RE Newsletter – 9/1/2013

Howdy Parents,

This Week in Elementary and Spirit Play the children will participate in the Promises General Lesson. This Unitarian Universalist Lesson gives the children more information about each of the  Promises (Principles) of Unitarian Universalism.  The promises are the focus for this year’s Spirit Play class.  Most weeks the story will relate to one of these promise colors.


Red is for Respect All People.  We are all gifts to each other and don’t always know about the wonderful things about people until we get to know them.

Orange is for Offer Fair and Kind Treatment to Everyone.  We use our hearts to show kindness everyday.

Yellow is for Yearn to Accept and Learn about Ourselves, Others, and the Mystery.  A little flame burns in us to learn.  By thinking about ourselves and other people and learning & celebrating our differences, we are reminded that we are all connected to the Mystery that some people call God. 

Green is for Grow by Exploring What is Right and True in Life.  It’s sometimes hard to decide what is true and right, so the flower reminds us that we grow as people by exploring answers to our questions.  We may find different answers to the same questions, or questions that have no answers, but we keep on asking.

Blue is for Believe in Our Ideas and Act on Them.  Once we figure out what is right and true for us, this bell reminds us that we have to try to do what’s true and right, not just talk about it.  The bell is that little voice inside us that lets us know when something we do is right or wrong.

Indigo, a kind of dark blue color, is for Insist on a Peaceful, Fair and Free World.  The dove reminds us to try to do what’s right.  We want all people to have freedom and justice in their lives.  Justice means being fair to everyone.  Peace means living together in harmony.

Violet, a kind of purple color, is for Value our Home Earth that We Share.  We value each living being as a gift just like we do people.  The Earth reminds us again that we are all connected in our lives.  We need to be careful of what we do so that all living beings on Earth will have clean water, and clean air, and enough places to live.  We need to remember that we are only one being on the Earth and that there are many others that we need to respect. 


Here are some wondering questions for you to share with your children this week:

I wonder which promise you like the best?

I wonder what happens when we keep a promise?

I wonder if it is easy or hard to keep a promise?



I wonder what here you think is most important?


This Week in the Teen group we will explore the dynamics of power and it’s implications in our church, lives, and world. 


We will explore the following definitions adapted from “Leadership Without Easy Answers” by Ronald A. Heifetz:


POWER is the ability to achieve purpose. — from a 1967 sermon by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

AUTHORITY is conferred power to perform a service. Authority is conferred as part of an exchange. Failure to meet the terms of the exchange means losing one’s authority: It can be taken back or given to another who promises to fulfill the bargain.

AUTHORITY can be conferred in two forms: formal and informal. With FORMAL authority come the various powers of the office, role or position. With INFORMAL authority comes the power to influence attitude and behavior beyond compliance.

FORMAL authority is granted because the officeholder promises to meet a set of explicit expectations (job description, legislated mandates).

INFORMAL authority comes from promising to meet expectations that are often left implicit (expectations of trustworthiness, ability, civility).


Within this conversation we will also review the standard Power Matrix (hero, villain, victim, bystander) and it’s failures as it creates an ‘us vs. them’ mentality which doesn’t allow us to fully live our principles. The teens will ponder this and explore the idea that if everyone has power it isn’t a power shift that needs to take place to create change but a paradigm shift.


Finally we will bring the conversation to rest as we explore the differences of R.E. and Beacon discuss the question- do youth have to be the ones leading the discussion to still hold power? Our hope is that the youth walk away with the understanding that they always have with them the ability to create change and therefore always have power, and that they allow others to have authority.


Some follow up questions for the car ride home or dinner table might be:


How do you feel about the idea of power?

Do you hold power?

What things make you feel powerful?

Is conflict a result of power?

How do you allow people to have authority in your own life?