R.E. NOTES August 24, 2018

Dear Old Ship,

garden

This is my pollinator garden.

I took this photo last night.

I worked on this garden all summer.

Some of you may recognize bits and pieces… I learned to make these raised beds on our service and learning trip to West Virginia… The lumber came out of Old Ship’s garage; I bought the leftovers from the Youth Group. I got seeds from lots of gardener friends from all the far flung corners of my life, and I got cuttings from Pam Harty’s mini-meadow right here in Hingham. When I got impatient, I even bought some stuff from nurseries.

I learned a lot putting this garden together…I made a lot of mistakes… I underestimated the fascination my dogs would have for the rich brown soil and had to build uprights in each bed and then wrap rabbit fencing… then I realized I would need to weed each bed and had to cut the rabbit fencing. The one thing that rabbit fencing DID let in was rabbits, and they ate all of dandelions that I was graciously allowing to bunk in with my bought and nurtured plants.

 I tell you this because this is how I learn about life.  We make plans… the world has its own plans… things don’t happen the way we predicted… and we adapt and change.

And that is perfectly OK.

Last year, we did wonderful multi-gen worship services every month. Our hope was that this would help teachers and families connect the formal service in the church to the community across the street in the Parish House. As it turned out, fewer families attended than we’d hoped, and elders, teachers and other adults were our most enthusiastic attenders. Surprise!! Turns out, that was perfectly OK… and we’re going to keep doing it.

We have wonderful plans for this year across the age groups. I will be publishing the calendar of the things we have planned so far; like everything, it will grow and change as things develop.

We will need volunteer teachers, parents and non-parents, for every age group. You will be hearing more from me about that. We have a super cooperative Religious Education program and families come from several surrounding towns to be part of it.  Please check in with me or with anyone on the Children’s Religious Education Committee or the Youth Committee to find out where your niche might be.

Many hands make light work…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

 

p.s. Like last year, our first day of R.E. will be a scavenger hunt of the Parish house… Ground floor to attic…

Teams of teachers, children and Youth…

Getting to know each other, the building, and where to find stuff, all in one fun,

pseudo-competitive swoop…

 

 

 

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R.E. NOTES –   April 23, 2018

Dear Old Ship,

 A small but intrepid fraction of the Youth group went on a mini-trip to New York City at the start of this past vacation week. There were five Youth, and Maureen Butler and I chaperoned. 

We rented a van and parked on East 9th Street.

We slept on the floor of the sanctuary of a Lutheran church.

We stayed overnight in Manhattan for $30 per person, per night.

We helped (a bit) with their “Feeding the Homeless” mission.

For four of the five Youth, this was their first time going to NYC, so we really packed in as much as we could, despite tight budgets and persistent, sometimes torrential rain. We walked and walked and walked… We bought overpriced umbrellas… We found a really good bagel place next to Tompkins Square Park… We had New York pizza… We saw Times Square… We saw Rockefeller Center…

The next afternoon we saw Washington Square Park… Wall Street… Ground Zero… the Smithsonian National Museum of the Native American… and the Staten Island Ferry, with views of the Statue of Liberty…

We did a lot with very little.

The church we stayed at also does a lot with very little.

Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Church has 35 faithful come to church on any given Sunday.  

And they cook and serve lunch to 200 hungry and homeless, Monday through Friday.

I was amazed and fascinated as Pastor Ann detailed the dozens of ways they keep the doors open and the lights on, all the while doing God’s work.

Both facets of this trip have been a reminder to me to keep my goals and expectations lofty, and my demands for comfort and perfection low.

Bold, brave, bright blessings,

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

 

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R.E. NOTES –   January 2, 2018

Dear Old Ship,

More than news, I want to gift you with a blessing, for this dark and cold winter time.

 Beannacht: A Blessing for the New Year  –by John O’Donohue

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

[Note: “Beannacht” is the Gaelic word for “blessing.” A “currach” is a wooden boat used on the west coast of Ireland.]

Happy New Year!

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

 

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R.E. NOTES –   November 20, 2017

Dear Old Ship,

Last night I went on a Neighboring Faiths field trip!!

I rarely get to go on field trips, because they’re usually on Sunday mornings, when I’m working.

We went to Braj Mandir, Nimbarki Vaisnava (Hindu) Temple.

Part of the service was the discourse, not unlike our sermon…

We heard that when deciding what to teach the children, dogma is not important… rules are not important…

Creating relationships is important… first among our families, and then farther and farther outward in the world…

These five behaviors are important:

Be humble…

Practice non-violence…

Exercise pride-less-ness…

Live in simplicity…

Exercise tolerance…

Later, when one is much older, one can study texts and learn religious rules.

After a reading from the Bhagavad Gita, and the chanting, singing, dancing, fire and water, there was a feast.

