Religious Education Notes 10/21/16

Dear Old Ship,

This is what the Boston Globe had to say in advance of HONK! :

“BRASS AND MORE For 11 years, the Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands has been marching through the streets of Somerville and surrounding areas to promote an appreciation of culture and social justice.[   ]

Honk! originated in Somerville and has inspired related festivals in cities across the country and the world. There is even a Somerville-based School of HONK that carries on the spirit of the festival throughout the year.

Many of the bands – both local and from around the United States and Canada – are repeat performers. And, this year, there are two performing groups from France.”

This was the call for participants:  On Sunday, October 9th, youth from Arlington Street Church and other area churches will be marching as the “New England Region Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Programs” in the HONK Parade! 

 Thirteen people are marching in the group you see in these photos; ten of them are Old Shippers… AND that’s our banner.


I told our Youth and R.E. folks it would be fun. I told our Youth and R.E. folks it would be powerful. I told our Youth and R.E. folks they would be connecting with UUs from all over.

And they showed up… In the rain and the cold, they came out and they BROUGHT it… They raided our attic and they gussied up…

Five Youth… Two kids… and Three adults… That’s what I had to repeat in my head; the head count…

So I didn’t lose anyone… on the Red Line shuttle bus… on the T… in Davis Square… all the way to Harvard Square…

Five Youth… Two Kids… and Three adults…

In a group of thirteen… representing “New England Region Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Programs”. 

I don’t know how that makes you feel… but it makes me really proud.

Bright blessings,

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religion Education

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Newsletters and Legos

Religious Education Notes                                                           9/23/16

Dear Old Ship,

It’s newsletter time again… I really don’t like newsletter time… Blank slate… Blank mind…An old writer’s trick is to go find something else to do… something that won’t take long… and hope that inspiration comes while you’re being otherwise occupied and productive.The quickest, most concrete, task on my to-do list was “make a Lego chalice for the Grades 2&3 group”.

They are a high energy group and the plan is that while they are working on lessons from our Jewish and Christian Heritage, they can busy their hands and eyes making Lego tableaus of the stories.  Fingers crossed.

I’m no more enthused about doing Legos than I am about newsletter time… I managed to avoid them when I was little, and when my kids were little. But Pema Chodron tells us that “Nothing ever goes AWAY until it teaches us what we need to know.”  So… faced with the newsletter and/or the Lego chalice, I chose the latter…  And magically, a newsletter topic appeared.

The way we piece together our R.E. program is a lot like how I’m making this chalice…Given a box of assorted Legos (and other ephemera) as big as a twin mattress, I look for some bit of left-over that someone else assembled years ago, to serve as a base…

Then I add things… Then I start to feel a bit of enthusiasm… I start to form a vision…

When I can’t find something that would fit just right, I back up, switch the plan and use what I can find… what we have plenty of.

When one piece is super-dooper perfect, but I only have one of them and I need two, I look really really hard for that second one. And I do find it, deep deep deep in that big old casket of plastic bits.

On Sunday, it may turn out that none of the kids have any enthusiasm for Legos. Then we’ll back up, switch the plan… etc. etc. etc. That’s how we do it around here…

If you have questions, or if you want to hear more about our actual offerings, you can ask me directly…Or check out our brochure on the Old Ship website. Actually… you’ll find last year’s brochure; this year’s isn’t on there yet. It’s next on my list of things to do.

Bright blessings,

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religion Education

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Big Rocks

Religious Education Notes                                                            8/29/16

Dear Old Ship,

I am so ready to start the church year! So ready.

My summer has been filled with sunshine… swimming… travel… learning… excitement…and yes, even a few hours in the hammock, looking up through the leaves in my back yard.

I hope you all had at least a few moments of rest and renewal… and a smattering of new experiences that made you think.

I brought back two new concepts/phrases that you’ll be hearing from me and from the CRE and Youth folks…

One is “Big Rocks”… As in, “When you’re filling your day, your week, your life, put the big rocks in first… or they might not get in at all.”

This will help us make sure that everything we offer is full of value, and our shared values.

And of course, we’re hoping that your family’s connection with the spirit is one of your “big rocks”.


The second phrase you’ll hear and see is “Inspire/Empower/Connect”.  That is what we intend to do at every possible opportunity. You might even say they are our “big rocks”.

What we teach will not change all that much; we will still be teaching Jewish and Christian Heritage, Unitarian Universalist History and Identity, World Religions, and Science and Nature/Wonder and Awe.

But how we deliver what we teach will always be filtered through and checked against the question: did we “Inspire/Empower/Connect”?

