Exciting News!

I’m excited to announce that this coming Sunday we will welcome a new childcare provider, Ms. Rachel Sitar.

Ms. Rachel has worked in childcare since 2014, is licensed in CPR, and is described by those who know her as calm and steady, even among the inevitable chaos of young children. She will spend most of her time with the Little Ones, but will also be available to help in Godly Play and Young Disciples as necessary. We look forward to Ms. Rachel’s assistance at PNOs and other extra-church events as well. So if you see a new face in the classroom, please take a moment to say hello and help Ms. Rachel feel welcome!

Thank you to all the parents and children who helped at our church work day! Things are looking spiffy, and I’m especially happy about the revamped Little Ones classroom, the “coloring” bench, and the rocking chair in the sanctuary. On a loosely related note, yesterday as I was clearing off the ushers' table, I found a Bible splattered with glitter glue. It was beautiful and summed up for me what it is about UCCA that I love so much. :) 

We have several events coming up, including:

March 24th March for Our Lives
March 29th Maundy Thursday Soup Dinner and Service of Footwashing
March 30th Service of the Seven Last Words at Asbury Methodist
March 31st The church will be open from 7am to 7pm for quiet reflection
April 1st     Easter!
                        Service at 8:15 and 10:30, communion at both
                        Pancake breakfast at 9am
                        Egg hunt at

Just so you Know:

March 18 lesson: CX and YD will focus on our covenantal relationship with God, studying Jeremiah 31:31-34. We will also have a belated St. Patrick’s Day class party, where we will learn who St. Patrick really was and what he did to serve his chosen community. Godly Play will continue its progression to the Mystery of Easter by hearing stories of Christ's life and his journey toward the cross and resurrection.

Hope to see you Sunday!



Out of the Darkness

Over the last two weeks, our hearts have been wrenched dry by news of Syria, Parkland, and more. Yet our kids enter into UCCA bright eyed and laughing, the joy of youth on their faces. Before long, their joy becomes mine, bringing me out of the darkness of the news cycle, the darkness of wondering why.

Not just why things happen, but why I can’t do more. Why I can’t make some calls, pull some strings, throw some Mama Magic in and make it all better. I have no doubt you feel the same. But we don’t have those kind of connections, and those who do won’t always use it.

How, you may be wondering, is this relevant to CE?

It’s because while we may not have connections, or strings, or magic enough to spare, we have ourselves. Our families. Our kids. We have the ability to love those things nearest to us, and to spread that love as far as our circle of influence allows. The funny thing is, that circle seems to grow bigger with each use, until suddenly we realize we do have a connection that can make one small thing happen. Maybe a safer policy on how visitors to schools are screened. Or an email to someone in power that garners more than a boilerplate response.

When we love, things happen. And the thing about kids is, when we love them, they get better at spreading love themselves. This is one of the reasons I enjoy being with kids so much: how we love them is how they’ll love others, and that is no small thing. Maybe we can’t pick up a phone and solve a national crisis, but it’s enormously important that we have those bright eyes and smiling faces to nurture in the way we wish the whole world would.

Because while it may not, we can and we do and we will. And with God’s good grace, that will make a difference. 

A Church that is Growing

Last Saturday, I watched as 13 UCCA kids laughed and fought and ate together while their parents went home and played Scrabble, had an actual conversation over dinner out, sat in a parked car eating potato chips, or went home and did the laundry.

On Sunday I saw these same kids again, drawing Valentine’s Day cards, learning Sunday School lessons, making pretend underwear out of paper bags, and doing even more laughing, fighting, and eating.

It was against this backdrop that I observed 2 UCCA teens listening intently to their teacher as she taught them about the transfiguration of Jesus. And another 2 teens sitting quietly in the sanctuary during the annual meeting, listening to the stories of our past year’s successes, as well as our hopeful plans for the future.

A mom from church—a friend—stopped by later in evening to drop off cards the Godly Play kids had made for those in need of a bit of good news in their mailbox. This friend-from-church had taken the cards home to stamp them with a special message and to write on them each child’s name. This was after she and her children had walked their neighborhood streets selling Easter candy—made in our tiny church kitchen, by an army of volunteers—to raise money for our older youth to go on a mission trip this summer.

I will see many of the faces of my Saturday and Sunday on Tuesday, as we come together to glut ourselves on youth-made pancakes and scrambled eggs, before entering the season of Lent on Wednesday, when we will once again come together and share in the burning and wearing of ashes.

As Irish so aptly put it yesterday, “this is our life.”

So while many say we are a growing church, I say instead we are a church that is growing.

Our pews are packed more tightly these days, of that there’s no doubt. But so too are our friendships, our shared commitments, our bonds forged through a shared love of Christ, hope for humanity, and struggle for justice.

Our youth share in one another’s birthdays, pray for each other’s sick cats, aging grandmothers, and dying friends. They squabble over (un)shared toys, who gets the sour candy versus the sweet, and cry when they are hurt by the words or hands of another

In other words, the kids we watch play and fight and create and learn on Sundays are doing so as family. As family they are free from the burden of Behaving in Public and can strip down to the bare bones of How They Act at Home.

Because they are.

Whether it’s crawling under the pews, rummaging through the kid-snack stash, or passing the peace in class, they have a church that is so much more than a building better populated now than it was a year or two ago: They have a church they can call home.

Sundays past and future

After yesterday, I think we can safely say that our youth programming is never boring!

If you weren’t there, you missed a lovely worship service with all but the youngest kids sitting in the front of the sanctuary, although I use the word “sitting” loosely! In actuality we had a lot of kids laying down and coloring; playing Rock, Paper, Scissors; or, as was the case for one child (okay, it was Aaron), trying to knock over the alter. Towards the end of service, the kids made their way to the Godly Play room for a nutritious snack (thank you, McGarrys!), followed by a penguin walk to fellowship hall.