The food was delicious and plentiful, and when we asked for recipes, the cooks came out to meet us and eat with us. We were given instructions… ingredients to take home… and to-go containers for loved ones who weren’t able to be there with us.

I experienced a little bit of Hinduism, but I learned a few things about hospitality as well.

“They live in wisdom who see themselves in all, and all in them…” (from the Bhagavad Gita)
Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

R.E. NOTES –   October 20, 2017

 

Dear Old Ship,

Last night I went on a Neighboring Faiths field trip!!

I rarely get to go on field trips, because they’re usually on Sunday mornings, when I’m working.

We went to Braj Mandir, Nimbarki Vaisnava (Hindu) Temple.

 

Part of the service was the discourse, not unlike our sermon…

We heard that when deciding what to teach the children, dogma is not important… rules are not important…

Creating relationships is important… first among our families, and then farther and farther outward in the world…

These five behaviors are important:

Be humble…

Practice non-violence…

Exercise pride-less-ness…

Live in simplicity…

Exercise tolerance…

Later, when one is much older, one can study texts and learn religious rules.

After a reading from the Bhagavad Gita, and the chanting, singing, dancing, fire and water, there was a feast.

The food was delicious and plentiful, and when we asked for recipes, the cooks came out to meet us and eat with us. We were given instructions… ingredients to take home… and to-go containers for loved ones who weren’t able to be there with us.

I experienced a little bit of Hinduism, but I learned a few things about hospitality as well.

“They live in wisdom who see themselves in all, and all in them…” (from the Bhagavad Gita)
Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

 

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R.E. NOTES –   October 20, 2017

Dear Old Ship,

When people out in the world ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I am the Director of Religious Education at a Unitarian Universalist Church.  That gets me a lot of blank looks.

It’s not like being a minister, a music director, an office manager, or a sexton. People know what those jobs are; or at least, they think they do.

When my friends or family try to explain me to someone, they simplify and say, “She’s a Sunday school teacher”… I rarely correct them, because, honestly, who cares if they really understand my job?

But I am not a Sunday school teacher.

I could be; I enjoy teaching Sunday school… Honestly, Sunday school is the fun part of the work… The kids are the fun part,

In point of fact, I am much more like a Sunday school principal.

But, I’m a principal who does their own hiring… their own payroll… their own book-keeping… their own filing… their own supplies purchasing… their own curriculum research and archiving… their own emergency planning and first-aid preparation… their own classroom space care… etc. etc. etc.

The one thing I really cannot do by myself is teach Sunday school.

Not counting the Nursery, we have six age groups…

Six Sunday morning classrooms…

Pre-K through Sr. High…

People come to us from surrounding towns because we have that… and we have critical mass in each age group. Church-shopping families like that.

Best practices dictate that there are two adults in any room with children in it; we try to abide by that.

That’s 12 adults per Sunday.  In addition, we have 2 paid teenage caregivers in the nursery, with an adult occasionally standing by for safety and security while I am across the street or off the property.

I cannot teach Sunday school, because I am “on the move” on Sunday mornings. Being part of worship… making sure the group crosses Main Street safely… keeping my eyes open for new families or new kids… watching to see who is out-of-sorts and in need of some pastoral attention… making sure the volunteer teachers have what they need to minister to their flocks.

But even if I tried to do all that on a Sunday morning, and teach Sunday school, I am only one person… I can’t be in ALL the classes.

We need your participation… Period.

If we don’t get enough teachers to make a safe and supportive environment for children and volunteers, we will have to reduce the number of class breakdowns and have more grades levels per classroom. That will reduce the variety of subject matter that we are able to teach, and the R.E. Committees are hoping that that does not come to pass.

Many hands make light work… And the opposite is true as well…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

 

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…not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes…

Religious Education Notes                                           5/26/17

Dear Old Ship,

Here’s something from Proust’s seven-volume work, Remembrance of Things Past (or In Search of Lost Time).   The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is

Ten members of our Youth Group went on a voyage in April… four Old Ship adults went with them. We voyaged by cars, vans, airplanes and boats… and we made discoveries…

We learned a number of things about land that was new to us… We beheld some parts of the universe through the eyes of others… and I will make bold to say, “We developed new eyes…”

IMG_2069

We learned:

  • Some churches have coffee hour outdoors.
  • Some churches have lizards in their yards.
  • Some churches don’t have pews.
  • Alligators are everywhere.
  • When your lodging is within the Panther National Wildlife Refuge system, you don’t hang around outdoors after dark.
  • Some dogs have work to do.
  • Among migrant farmworkers, some folks work “on the tree” and some folks work “on the ground”… and the differences matter; they matter a lot.
  • 70% of the vegetables we eat between November and April come from South Florida.
  • The work that goes into planting and picking those vegetables is strenuous… and exacting.
  • Neither teens nor adults can take in more than two speaker-presentations in any given day.
  • Each of us does self-care and centering in our own ways; some need a nap… some need to listen to music… some need to climb a tree.
  • Most of us are better and happier DOers than we are LISTENers.
  • People sometimes do unspeakable things to their fellow humans… Regulations, consequences, and strategically-thought-out pressure, sometimes makes those people stop… Some people will go to any lengths to continue to have the right to do unspeakable things.
  • Some people go to the laundromat carrying their laundry on top of their heads.
  • Chickens wander freely in Immokalee.
  • A picking bucket of tomatoes weighs 32 pounds… Thirty two pounds is heavier than it sounds.
  • Vultures are everywhere… for a reason.
  • Almost everyone loves a gift shop.
  • Almost everyone feels self-conscious protesting… People of conscience do it anyway.

