…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…”


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.


Thank you for “beholding the universe” with me…

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religion Education


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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…


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


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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


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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…
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Religious Education Notes                                           11/17/16

Dear Old Ship,

This spring, our Youth Group will be travelling for the fourth time; carrying the name and the work of Old Ship Church out into the wider world once again. For the newer Old Shippers, for whom this might be your first “trip year”, I will recap.

In 2014-2015, they traveled to Williamson, West Virginia, the heart of the coal fields, did varied labor on small farms, made dozens of raised garden beds with veterans and other grass roots agencies, and learned a lot about the people who have lost their livelihoods since the market for coal has dwindled. And, they brought home friendships.


In 2012-2013, they traveled to Washington, DC, kicking off their stay with a 350.Org rally on the mall, and continuing with an array of service and learning projects that took them from being kitchen grunts at DC Central Kitchen, to sorting children’s clothes in a community center, to handing out free produce at a small neighborhood outlet in Anacostia. And they met and learned from people who they will never forget.

Their first trip in 2010-2011, was to post-Katrina New Orleans.  Five years after Katrina, there was still devastation to be seen and human heartbreak to witness. Our young people put their hands to work at projects as varied as caring for animals at the over-burdened shelters, to helping to create and implement filing systems at the Ashe Center. The trip was so powerful; some Youth changed their career path, based on what they’d learned and who they’d met.

They do these trips because the urge to be “of use” is strong and real… because learning about people is best done face to face… and because changes made by work that is real, and the friendships that are formed working side-by-side, are deeply heartfelt and not soon forgotten.

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.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence at work.  

Sarah Hurley and I will be travelling with the Youth, as will our beloved Fan Leonard. I spoke to Fan at some length yesterday and learned that this is not her first involvement with farm-workers’ justice work.

In the late 1960s, Fan Leonard was a part of Cesar Chavez’s efforts to gain justice for California farm-workers.  Chavez’s organization, “La Causa” was supported by organized labor, religious groups, minorities, and students. There was a Boston office that was organizing the local consumer boycott of California table grapes, begun in August, 1967.

Fan, and her sons, and others like the Maryknoll Fathers checked the local stores for boycotted grapes; and attempted to influence these markets, and the public, not to purchase grapes. Fan says she was “the token housewife”.

Token though she may have felt, her efforts over those years got her harassed by passersby, arrested by police, and threatened by wine-company reps who actually came to her home.

When we discussed the continuing struggles of the farm workers and their families in Florida and their efforts to be treated with justice, Fan said, “Nothing has changed much.”

Thankfully, neither has she.

Sweet inspiration to all of us,

Beverly Tricco

Director of Religion Education



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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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