thankful_smiley_facesReading back through the past few focus articles, I notice that some are written logistically and in the third person while others are first person narrative, reflecting on experience and growth in the Faith Development program. I think that accurately represents the month to month focus of the program. Some months are completely centered on schedules, outlines and procedures and other months my focus shifts to the emotional experience and growth of our children, our volunteers and myself.

As we head into the holidays I feel a pull at my heartstrings towards the reflection side of the coin but know that I must stay focused logistically if we are to smooth sail through the busy holiday whirlwind. So if I may, I would like to combine my two Focus writing “styles” this month. Being November I want to express my gratitude for some different aspects of our Faith Development Program while briefly touching on our accomplishments, plans and requests.

Faith Development Volunteers: What an amazing team we have. As most of you know, I have taken on the position of the Music Director to supplement my part time status as the Director of Lifespan Faith Development. I don’t think anyone, including myself, knew how I was going to balance wearing both “hats”, especially on Sundays. But it has happened. And the only reason it has happened is the increased commitment of The Faith Development Team. All of the teachers, assistants and Youth Advisors have truly taken their responsibility to a whole new level. It has been incredible to watch. I’m so proud of everyone and have come to love every member of our Faith Development Family. And goodness do we have some fun, at most of our team meetings I end up laughing until my cheeks hurt.

As our teachers flourish and grow, so does the number of children attending our classes. And as our attendance increases, so does the need for more amazing teachers. We are nearing capacity in our youngest class (K-3) and it may be necessary to split into another class in the very near future. Our Senior High group has recently doubled and taken the initiative to request weekly Sunday lessons. With our growing numbers we are in need of 3 or 4 more volunteers. Let me know if you want to join this fabulous team! It is an exciting time to be a part of Lifespan Faith Development.

Reverend Audette: My “boss”, mentor and friend. How grateful I am for her patience and guidance. I know I must make her crazy with my forgetfulness, inability to schedule meetings (another one, really?) and my “Let’s wing it” attitude I sometimes like to throw her way. But I like to think we balance each other out. We really are a great team. Unless you have the privlidge to work closely with Audette, I think it could be difficult to fully understand how lucky we are to have such an involved minister. When attending conferences and webinars with colleagues in my same position, a very common complaint is they wish their minister was more involved with their program. They are tirelessly advocating for their children to be seen as part of the congregation and not just banished to the “RE Classrooms”. Reverend Audette not only values program, but lifts it up as a most essential part of our congregation. She does this on top her very long list of services she provides to ensure the health and functionality of this fine congregation. We are so lucky to have her. I love that lady. Give her a high-five and a big “Thank You” the next time you see her.

Shelley Reher: Our office manager is a magician. I don’t know how she manages all of the emails, phone calls, publicity, payroll…. the list goes on and on…. All the while smiling and willing to help me with any ridiculous request or question I (or anyone else for that matter) may have. It’s so nice to have her in the office for a chat when I need a five minute break or a good laugh. Thanks for keeping me on top of things, Shel. Like reminding me I’m a week and a half late turning in this Focus Letter… again.

Children’s Choir: This has been my favorite part of my added position of music director. I have always been involved in the Children’s music program at whatever church I was attending. I hadn’t attended a church for a couple of years before I started here at UUCC and I didn’t realize how much I missed singing with children until our first week of Children’s Choir when it all came flooding back. I love children’s eagerness and energy to lift up their voice in song, whether on key or completely off. It always amazes me how quickly they pick up on the different tunes, they soak it all up like sponges.

We have decided to change one thing about weeks of Children’s Choir. We will no longer holding a “feast” downstairs immediately after lessons. The children miss interacting with the congregation during coffee hour. I thought they would like to have their own little snack time together but turns out they really enjoy that time together with the entire congregation. I think that is wonderful and we are going to continue to support the multigenerational worship and interaction as much as possible. Here is a new outline of Children’s Choir Sunday’s:

When children are sung out of the sanctuary for classes on Sundays, parents please pick up your children from their classrooms immediately after the service at 11:30 and enjoy coffee hour snacks together. Ms. Marcie will make an announcement for all the children choir members to head downstairs at 12:00. Parents are asked to promptly pick up their children at the close of rehearsal at 12:30

For Multigenerational meetings, children will need to snack with their parents immediately after the service during coffee hour and Ms. Marcie will make an announcement for all the children choir members to head downstairs at 12:00. Parents are asked to promptly pick up their children at the close of rehearsal at 12:30

There will be no choir on weeks of Children’s Chapel (usually the first Sunday of the month)

Our Kiddo’s: I think I gush about them in every focus letter but honestly, they are the coolest kids. Whether it’s Adelaide squealing her praises mid service for our guest accordion aficionado (“HOORAY! You play real good accordion! You sing REAL good!”) Or all of the impromptu piano and voice solo’s or poetry recitations I’m privy to each and every Sunday (“Ms. Marcie, let me play my recital piece for you!”) my heart is always full after interacting with our children.

The Congregation: Sometimes I just like to sit back during service and marvel at all of the people that gather together at UUCC. All the diverse backgrounds and interests coming together to better our community. It’s a beautiful thing. We don’t agree on everything but we are all so supportive of one another. I cannot tell you how it makes my spirit soar when thanked for the work we are doing with the Faith Development Program. To hear praises from some of the most wonderful and inspiring people in the community is energizing. I am grateful to you all.

I have so many other people and experiences to be grateful here at UUCC but I do not want to make this too long. If you’re still with me, I appreciate you allowing me this “thanktimony”. I just wanted to let you all know how much I cherish this congregation. I am incredibly thankful my job and my spiritual home are one. I love this church and its people. Thank you for letting me be a part of your community.