IMG_2308

Thank you for “beholding the universe” with me…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religion Education

beverlytmail@gmail.com

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Banding Together

Religious Education Notes                                           3/26/17

Dear Old Ship,

Earlier this year, I wrote:

This year, based on the interest and initiative of the Youth themselves, they will be travelling to Immokalee, FL on the April school vacation week.  Through the UU College of Social Justice, they will be working with, and learning from, the Immokalee farm workers.

And:  They do these trips because the urge to be “of use” is strong and real…

But:  That does not preclude having fun along the way…

This past Saturday, we did our first ever, (and now, first annual) Banding Together.  The previous Sunday, Ken had announced it as “Old Ship Woodstock”; saying, “Everyone will say they were there… etc etc” and  people chuckled… I may have even rolled my eyes…

But:

Ken was right. If you weren’t there, you missed something really great! Don’t miss it again next year…

Rock on, Old Ship!!

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religion Education

beverlytmail@gmail.com

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The Weight of a Snowflake

The Weight Of A Snowflake –  origin unknown

The Weight of a Snowflake- A Christmas Parable

“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a sparrow asked a wild dove.
“Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer.
“In that case I must you tell a marvelous story,” the sparrow said. “One day, I sat on a branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not a giant blizzard, no, just like in a dream, without any violence. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch – nothing more than nothing, as you say – the branch broke off.”

Having said that, the sparrow flew away. The dove thought for a moment, then said to herself:
“Perhaps there is only one voice lacking for peace to come in our world.”

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Teaching prayer

Religious Education Notes                                           1/27/17

Dear Old Ship,

On any given Sunday at Old Ship there is a lot of learning going on…and a lot of teaching…

Volunteers offer their time and their hearts and do their best… I interrupt when I perceive a “teachable moment”… Our kids are so smart and so “awake” that they end up teaching us as much as we teach them…

BUT you know what we don’t teach much about?    Prayer… Your kids are NOT learning prayer from us…

“Why?” you might ask, and I’m hoping you will… because I want to tell you why…

I didn’t fully realize this until I tried to teach it, or tried to help teachers teach it, but prayer is the most personal thing a person can do… I can imagine the arguments against that statement, but I stand by it anyway.

The moment you open up the prospect of prayer, underlying choices and questions come up and need to be addressed…  These questions and choices are a matter of individual choice for adults, but that are a matter of “family identity” for young children… and perhaps even for teenagers.

Some of the many questions and choices are: Why pray at all?  Who do we pray to? Is being clear on the “who” essential to getting started with prayer? Those are questions best begun and discussed within the family.

Here’s a little graphic to use as a jumping off point:     this-is-how-we-pray

Then later, we at Sunday school can begin to have discussions about prayer.

Yours in prayer,

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religion Education

beverlytmail@gmail.com

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Activism

img_0276hi teachers and committee folks…
i worked on our bulletin board yesterday… it is now overflowing with art,  posters, and quotes, produced in support of the Women’s Marches that will be happening in Washington D.C. and all over the country on Saturday…
i’m going to the one in DC with 2 of my daughters…
Julie, Maureen, and her daughter, Lindsey are attending the march in Washington as well…
(p.s. i will not be at church on Sunday, nor will Maureen, Julie or Lindsey)
my oldest daughter will be at the Boston event… our congregation president and other Old Shippers will be at the Boston event, carrying our “Standing On The Side of Love” banner… the Arlington street UU church will be open as a gathering and warming place…
this is a big deal and something to be proud of… and something we can and should discuss with our children… (revisit the above comments about young women we have raised, that are insisting on being part of this activist event)
i suggest bringing your classes by the bulletin board as part of your teaching on Sunday… perhaps coordinate with one another so you do not all arrive at the same moment.. lol…  but if you do collide? what harm… perhaps the more the merrier…
but… you can use the art and the quotes to stir bits of discussion…
if nothing else, they will have the powerful experience of seeing women… young women and old women… white women and women of color… women in hijab… gender-queer women… on our wall… people who matter… who matter enough to travel and demonstrate for…
activism… it may be a worthy supplement to your Sunday plan…
much love and bright blessings…
beverly
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