbie Robertson, Musician October marks the beginning of the busier-by-the-day holiday season that begins with Halloween.  With all these holidays, we each look forward to (or perhaps dread) the traditions of our families and communities that are part of our individual heritage.

    Fall Festival Cancelled

    The best laid plans … such is the case with the Fall Festival. It turns out to be the autumn break for District 9R, so there are conflicts with family plans plus so much else going on that most cannot attend. The Fall Festival is cancelled. Many thanks to John Redemsky for his offer to host this event.

    Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers Have Their Own Space

    Have you noticed the transformation of the room at the back of the sanctuary?  This bright space is being used by the youngest UUFD children to have their own Sunday Faith Formation. The preschoolers will follow the same schedule as the older children—in the sanctuary with their parents until Time for All Ages.  Then they will go to their new room at the back of the sanctuary.  Parents!  You must check in your children when you arrive for service so we can safely care for them. See the assigned teacher who will be at the back of the sanctuary before the start of service (and who will be on the lookout for you). Please pick up your child(ren) by fifteen minutes after the end of service. We still need a few more volunteers so we are calling on people only once a month.  If you’d like to help ONE SUNDAY PER MONTH, please reach out to Sharon Mignerey.

    Multi-Gen Service Coming October 28

    The children and youth of UUFD are planning and will lead our worship service on October 28, exploring the important heritage of Day of the Dead. The end of service will be marked with the annual Halloween parade, when kids get to show off their costumes. Sharon Mignerey, Coordinator of Faith Formation Harrison Wendt, Youth Coordinator of Faith Formation