This Sunday in RE

Dear Beautiful UUI Families,


I am so excited to be back at UUI tomorrow! Jamie and I were in St. Louis last Sunday for the UU MidAmerica Regional Assembly and I missed seeing you all!

We have such an awesome day planned tomorrow. I hope you can join us!


Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Exploration Guide for this week, April 14!

Nursery

Nursery care is available this week from 10am to noon.

Preschool

We will be reading Corduroy by Don Freeman, learning about the 3rd UU Principle, and learning that we are all lovable just the way we are. We will also be singing a teddy bear song and making button necklaces.

K-2nd Grade

Our Kindergarten - 2nd graders will set up their altar space, light a chalice, and share their joys and sorrows followed by a reading of "It's Mine" by Leo Lionni. They will finish the morning playing a fun, cooperative game with tangerines.

3rd - 5th Grade

This week after lighting our chalice and sharing joys and sorrows, we're playing Minute to Win It games! We'll divide the class into two teams. Each team will learn about various worthy causes and will vote for a charity that they will play for. Then they will compete in some really fun 60-second games that involve using drinking straws, stockings, shaving cream, puffed cheese balls, and tennis balls in creative ways. Whichever team scores the most points wins the big money ($20) to donate to the charity of their choice.

6th - 8th Grade

As a part of our Building Bridges curriculum, we will be learning about Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy in preparation for a trip to a Greek Orthodox Cathedral for a Pascha (Easter) service.

9th - 12th Grade

This week we're finishing up the second part of a two-part lesson on the UU Principles and how we live them out in our everyday lives. Following class, we will have lunch together and then have a youth group meeting until 1:15pm.


This Sunday in RE

Dear Beautiful UUI Families,

Happy Spring Break!

Whether you are breaking-in-place or traveling, I hope you are finding joy in family, in new adventures and time away from your usual routine.

We have a wonderful morning planned for you at UUI!

  • Worship Associate, Mary Beth Carlson, is delivering the sermon: "Hope, Resilience and Seeds". As seeds hide in the dark with no sign of light, they remember that what they need to do is within them. Our hope and resilience depend upon AND nurture our belief in ourselves and the greater good. 

  • Special music will be provided by the Indianapolis Women's Chorus!

Just a few notes:

  1. It's time to sign up for Peace Camp! We had a blast last year and registration is available online now! Look for details below!

  2. We are remodeling the Nursery. This is exciting news! If you can help, please let us know!

  3. We are doing escape rooms for our junior and senior high youth this Easter (April 21). If you are interested in helping plan the rooms, please let me know! You don't have to be at church on that day to participate in the planning.

  4. We are having our annual egg hunt on Easter for our Preschool - 5th graders. If you would like to help with crafting the treasure table items ahead of time, please let me know!

  5. We are needing additional nursery staff so if you know someone you think would be wonderful working in our nursery, please ask them to contact me!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This Sunday in RE

Dear Friends,

How are you doing? Has this been a tough week for you? I know it has been for me after the unspeakable tragedy that happened in New Zealand.

Tomorrow Jamie is doing a service in memory of poet, Mary Oliver. The Joys and Sorrows portion of the service will include a reading by Elizabeth Valencia as she describes it, "In honor of the lost lives of our Muslim brothers and sisters, our brothers and sisters in humanity. Shared by a sister who had a Turkish friend in Ohio send it to her, written by a Chinese convert Muslim woman."

In addition to everything they are learning in their religious exploration sessions, our children and youth will be learning about UUI as a loving and supportive community. We hope you will join us at church tomorrow and experience that as well.

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education


This Sunday in RE

Dear Families,

Has anyone told you you're looking like a force for justice today? Well, then, let me be the first because it's true! Attending a UU church is an act of love and social justice. 

With your help, at UUI we provide a unique spiritual home where all people are welcome and celebrated. We hold up and teach our children and youth values of love, inclusion, compassion and giving. And in a world that seems increasingly full of anger, divisiveness, prejudice and hate, we need these values more than ever.

To make this possible, we need you. To be sure, the gift of your presence on Sunday and participation in our programs makes for a richer experience and community for everyone who attends. For this we are immensely grateful! We know this isn't always easy for families who have so much going on with work, school and extracurricular activities or for whom sometimes getting out the door with little ones with everyone dressed and fed is not easy! 

As you may have heard, we are in the middle of our annual Stewardship Pledge Drive. Some information on this: 

  • A pledge is a form we ask everyone to fill out and turn in that states how much a family intends to contribute financially to UUI for the coming church year.

  • During the annual pledge drive, staff, committee chairs, the Board of Trustees and the Finance Committee work together to develop a draft budget. The budget includes staff salaries and benefits and costs to support our programs such as religious education, social justice, outreach, music and art.

  • At the end of the pledge drive, the final budget is set. If we don't reach our pledge goal, cuts to the budget will have to be made. If we exceed our pledge goal, we can increase our spending in a number of areas, including religious education!

As people we go through different seasons in our lives. In some seasons we have more to contribute financially than in others. If you are able to send in a pledge form (and these are kept confidential, by the way), I encourage you to do so. No amount is too small to make a big difference in the life of our church. Your pledge not only supports UUI financially, but is one of the metrics we look at to see if our families are happy with our programs and our community, to see if we are growing, and as a sign of vibrancy of community.

If you have already submitted your pledge, thank you! If not, you can click here for a blank pledge form. Forms are also available in the Social Hall at the Welcome Desk on Sunday morning. Pledge forms can be turned in at church.

This Sunday marks the end of our Pledge Drive so it would be awesome if everyone could have their pledge turned in on or before that day.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know.

With Gratitude, Peace and Love, 

Susanne
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This Sunday in RE

Dear Families,

Happy March!

Even though it's almost Spring, it's going to be cold tomorrow morning. But I hope that doesn't keep you home! Come join us in the warmth of community because we are going to be learning a lot of really important things in Religious Exploration!

It doesn't matter if kids are still in pj's.
It doesn't matter if you are late to church.

Because we welcome you and your family as real and not ideal. This isn't Instagram!

Plus, the coffee is really good--they are now grinding fair trade coffee beans fresh every Sunday morning!

Looking forward to seeing you in the morning!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This Sunday in RE

Hey, Y'all!

What are you doing July 15-19?

Why do I ask?

Well, I have one of the most seriously fun things going on then and I want you to be a part of it, that's all!

That's the week of Peace Camp for our 4-year-olds - 6th graders and there's a way for everyone to participate!

That each and every person is important, that all people should be treated fairly and kindly and that we should work for a peaceful, fair and free world--these are just some of the lessons our Padawan, or Jedi apprentices, will be learning on our beautiful campus during their week at Jedi Academy.  We'll be learning through games, art, maker space, music and more!

Last year we took a trip to the Butler Planetarium, practiced our Jedi skills with light sabers, learned the moon phases with oreos, learned peaceful practices, and did so many other fun, meaningful and interesting things!

Please check below for registration information, volunteer and counselor information for junior and senior high youth. If you are interested in helping with a proposal to NASA so that we can have a chance to talk to the International Space Station please let me know!

Tomorrow is going to be awesome at UUI! I hope your family can join us!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This Sunday in RE

Dear Beautiful UUI Families,

I am continuously amazed at the wonderful parents we have in our congregation. Sometimes I see you all parenting and wish I could get in a time machine and go back and do some of the awesome things with my kids you are doing with your kids and most especially, parent the way you are parenting. I see you being conscious and considerate and loving parents. I see you out there! Even when I know it's sometimes hard and lonely and some days it might just seem relentless. :)

So, a couple of things. I want to remind you, again, that you're not alone. You have a village at your church. So come to church as often as you can to strengthen those bonds and fellowship with like-minded parents who are parenting UU kids. They are going through the same things you are. This is a gift for you and for the other parents of the congregation!

The other idea I want to share with you is as Unitarian Universalists, it's ok to set an expectation as a family that the family goes to church. Yes, it is! 

This is so important! It is important self care and it's important to teach our children and youth!

We expect and encourage our kids to join extracurricular activities as a means to be active, to be well-rounded individuals, to learn how to work with others, to gain social skills, and for so many other great reasons. I'm going to suggest to you that bringing children and youth to church and expecting them and encouraging them to attend and making it a priority in their lives is equally important as signing up for a team or play or orchestra and making sure they are there for all the practices, games and performances.

It's ok to set an expectation that family goes to church. It's important to teach children and youth to tend to their spiritual lives, by example and by expectation. Ours is a faith tradition that doesn't dictate to anyone how they will believe and who they can love. One of my favorite UU quotes is by another DRE, Andrea Lerner, "Our faith is not interested in saving your soul--we're here to help you unfold the awesome soul you already have." Whatever soul means to you, we are here to help you do this. UUI is a faith community who needs you! We have dedicated teachers and youth advisers who are lovingly giving their time to each week to our kids. Our congregation has consistently identified children and youth RE worthy of funding as a major ministry of the church. Participating in RE is an act of Social Justice, and in doing so you're helping save the world.

Can you tell I'm passionate about this? I am! As a parent you have approximately 936 weeks from the day a child is born until they graduate from high school. This means we have approximately 234 Sundays together. Our mission for our RE Program is to help our children grow into adults who are confident, happy, kind, brave, compassionate, peaceful, spiritually resilient, joyful, loving, accepting and justice-minded, who are critical thinkers, who embrace anti-racism/anti-oppression practices, who are comfortable in their body and with their sexuality, conversant in other religious traditions and have a strong Unitarian Universalist identity. That's a lot and it's all so important! We can do this together, friends.

Today in RE:

  • Preschoolers are reading a story about taking care of the earth and playing a game.

  • K-5th Graders are doing another fun Spirit Jam with the theme of 7th Principle, "We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things." We'll be decorating a bat house to hang on the UUI campus and starting a crayon mosaic out of used and broken crayons that will be an all-church art project!

  • 6th - 8th Graders will continue learning about Judaism. They will discuss their trip to Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and discuss the Jewish concept of life after death and Jewish burial rituals.

  • Our Senior High Youth will be staying in the service (some youth will be participating!) to hear today's sermon about afrofuturism. Part of the sermon will be about the movie, Black Panther, which the class watched together on Popcorn Movie Day.

I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This Sunday in RE

Dear Beautiful UUI Families,

Today is going to be such a wonderful day at UUI!

  • Jamie's sermon is a challenging look at one era of our Unitarian and Universalist past and why our first principle (the inherent worth and dignity of each person) is so important.

  • Our Preschool class will be reading "The Colors of Us" by Karen Katz and doing a multi-cultural family art project.

  • Our K-5th graders will be doing a Spirit Jam with the 6th UU Principle, "We believe in working for a fair, peaceful, and free world", as the theme. The Spirit Jams we do are workshop-style and child-directed learning so kids can choose which workshops they are interested in doing. This morning they can choose from making dog toys for shelter animals, decorating lunch bags for Meals on Wheels and creating rocks with positive messages for the Kindness Rocks project. Or they can do all three!

  • Our Junior High Youth will be learning about how many different religions deal with the concept of evil. They will also be learning about and making Hamsa symbols, which is an ancient symbol used by many different religions and cultures.

  • Our Senior High Class will be exploring compassion and talking about mirror neurons. They will also be decorating their new mailboxes, making pizzas for lunch, brainstorming sermon ideas to pitch to Jamie, talking about a youth-led service and meeting with Jamie to discuss their ideas.

  • It's Second Sunday which means lunch will be provided for everyone immediately after the service. There will be homemade soups and sandwiches, courtesy of the lovely and talented, Janet Cohen. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are, as always, available! Activities for all ages happen right after lunch starting at 12:15. Kids and adults can make Valentine's Day crafts. Jamie and I will both be leading workshops (Click here to check out the details!) and child care will be provided for our littlest UU's.

  • 5pm - 8pm we're having OWL (Our Whole Lives) for our 7th - 9th Graders in the Cottage.

I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This Sunday in RE

Dear Beautiful UUI Families,

Did you know we have an RE Council for Children and Youth? We do! The mission statement under which we operate is:

Our mission is to help our children grow into adults who are confident, happy, kind, brave, compassionate, peaceful, spiritually resilient, joyful, loving, accepting and justice-minded, who are critical thinkers, who embrace anti-racism/anti-oppression practices, who are comfortable in their body and with their sexuality, conversant in other religious traditions and have a strong Unitarian Universalist identity.

We reach these goals by providing a safe and loving church home and building a strong community, providing exceptional Sunday programming, special programming such as Our Whole Lives Lifespan Sexuality Curricula, Coming of Age Program, Youth Group, Habitat for Humanity Youth Trip, etc. We support families in their life journey, provide full-week faith opportunities, and teach children and youth how to do church.

One of the things we aim for as the children grow is that they become self-directed in their Sunday gatherings. In Preschool, their volunteers are teachers. In their middle school Coming of Age Program, they are provided with mentors to help them discern their current beliefs. Our goal is that by the time children become senior high youth, teachers have become advisors that help facilitate the ideas of the youth.

We start empowering the children when they are little, in small, age-appropriate ways.

This Sunday for our Preschool, K-2 and 3-5 classes, we will be learning about the 5th UU Principle, "We believe all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them."

In each class, children will be given the opportunity to vote on which story the class reads, which game they play, which activity they engage in. It's going to be a lot of fun!

In our 6th - 8th Grade Class, for our Neighboring Faiths program we will continue learning about Judaism. We will be watching a video, learning about the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. We will be making Resolution Sticks and eating apples and honey.

For our 9th - 12th graders, this week many of our youth are attending a youth CON in Kentucky. Youth who attend church are invited to attend the service or volunteer in the RE Program. Check in at the RE Table in the Social Hall if you would like to help out!

I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This Sunday in RE

Dear Beautiful UUI Families,

Ever since I moved here from Texas, I've found meaning in watching the seasons turn through the windows of the Sanctuary. We really don't seem to get snow here all that often, do we? So not only did I miss you all this past Sunday when everything was cancelled due to weather, I realized I also missed seeing the snow through those windows. I need that spiritual practice to reassure me that in the midst of ageing, illness, scary things that I swear have never happened in the government before, some things remain constant. They happen like clockwork, according to their own time, no matter what else is going on in the world.

As you may know, we are celebrating Chalica at UUI this year and this week in RE we are focusing on and exploring the fourth UU Principle, "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning" or, the kids' version, "We believe that every person must be free to search for what is true and right in life."

Observing Chalica is an excellent way to learn about our Principles, to consider ways to honor and live them in your everyday life, and to celebrate a unique liberal religion of which we are a part, that's helping to make the world a much better place every day! I hope your family will give it a try! Resources are here and you can also google for more ideas and inspiration!

Be sure and stop by the Religious Exploration Table in the Social Hall before or after Service this Sunday! We will have Chalica goodies for you to take home to help you celebrate, including lots of fun chalices to choose from! Even if you haven't started your Chalica celebration, it's not too late to start now!

I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Dear Beautiful UUI Families,

I'm wondering how the first week of Chalica is going for your family?

As you may know, Chalica started last Sunday and so this week we are celebrating and exploring the first UU Principle, "the inherent worth and dignity of every person" or "every person is important".

Last Sunday did you stop by the Religious Exploration table in the Social Hall after the Service and pick up your Chalica gift bag? In it there were materials to make a chalice. If not, there are extra gift bags waiting for you this coming Sunday! Plus, there will be Chalica gift bags with materials for the second week of Chalica, during which we will explore the Second UU Principle, "We believe all people should be treated fairly and kindly."

Observing Chalica is an excellent way to learn about our Principles, to consider ways to honor and live them in your everyday life, and to celebrate a unique liberal religion of which we are a part, that's helping to make the world a much better place every day! I hope your family will give it a try! Resources are here and you can also google for more ideas and inspiration!

This coming Sunday, to kick off the second week of Chalica, our Preschool Class, K-2nd Grade Class and 3rd - 5th Grade Class will all spend time exploring and being inspired by the 2nd Principle. Details about each class are below.

Immediately after the Service, we will have our Second Sunday Program. UUI member, Janet Cohen will cook us a wonderful lunch of soup and sandwiches (vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available). After lunch, there will be activities for all ages, including Youth Group for 6th - 8th Graders!

It's going to be a great day! See you there!

Peace and Love,

Susanne Hinson-Rieger
Director of Lifespan Religious Education