I can’t wait to see you all for our Homecoming Service and Water Communion, Sunday, Sept. 11, in the Meeting House.

Like last year, our first day of R.E. (September 18) will be a scavenger hunt of the Parish house…

Ground floor to attic… Teams of teachers, children and Youth… Getting to know each other, getting to know the building, and getting to know where to find stuff… all in one fun, pseudo-competitive swoop.

Bright blessings and “see you soon”…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

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Confederate Flag 2 – How to Talk to Small Children about Racism: Celebrating Bree Newsome

Last night, our family ate dinner with another family, and their kid had seen a video of Bree Newsome taking down the confederate flag. Yesterday, I wrote a satire post for adults about the confede…

Source: Confederate Flag 2 – How to Talk to Small Children about Racism: Celebrating Bree Newsome

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Religious Education Notes                                  4/24/16

Dear Old Ship,

What a day we had today!     Sunday, April 24th…     Earth Day, 2016…

It was the kind of day you want to save in a scrap book… to buoy your spirits on those days when life feels extra difficult… and there are no friends around… and inspiration is hard to come by…

So here’s your scrapbook entry:

The Story for all ages was wonderful today. It was about a boy who could make wonderful clothing from clouds.  But this boy was very wise and never made more than he absolutely needed.

Berni and the choir composed a tune to go with the story, and by the end, we all knew it!           Enough is enough; not one… stitch… more….

the cloud spinner1

Ken probably told a wonderful sermon, I wasn’t there… I never am. (frowny face emoji)

Over in the Parish House, things were hopping…

We had eight babies and toddlers in the Nursery… Blessings to Lulu and Jessica for bringing the love, and to Corey F-M for staying and being the third care-giver; keeping it safe and legal.

The Youth Group worked upstairs, putting the finishing touches on their worship service in the Meetinghouse next week.  It’s going to be powerful.

The rest of us did what we do in the spring.  We broke into two groups, circled up and learned each-others’ names, and then went outside… One group figured out how to make a sundial. The other found chives in the back woods and transplanted them into the playground garden.


We had a giant birthday party… with cake… for EVERYBODY! It was so much fun. And the excitement was SO disproportionate; wild and wiggly… for everyone!!

Everyone born in a month, sat at that month together; no matter what age. And they had conversation starters on the table, to help them get to know each other. SO much fun. SO much talking.

happy birthday CAKE day


It was a good day to be alive… on planet Earth… and at Old Ship… (smiley face emoji)

Bright blessings, fellow earthlings…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

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Religious Education Notes 11/25/15

Religious Education Notes                                  11/25/15

Dear Old Ship,

Sometimes I think, the only thing I have to offer the world is truth… but I have limited access to truth… and limited understanding of it. One thing I do have access to is my self… and while I’m sure my understanding of even that is limited, if I’m as honest as I can be about myself, maybe some truth can be shared. Maybe some good can occasionally come of that.  I’ve seen it happen.

Here’s a TED talk about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder… It was my plan that this be my newsletter article topic… in the abstract… because it is a superlative explanation of what it’s like to have what’s commonly known as, “ADHD”…

ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder: Stephen Tonti at TEDxCMU

Here’s a real life example from my own truth:

See the date at the top of this page?

It’s November 25th

The newsletter deadline was November 23rd. I’m late with my article. I’m often late with my newsletter article. Ask Julianna.

And she has been patient with me about my proclivity to be late with my newsletter article; probably because I am upfront about my “disorder”… and probably because she is very clear about the #1 principle of Unitarian Universalism…

So… she tries to help me… she sends newsletter deadline reminders ahead of time… It helps a bit…

I write the deadline onto my calendar… it’s often on a Monday… and Monday is my day off, so I don’t look at my calendar.

One could argue that the point of the calendar is to look ahead at what is coming up and do what’s needed to be ready for that… One would be right… Still, one might want to watch the above video…

So…. Last month, when I was days late again, and full of apologies, I decided to lie to my calendar and tell it that the newsletter deadline is on the FRI-day be-FORE the Monday…. Clever, huh?

This morning, Wednesday morning, Julianna says to me, “I don’t think I have a newsletter article from you yet.”

I say, “But it’s not due until FRI-day!”

“LAST Friday,” she tells me.

