from the DLRE

the lifespan religious education blog at horizon uu church

What’s happening in RE this Sunday, 1/30?

The Nursery and the Toddler Room will be open to welcome children up to age 3!

Preschool will be learning about the symbol of our Faith, the Flaming Chalice, this week. They will explore rituals surrounding this symbol including the flannel board flaming chalice and a chalice jig-saw puzzle. You can help to prepare your children for this lesson and/or extend the lesson in your home by telling them the story of our Flaming Chalice. You can read the story from the UUA here:

You can also purchase “The Unitarian Universalist Kids Book”, with activities and puzzles related to our Flaming Chalice from our Bookstore on Sunday, or here:

Find other kid’s activity books here:


Kindergarten and First Grade will learn how we use respectful words and actions in our relationships. Respectful words and actions illustrate the first UU Principle, “We believe each and every person is important.” The children will hear a story about Jesus teaching the Beatitudes and explored how those lessons affirm our UU beliefs. We played a circle game and role-played situations in our lives where respectful words and actions are needed.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about… respectful words and actions and the first UU Principle at dinner, in the car or at bedtime.

  • I wonder why some people are not respectful. How could they change their attitude to one of respect?
  • Why is everyone important?
  • How do you feel when you know that others respect you and think you are important?

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try… making a stop sign together. Whenever someone feels disrespect, use the stop sign to stop the interaction so you can discuss feelings.

A Family Adventure. Take the family as a group to a soup kitchen or clothing closet. Work together to show respect to people you encounter with material needs greater than yours. Use smiles and respectful words to make each person feel important.

Family Discovery. Books to read:

  • Wake Up, World by Beatrice Hollyer (Henry Holt and Co., 1999)
  • Rabbit Ears Treasury of Christmas Stories, Volume Two: Gingham Dog and Calico Cat, Lion and Lamb (audio book), by Amy Grant and Christopher Reeve (Listening Library, 2008)
  • Being Respectful: A Book About Respectfulness (Way to Be) by Mary Small (Picture Window Books, 2006).

A Family Game. Play Pocket Ungame. The “Families Edition” game is available on the Board Games website.

A Family Ritual. Write each person’s name on tongue depressors or wooden ice cream spoons. At a meal, invite each person to place their name in the middle of the table and name one way they were respected or one way they respected another.



Second and Third Grades will listen to a magical, bedtime story by Kim Stafford, “We All Got Here Together,” which offers a mystery-filled explanation for beginnings. Drawing on the story’s bubble and rain themes, the children will imagine their own story and play games that involve cooperation. The children will learn about our first Unitarian Universalist Source—in child-friendly words, “The sense of wonder we all share.”

When you read the Source, it is easy to see why it needs simplification:

Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.

Children will hear these words:

Today we will talk about things we see, hear, or touch in nature that can make us feel awe and wonder. Our own, personal feeling inside of awe and wonder is one of our Unitarian Universalist Sources that points us to love.

And we will read together:

Our Unitarian Universalist beliefs come from the sense of wonder we all share.

By opening children’s minds to spirituality, we hope they will develop spiritual traits we cultivate in ourselves: love, compassion, and service; connection with the earth; and a sense of purpose and place in the universe.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. We use the word “awesome” to suggest the transcendence of life and how nature’s wonders sometimes strike us. Consider using the word “awesome” as you share moments of awe with your child. You might ask:

  • Did anything awesome and wonderful happen at school today? Something that took you by surprise and made you glad?
  • Are you ever just amazed at how leaves come out on a tree every spring? Do you think that’s awesome? (Of course, you may get a very practical and scientific response to this.)

A Family Game. Play “I Spy” outdoors: One player says “I spy, with my little eye, something… (say the color of the item you are looking at).”. The others guess the item. If you live in an urban setting, go to a park and try to spy items from nature as well as human-made items. If you have a backyard, try to spy items that are not usually noticed, such as a small bird—even a squirrel, a nut, or something else seen so constantly that you may take it for granted. Perhaps try to find a nest or a small hole in the ground that might be used as a burrow for a small animal. Use this game to promote awareness of awesome nature around us.

A Family Ritual. If you do not already do so, light a chalice (which can be as simple as a votive glass) before your family dinner. Use simple words to set a theme for each meal. “Give thanks and praises” (Bob Marley) is a good example. Or, have children write their own.