Despite their early exit, the kids really were well behaved! They are always encouraged to stay in the sanctuary should they want to, especially for the first Sunday of the month, which is when we have communion. Our childcare volunteers are happy to sit in the front (or back) with them if the parents would prefer it. Just let me know!

This coming Sunday, Feb. 11, is Transfiguration Sunday. The mystery and wonder of the Transfiguration will make up the bulk of YD and CX lessons, while Godly Play will be learning about Lent and the mystery of Easter. Some of our youth will also be learning about who St. Valentine was, making Valentine’s Day cards to send to those who could use a boost and connection to community, and enjoying a small Valentine Day celebration so we can focus on the New Commandment: to love one another as Jesus has loved us.

Dates to remember:

Feb. 10 – Parents’ Night Out! Please get in your RSVPs!

Feb. 11 – annual meeting!

Feb. 18 – Our Lent bible study starts! We’ll be studying the book of Job, which happens to be one of my favorites. The study will be held every Sunday from Feb. 18 through March 25, starts at 9am, and childcare will be provided. I highly recommend it!

Hope to see you Sunday!


Small Steps ... Great Love

I can’t help it: I’ve not yet seen a baptism that hasn’t made me cry. Seeing Lydia and Sarah baptized brought me to tears (not the falling kind, just the prickly ones), and seeing the new members stretched out along the platform made my heart swell with possibility and gratitude! But then again, I’m kind of sappy.

Moving on … I’ve noticed that along with the dreary, droopy weather, some of our youngest members may have become dreary and droopy as well! No longer are they cavorting on the playground for hours after church while the parents drink coffee and fill up on the stories of one another’s lives. Nope, now we’re all stuck in doors, mostly sitting, and certainly not exerting the bundled-up energy of childhood. So what can be done so that our kiddos enjoy their time at our not-so-staid-but-still-not-a-playground place of worship? Send me a text or email to let me know, and we (the teachers) will do our best to make sure that the spring and summertime desire to get to church can still exist among the rain, slush, and cold. Because let’s face it: church is important for the lessons learned and spiritual growth gained, but it is also God’s gift to us of community and hospitality and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to socialize a bit with our church family and worship through the movement of our limbs and lungs.

What to add some nutritious energy-units to the kids on Sundays? Sign up here to bring fresh fruit.

Want your kiddo(s) to attend the Feb. 10th PNO? RSVP here.

We’re entering the season of Lent, so you may want to start talking to your kids/youth about what that means, and what they may want to give up for a bit. Rachel once forswore sprinkles (the cake decoration kind). I wasn’t so sure of that one, but after a brief internal struggle, I decided I was just glad that she was thinking about Lent at all. Parenting is a lot of small steps and internal struggles, I think. I’m so very glad that I can share in those steps and struggles with all of you!

See you Sunday,




Elephant Snot, Fish Out of Water, Star Wars, Lost Sheep, and Infomercials: All in a Day's Work

This last Sunday was a lot of fun! Our guest pastor, Pastor Sara from Joy Reigns, gave a rousing children’s sermon full of elephant snot, Godly Play learned the Parable of the Good Shepard from Cathy and Elizabeth, and Edwin got lots of one-on-one attention from Erine and Tracy as he was the only one in the Little Ones class! In Young Disciples, we read aloud from the book of Mark. We talked about why in the world Simon and Andrew chose to drop their nets (and livelihood!) to follow Jesus, a guy they’d never met before. To that end, the kids made up and acted out commercials trying to “sell” viewers on Jesus. These commercials involved Pastor Sara’s son Nicholas flopping like a fish on the floor, Aaron informing us mid-commercial that he had popcorn in his teeth, and half the class singing the Gummy Bear song while the other half put their hands over their ears and tried to make the song go away. My favorite part, however, was the “ohhhhh” of understanding the kids made when we used Star Wars as an analogy for the day’s lesson.

This coming Sunday, Cathy will teach the Godly Play kids the Parable of the Sower, while both the Young Disciples (Anne) and CX (Irish) will have a rousing discussion of Psalm 111.

Some housekeeping:

If you’re interested in volunteering for a Sunday shift (greeter, usher, communion prep, fellowship, cleaning up, etc.), you can do so here, or just get in touch with Andy to let him know.

And if you want to bring a snack for the kids some Sunday, please email me with a date that works for you.

And don’t forget that Feb. 10 is a Parents’ Night Out! I need RSVPs by Feb. 7 if possible (but really, it’s okay to RSVP late if you must … I certainly know how things can change last minute!).

Hope to see you Sunday!


Chair of Christian Education

Welcome to 2018!

Believe it or not, this Sunday will take us into week four of the new year. It seems like we’ve been on break since Thanksgiving given an abundance of snow and sick days, but maybe week four will bring us back into the fold of routine.

Of course, with routine comes things like paperwork and annual meetings. :) If you haven’t received the youth registration and medical waiver forms to fill out and (preferably) return to me by the end of January, please let me know and I’ll email them your way! I can also bring hardcopies to church if that’s your preference. And if you’re interested in volunteering with the kids, there’s a form for that as well.

UCCA will hold its annual meeting February 11th, and I highly recommend attending! There’s a lot of moving and shaking going on at our small but mighty church, and the annual meeting is a great time to get caught up on it all as well as ask questions about the mission, vision, and finances of UCCA, among other things.

Christian Ed is gearing up for some great service projects, PNOs, and mission opportunities for 2018. More information on those things will come your way in the near future. In the meantime, I hope to see you and your kids this Sunday!




Giving our gifts

What a wonderful performance the kids put on last Sunday! And Mark K., