“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.
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 (email@example.com)
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