Fourth and Fifth Grades participants will hear the story of Judith Sargent Murray and how the pioneers of Universalist thought with their emphasis upon God as love was a strong departure from the prevailing religious notion of the time. This new view of the divine meant having to consider how this message could be preached from the pulpit and taught to children through religious education. Through this story and the activities of the session, we will explore the idea which starts the James Vila Blake Covenant, “Love is the Spirit of this Church” and recognized how this heritage of love from our Universalist roots is still alive in our Unitarian Universalist congregations today. This session emphasizes cooperation and connection with the creation of friendship bracelets; everyone will have the experience of working on a bracelet which had already been started by someone else.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about… what “the spirit of love” means to you. How do you see the spirit of love embodied in your Unitarian Universalist congregation? How does the heritage of love from Universalism manifest itself elsewhere in your life? What are some ways you pass on this heritage of love to others in your congregation? Sing the song “Spirit of Life” together as a family. How does the song’s image or idea of a divine presence reflect to the Universalist perspective of God as love?

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Volunteer in your congregation together as a family, to honor the heritage of love you receive by sharing it with others. You might offer to pass the offertory baskets together as a family, light the chalice together at the start of the worship service, or spend a day cleaning up the congregation’s grounds.

A Family Adventure. Visit the first official Universalist church on American soil, founded by John Murray and attended by Judith Sargent Murray in Gloucester, Massachusetts. You might also visit the beautiful Sargent House Museum and an outdoor mural which depicts the history of the Gloucester and prominently displays a portrait of Judith Sargent Murray.

A Family Game. Challenge yourself and your children to a game of Unitarian Universalist history at the Fun Trivia website.

Spend an evening together as a family. Light a chalice or candle and take turns sharing a thought or two about why you love the other people in your family. You might also try creating a special family prayer to say at bedtime or before a special meal which acknowledges the heritage of love in your own family, such as, “We honor in our hearts all the love we receive from the people around us: Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Sophia, etc.”



Middle School, OWL, COA, and YRUU will all also have class! The curricula for these classes changes organically to fit the needs of the program and the students. For more information on these classes, please contact the lead Advisors!

See you all Sunday!!
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What’s going on in RE This Sunday, 1/23?

The Nursery and the Toddler Room will be open to welcome children up to age 3!

Preschool will be learning about all the ways they can help others. They will make “I can help” signs and bake cookies for their friends! To extend the lesson at home, ask your pre-schooler to help with tasks around the house, such as cooking or cleaning. Make a family trophy for the “Best Helper”, and then award it to a person in your family who helped the most that day!


Kindergarten and First Grade will talk about how love surrounds them and how, as Unitarian Universalists, they are instruments of giving love in the world. In the story “The Wise Sailimai: A Muslim Tale from China” participants will hear about a young girl who answered four questions for the king to save the life of her father-in-law. One of the questions is “What is stronger than steel?” Participants will also learn the song “Love Surrounds Me.”


  • How the Spirit shows us the way of love
  • Ways love surrounds your family each day
  • Ways your family gives love to others each day.


A Family Adventure. Take a family walk. Bring along a notebook and pencil. Observe ways nature surrounds us with love. Draw pictures to remind you of all the ways that nature brings themes of love into our lives. Take your nature book home and place it on the family dining table. Look through your pictures each night or at the dinner table.

A Family Ritual. Family Love Notes: Invite everyone to use sticky notes to write notes of love to other family members. Put the notes on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, or a door. Find creative places to leave unsigned love notes for others every day.



Second and Third Grades will hear the story of “The Everything Seed,” which describes the origins of our universe in metaphoric language. We will discuss the idea that love was included in that original “everything seed” and learn that love is a guiding force for Unitarian Universalists. Participants will create universe seed art representing the love and creativity within our universe. We will also plant “mystery seed” packets that will bloom in our classroom!

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about… theories about how the universe came into being, such as the Big Bang. Talk together about the awesome aspect of our universe’s origin. Take turns naming things that were contained in the original, strange ball of matter which exploded to become our universe.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try… learning about seeds together. Dissect a seed and see what is inside. If possible, look at seeds under a microscope. Plants some seeds and watch them grow. Help your child create their own indoor or outdoor garden.

Family Adventure. Go on a walk to find as many seeds and seed holders as you can and try to identify the types of plants they will become.

Family Discovery. To learn more about seeds, watch the Scholastic video The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed. Or, read, The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow or The Magic School Bus Gets Planted: A Book About Photosynthesis, both by Joanna Cole.

