Religious Exploration Prepares for June Service and Medicine Wheel Progress

The RE kids will be very busy working this month on the Medicine Wheel and also putting together their service for June 4.  The theme for the service will be "Peace" and we will have music and readings and a skit.

This Sunday, the children will be going on a field trip to Jamie's dad's greenhouse where they will be planting seeds for the wheel.  They have chosen what they would like to have in the wheel for plants and the design of the wheel.

Now it is time for us to ask for your help!  In order to keep costs down and involve the greater church community, we have put together a list of items and other help that we need for the wheel.  Please review the list below and let Lisa know what you can help with, either by talking to her or emailing her at

For plants we are looking for the following:

Lemon Balm
Bee balm (monarda)
Sunflower seed packet

For other items we will need or require help with....

*Transporting/truck rocks to build wheel with (from Rosie's or elsewhere)
*Top Soil/garden soil
*tools to use like shovels and rakes
*and people willing to dig and move rocks!
*a couple stumps and a board for making a bench OR someone willing to make a simple wood bench
*people willing to help water once a schedule is made for the summer time

Religious Exploration Learns About Medicine Wheels with Jamie Maloof

The RE kids started their Medicine Wheel project this month with guest naturalist and herbalist, Jamie Maloof.  We had a full house that day!  The kids got an introduction to native medicine wheels, saw pictures and learned about the different meanings they may convey.  We discovered the endless possibilities for constructing, laying out and populating a medicine wheel, from flowers, medicinal and edible herbs and plants, rocks and wood.  We discussed the possibility (probability) of installing a fire ring in the center, growing plants and herbs that lend themselves to further RE projects such as making herb pillows, salves and teas.  After much discussion and viewing of sample medicine wheels, we began the process of imagining our own, with each child starting to draw their ideas for a medicine wheel.  All in all, it was a great start to what will doubtless be an engaging, inspiring, creative venture that will offer nice opportunities for community-building and inter-generational engagement within our parish.

The children also are enjoying the opportunities to give back to the greater community by making food for the Greater Falls Warming shelter, one main dish and then a dessert, and by deciding to hold an Ice Cream Social fundraiser for this past month's Principles in Action cause, the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  The children watched a short film portraying a little girl with serious health issues, what her life was like with these challenges and how her life was so brightened by having her wish come true.  The difficulty this little girl faced was not lost on the children, and they were visibly affected by this story of struggle and hope.  They were eager to contribute their efforts, ideas and energy to this cause.  Almost all our kids showed up for this event and everyone participated fully and with joy.  

During the month of April, there will be RE every week except April 16.  Thanks for the opportunity to work with these amazing kids.

Medicine Wheel Unit with Jamie Maloof and Other RE Happenings

by Lisa Crocker, Religious Education Leader

This upcoming month promises to be very inspiring, educational, rewarding and fun.  On March 5 we will be making food for the North Springfield Warming Shelter.  We are on the books for a main dish and we are planning a vegetable pot pie. Hopefully there will be enough biscuits left over for us!

The most exciting news is that we will be beginning a series of sessions with Jamie Malouf, who is going to work with the children to create a medicine wheel on the property of the church, creating a permanent, sacred space of the children's own design. We anticipate this to take at least two to three sessions just in learning about medicine wheels, exploring possible designs, deciding on a design and what shall go in the medicine wheel (rocks, flowers, herbs, etc.), starting seeds, etc.  The first two sessions will take place on March 12 and March 19, so don't miss it!! (As previously planned, there will be no RE on March 26.)

Finally, our ice cream social to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation is going to be held on March 24 from 6:30 - 7:30.  Children should arrive at 6:00 to set up.  I am going to be in charge of procuring the ice cream, and the children are each being assigned a topping to bring.  Look for a separate email about that next week.  

I am very excited about this new project with Jamie and I hope your children will be too!

Happenings in Religious Exploration: February-March

By Lisa Crocker, Editor of RE at Chester Universalist

The RE program is embarking on a series of programs that teach the children about the UU Principles.  Last week, we began with Principle 1, the inherent worth and dignity of every person, explained to the children as we believe that each and every person is important.  The principle was illustrated with stories and games and lots of discussion about what makes us valuable, material things vs. human qualities.  The children had a great grasp of this principle! 

We also have incorporated a time at the end of each program for Worship.  During this time, we set up a special worship center, light a chalice, sing a prayer for peace, perhaps have a reading or a song, and close by holding hands in our circle and reciting the principle we just learned.  This is a wonderful time of peace and unity among us.

I would like to create more intergenerational opportunities within the program.  One way I can do this is by having a weekly RE volunteer from the congregation who comes down with the children and simply participates with the children, offering a helping hand when needed.  This would be an easy, stress-free way to experience the RE program while getting to engage with our amazing children. 

If you would like to choose a week to volunteer, just email me at and I will put you in the slot.  Right now, we have no volunteers, so the schedule is open for you to choose a Sunday that works for you or has a topic you are interested in exploring with the children. 


Sunday, 2/5
Principle 2:  Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
 - We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.

Sunday, 2/12
Make A Wish Fundraiser

Sunday, 2/19

Sunday, 2/26
Fundraiser Prep

Sunday, 3/5
Warming Shelter Main Course

Sunday, 3/12
Principle 3:  Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
- We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.

Sunday, 3/19