So, yeah… Sometimes, when I’m doing great things, ADHD is indeed a “Difference in Cognition”…

But when it comes to newsletter deadline day, it is definitely a disorder…

And sometimes, when I’m saying, “I affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person”, I’m hearing  Robin Williams say, “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

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Religious Education Notes 9/24/15

Religious Education Notes                                        9/24/15

news1 news2news3

Dear Old Ship,

Looking for inspiration this morning, I’ve been listening to “Hands” by Jewel… Some of you probably know it… Many of you probably don’t… But it is a beautiful song, with an inspiring message.   (if you’re curious follow this link: )

It would be bulky to insert all the lyrics, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include a few… the ones that apply to this newsletter, anyway.

 We’ll fight, not out of spite;
For someone must stand up for what’s right.
‘Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There I shall go sing.

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own and
I am never broken.

In the end only kindness matters…
In the end only kindness matters…

 Sometimes I need someone else to remind me what my primary purpose is; there are so many people and agencies trying to define that for me.

Songs and poetry serve that purpose when I’m home or alone.  And children and other U.U.s help me when were all together.

Sometimes a lot of voices confuse me to begin with, but almost always, if I stay in connection, clarity returns, often sharper than when I’m alone.

 And I am braver when I’m not alone… and stronger…  more willing to speak up, and more able to help.

 That’s what community offers to all of us… and what we strive to offer your children through religious education. 

 Kindness, courage and blessings

Beverly Tricco, Director of Religious Education

 p.s. here isthe link to our R.E. Brochure on the Old Ship Church website   

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Religious Education Notes 8/26/15

wildfire museum

Dear Old Ship,

The world gives us lots of messages about being careful, and polite, and using our inside voices… but Annie Dillard reminds us that sometimes, what’s called for is “the extravagant gesture”.

I like to think this is something that a Unitarian Universalist religious education can provide… an opportunity for the extravagant gesture… and a place to experience it… together.

What we offer is as needed now, as it ever has been… and the Religious Education committees, for children and for Youth, have already begun dreaming grand dreams and planning big plans.

I’m including an R.E. calendar in this newsletter with the things we’ve come up with so far.  Things will be added as we go along… and no doubt some plans will be discarded. That’s how we stay responsive to the needs and enthusiasms of our children and Youth, and their families.

Feel free to talk to me about the calendar, about your extravagant ideas, and about what would be most nourishing for you and your family.

Call, e-mail or visit me during the week, because as always, I like to dedicate my brief, precious, Sunday morning time to being 100% present and available to children and Youth, who don’t have the power or the executive skills to call, e-mail, or visit me during the week…

“Flinging intricacies and colossi”…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education


1- I can’t wait to see you all for our Homecoming Service and Water Communion, Sunday, Sept. 13, in the Meeting House.

2- Like last year, our first day of R.E. (September 20) will be a scavenger hunt of the Parish house… Ground floor to attic… Teams of teachers, children and Youth… Getting to know each other, getting to know the building, and getting to know where to find stuff… all in one fun, pseudo-competitive swoop.

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R.E. NOTES – April 30, 2015

Dear Old Ship,

I know it’s only April, but I’ve been starting to think about the winding-up of Sunday school year… sigh…

BUT there are still some very cool things coming up:

May 31st (Sunday) – Children’s Chapel – Join us for a special service (before regular service!) for those children normally in the Parish house during the “adult” worship.  This service will feature a Story to be brought to life by Beverly Tricco. ~Service will be held in the Nursery at the Parish Hall on Sunday, May 31st, from 9:30-10:00 a.m.

We hope to see you there! And by all means bring your friends; the more, the merrier!

 May 31st (Sunday)Bike Not BombsBike Drive: 12:00 PM until 4:00 PM; donate bikes OR help break bikes down

Donate your used bikes and/or bike parts, tools and cycling accessories (i.e., helmets, lights, pumps, locks) to Bikes not Bombs: a terrific organization located in Boston, MA that will put them all to great use.

“Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change. We reclaim thousands of bicycles each year. We create local and global programs that provide skill development, jobs, and sustainable transportation. Our programs mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation.”

Visit their website to learn about the great education programs in Boston & around the world that you can directly support on May 31st with your bike donations.   $10 Donation for Bike Processing suggested (hoped for, not mandatory)   Bike Drive Sponsored by First Parish/Old Ship Church’s Youth Group

 June 13, 2015 (Saturday) – Boston Pride Day – Boston Pride produces events and activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect, and awareness in Greater Boston and beyond. Fostering diversity, unity, visibility, and dignity, we educate, communicate, and advocate by building and strengthening community connections.