To hear about the universe’s origin in metaphoric language, read together The Everything Seed by Carole Martignacco (Minnesota: Beaver’s Pond Press, 2003). Another book to read together is Born with a Bang: The Universe Tells Its Cosmic Story: Book One by Jennifer Morgan (Dawn Publications, 2002).

A Family Game. In the African game Mancala, two opponents try to collect the most seeds by taking turns dropping seeds into small cups carved into a board. The goal is to capture as many of your opponents’ seeds as possible. Purchase Mancala at a toy and game store or play a version online.

A Family Ritual. Start a yearly tradition: Plant a garden together. Create a ritual for the planting. For instance, you might read the story “The Garden,” from the book Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel, or sing “The Garden Song” by David Mallett, recorded by many artists. You could gather water from rivers and lakes that you visit over the course of the year and use it to water the newly planted seeds.



Fourth and Fifth Grades will hear the story of Noah and the covenant that God makes with creation following the flood. We will make a rainbow wall hanging, a reminder of the rainbow sign that God gave to Noah, and we talked about what a covenant might mean for our own group. Our activities will emphasize cooperation and connection.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. 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? Has your family done a baby or child dedication ceremony which involved a covenant on the part of the parents or the congregational community?

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Create a covenant statement for your family. What are your highest goals as a family? What commitments do you make to one another? How are the commitments which parents make to a family different from those the children make? How are they the same?

A Family Ritual. At bedtime, offer your child a special promise, such as “I promise I will listen to you,” or “I promise to honor your creativity.” Or, agree on a ritual way to seal agreements you make in daily life (“I’ll try not to yell if you’ll try not to yell.”) A hug makes a good ritual of commitment, but you may wish to choose an action that is unique to your family and serves as a reminder of the special nature of a covenant.



Middle School, OWL, COA, and YRUU will all also have class! The curricula for these classes changes organically to fit the needs of the program and the students. For more information on these classes, please contact the lead Advisors!

See you all Sunday!!
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Notes from the Board Meeting 1/10/2011

1. The Rev. Doctor Stephen Papa, The Special Assistant to the UUA President on Growth. He asked us three questions:

What has changed since the merger? What has remained the same? What do you think the UUA can do to help the movement grow?

The board gave input. Rev. Papa expressed his delight at our healthy congregation and congratulated us on our consistent Fair Share Status.

2. Sandy Steele gave an update on the Memorial Garden. The impediments have been removed, and the beginning of the Garden, including the labyrinth, will be done by next month!! Rev. Dennis Hamilton reminded us that we will need to dedicate it. The Board asked if we could do it in the spring when it is pretty – and possibly grass has grown.

3. Beth Bargar, President gave an update from SIA. They raised $11,000 DOLLARS FOR HEIFER!!! AMAZING!! They are also working not on the MLK parade and digesting the survey results.

4. Dale Moon gave an update on the Strategic Plan. He has been scheduling people to come to the “Envision Your Horizon” workshop. He is planning on attending the Staff Meeting tomorrow at 1PM to discuss the final preparations, including ordering food and setting up electronics. He is expecting about 50 Participants.

5. Beth Bargar, President gave an update on the Congregational Meeting coming up at the end of the week. COA will provide lunch, and there is A LOT of business on the table, including the new changes to the by-laws. Beth Bargar, President would like everyone’s slides as soon as possible. Everyone will try to keep it as short as possible.

6. Cindy Treece gave an update on the Policy Review. She noted our Conflict Resolution Policy does not mention the Committee on Ministry, so she changed the escalation process to use the Committee on Ministry. She changed “Office Manager” to “Church Administrator” to reflect Gil’s current title. There were many other small details, such as changing “Blanket Email” to “Church Email”. The policy revisions were accepted.

7. Megan Dalby-Jones, Intern Minister, gave us a run-down about the use of Facebook as a communication tool. She noted that while Horizon UU has a group, what we need is a PAGE, where a page administrator can post information as an outreach tool. She also gave us Emerson UU Church’s (Houston) policy regarding their Facebook page. The board would like to put together a Facebook Team to begin work on creating a page and an accompanying policy.

8. The board approved the consent agenda, including the minutes and staff report.

9.Peter Hendee, Treasurer gave the financial report. While we were behind on pledges, we were still 8K ahead of budget. Capital Campaign receipts are coming in a little lower than expected, but Cindy hopes it will pick up. Many suspect it’s because of the generous contributions to other areas, including the Minister’s Discretionary Fund. The financial report was approved.

