Here we are in August and, unbelievably, almost back to school! We love you, Summer, and wish you were with us all year long! Alas, it is not to be.
Here at San Gabriel we will all support our children as they grow in mind and body, and continue to support them throughout the school year. Our goal at church is for each child to feel, as my fellow DRE Carrie Krause puts it, that they are whole and that they are loved. We welcome them into community. We offer comfort as well as challenge. And we do it in a way that is fun and engaging, leading us all into greater relationship with one another.
So, what do we have planned for August and beyond?
Sunday, August 13th, we will hold a Blessing of the Backpacks ceremony. Your child should bring whatever bag they take to school and we will make sure they know that all of us at church are with them as they begin another year of learning. Adults who work an academic calendar are also encouraged to bring their bags! After the blessing, I will lead a Children’s Chapel. Every Children’s Chapel concludes with a social justice project, and this month it will be filling backpacks with school supplies for the Fill the Bus campaign. There will be an opportunity for us to go together to the Junior Forum’s clubhouse to deliver the backpacks and continue to help sorting supplies after church.
Sunday, August 20th, I will host an info session on Raising Race-Conscious Children before church – 9:00 a.m., in the Fellowship House. Childcare and tacos are provided. Those in attendance will decide next steps – do we want to meet regularly to support each other in this work, communicate online, etc etc.
Sunday, August 20th is also the first day of classes of the Fall semester. We welcome back Allison McKee as our lead teacher for the PreK-1 st grade class, and Kenneth Witherspoon as our 2nd -5th grade lead teacher. Both will be continuing their curricula from the spring – Wonderful Welcome for the younger children, and Toolbox of Faith for the older. I am thrilled to announce that Toya McClurkan and Sarah Smith will be team-teaching our new middle school class! They will be using the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith curriculum Amazing Grace.
Religious Education follows a pattern of children attending class three Sundays per month, and the remaining Sunday in Children’s Chapel. We have held two All Ages services this year, and will hold two more. Our Wonder Box is an important part of every worship service. We provide fellowship opportunities to families through pizza lunches and child-friendly outings. And we offer extended learning, social justice work, and faith development to the entire family.
Join us in this amazing ministry! If you would like to present the Wonder Box, teach, assist in the classroom, provide logistical support, or help in any other myriad of ways, please let me know! We will find a good fit for you. In so doing, I hope that you too will discover the spiritual growth that comes through being in relationship with children and youth.
It is important work, raising up the next generation of UUs.