June 21, 2015 (Sunday) – Year-end Quidditch – yes, that’s right; Quidditch… Bring your broom…

quidditch1  quidditch2

Hugs and blessings,

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

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R.E. NOTES – March 24, 2015

Dear Old Ship,

As I hustle hustle hustle to raise funds (Faithify, concert, flowers, potatoes, etc.) and get a group of 10 teens and 8 adults to Appalachia (our THIRD big service/learning trip) while doing all the regular Sunday stuff and teacher-recruiting and budget stuff and annual report prep… etc. etc.,  one might think I’d be tempted to say “Ah, the heck with it… It’s too much trouble… Hardly worth it.”

But I don’t think that… ever.

Please read the piece below and maybe you’ll understand why.

Bright blessings and fabulous young people…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religious Education

In Defense of Teen-agers  – by Elizabeth Gilbert  

 “….I was recently speaking at a public event, when a lovely 17-year-old girl stood up in the audience to ask me a question. She said, “What advice do you have for my generation? And where do you think we are going wrong?”

I looked at her sternly and said, “You know what’s wrong with your generation?”

She braced herself bravely and said, “Tell me.”

I replied, “Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I love your generation. You guys are wonderful. And don’t listen to anybody who says otherwise.”

The relief on her face was instant and immeasurable. It was clear she had never yet heard a good thing said about her generation.

But I meant it.

Today’s American teenagers are the most sensitive, least violent, least bullying, least racist, least homophobic, most globally-minded, most compassionate, most environmentally-conscious, least dogmatic, and overall kindest group of young people this country has ever known.

They were raised to be nice to each other. They have always been encouraged to be tolerant with each other. They weren’t allowed to hit each other in the sandbox while adults looked the other way and let them “work it out on their own”. They don’t smoke as much as my generation did, they don’t drink (or drink and drive) as much as my generation did, they don’t beat each other up as much as my generation did, and they aren’t as mean to each other as my generation was. They don’t even have as much sex as my generation did.

Are they a little bit coddled, a little bit “soft”?

You bet. And I love them for that. This world could use more a bit more softness, and a lot less toughness.

They’re gentler than we were at their age, truly.

So let’s be gentle with them, in return.

Let’s give them a break, and stop complaining about them.

Are they perfect? Of course not — they’re teenagers. Do they live on their cellphones, and say “like” too much? Do they have short attention spans? Sure, but was there ever a teenager who had a long attention span? Do they listen to music that offends and even scares you? Whatever. [  ] Are some kids today jerks? Sure, but show me a generation without jerks. I submit, in fact, that this is the least jerky generation yet.

Do today’s teenagers seem somewhat less motivated and ambitious than generations in the past? Could that possibly be because they have watched their elders drive themselves into a frenzy of debt and depression through constant consumer striving? Could it be that maybe they are questioning the whole rat race?

And are there perhaps better virtues to cultivate than mere ambition?

I think so.

Like consider this, for instance: I know a 17 year-old straight boy who recently took his gay 17 year-old neighbor (his childhood best friend) to the prom. The straight boy wanted his gay friend to enjoy the experience of prom, and the gay boy didn’t have a date, so the straight boy gallantly invited him. They rented tuxedos, a limo, took photos, danced, and had a ball. Nobody in their school batted an eye. And the real miracle is — the straight kid couldn’t even understand why i thought this was such a big deal. To his mind, it was simple: He loved his buddy, and saw no reason why they couldn’t go to the prom together as friends. Nothing about the situation made him feel threatened in the least. Nor did their classmates see it as strange.

Such a scenario would have been unthinkable in my high school back in 1987, where kids who even seemed gay were routinely bullied — not only by their fellow students, but sometimes even by their teachers. And I went to school in the liberal Northeast. We considered ourselves PROGRESSIVE!

Do we still have farther to go? Of course, but my hopes are that this generation will keep showing us the way to greater kindness.

If you have a teenager in your life, then, do try to appreciate him or her. I know they can be maddening, but they are also something quite special. (And as my 102 year-old grandmother once said to a room full of her descendants, who were complaining about KIDS THESE DAYS, “Hey! I knew ALL of you when you were 14, and you were all difficult. But you all turned out pretty good. These kids will turn out good, too.”)

In fact, I think they will turn out great.

And if you ARE a teenager (which I know is unlikely, because this is Facebook, not Instagram, or Snapchat) just know that I think you’re terrific. I admire your generation immensely. Don’t let anyone try to tell you that we were better than you were, back when we were your age. Trust me: we were not better. I was there. I remember.

I can’t wait to see what this generation is going to make of the world, with such decency and such compassion bred into their bones.

It’s an exciting time in history, and a good time. Believe me.


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