10. Cindy Treece gave a membership update. She noted that we really need to get some financial priorities that are inspiring to the congregation because we will be fighting for the 25K that we matched in pledges last year, which means about 2K per month. It appears that staffing is a priority, such as maintaining the CLM and having another intern (if Rev. Dennis Hamilton’ Sabbatical can be scheduled). Dale Moon also suggested “Program Enhancement”, like Lifespan Faith Development. He will give feedback after the “Envision your Horizon” workshop. We also have a New Horizons class coming up. A postcard will go out to invite people who have visited the church to come and see the expansion. The membership committee is also awaiting the results of the NTAUUS grant.

11. Beth Bargar, President gave an update on FIASCO. Janice Fetter-Salmon will be the chair. HOORAY!

12. The NTAUUS grant has been submitted. Beth Bargar, President expressed appreciation for all of the people who worked through the holidays to get the grant done. Beth Bargar, President encouraged lots of people to go to the luncheon.

13. Beth Bargar, President gave an update about the renters. Both Excel and UDV have signed renewal contracts. They are very happy.

14. Beth Bargar, President asked Natalie and Charles if there are any opportunities to have the Board participate in Religious Education. Natalie mentioned the NTAUUS/NATUURES dinner at The First Unitarian Church of Dallas.

15. Keeping their own leadership development and spiritual development as a priority, the Board discussed chapter 6 of “Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times”.

16. Sandy Steele, Secretary, read the action items.

17. Marianna Seaton gave us our process check.

18. The meeting was adjourned.

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Welcome Back to RE!!!

Welcome back to Spring RE!
Classes for all ages will begin this Sunday, January 9th! There are a few changes to our room assignments and to our curricula!

PRESCHOOL will continue to meet in Room 3 (The Green Room). The classroom is open to receive children at 10:25AM! Please give the Teachers in this class ample time to prepare their room and lessons on Sunday morning and keep your children with you until class time! Our curriculum for this semester is “Chalice Children”, a UU-Identity building curriculum that helps children feel safe and welcome in church! The lessons also introduce our Flaming Chalice as the symbol of our Faith!

KINDERGARTEN AND FIRST GRADE will continue to meet in Room 4 (The Yellow Room).  The curriculum for this semester will be “Love Surrounds Us”, a UUA Tapestry of Faith Curriculum. At the core of our Unitarian Universalist community are our seven Principles. The Principles encompass all the ingredients of a good and faith-filled life based on equality, freedom, peace, acceptance, truth, care, and love. This program explores all the Principles in the context of Beloved Community of family/home, school, neighborhood. Participants engage in activities that emphasize the love they feel in community. You can read the entire program here:

SECOND AND THIRD GRADES will continue to meet in Room 5 (The Purple Room). Their curriculum for this semester is “Love Will Guide Us”, a Tapestry of Faith curriculum from the UUA. In this program, participants learn to seek guidance in life through the lens of our Unitarian Universalist Sources, with an emphasis on love. Together we ask questions such as, “Where did we come from?” “What is our relationship to the Earth and other creatures?” “How can we respond with love, even in bad situations?” “What happens when you die?” Sessions apply wisdom from our Sources to help participants answer these questions. Participants will learn that asking questions is valued in Unitarian Universalism, even as they begin to shape their own answers. You can read the entire program here:

FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADES will now be meeting in Room 6 (next to the Kitchen). Their curriculum for this semester will be “Love Connects Us”, a Tapestry of Faith Curriculum from the UUA. Love Connects Us celebrates important ways Unitarian Universalists live our faith in covenanted community. Moved by love and gathered in spirit, we embrace our responsibility toward one another and the world at large. We encourage one another’s search for truth and meaning. We strive to be active in peace-making and other efforts to improve our world. You can read the entire program here:

MIDDLE SCHOOL will continue to meet in Portable Room 8 (The Big Side). Sorrel will continue to treat us to her wonderful Character Curriculum. If you are a parent of this class, please watch for notices about the upcoming CongrUUity conference in Fort Worth. This conference will be the last weekend in February, and it is an over-night lock-in focusing on Social Justice.

Our Whole Lives will continue its life-changing curriculum in Room E2.

Coming of Age will continue to form young Unitarian Universalists in Room 7.

YRUU will continue the “My Name is Earl” curriculum in Portable Room 9 (the COW-CH Room).

Please stay tuned for more updates and the latest in Religious Education!!

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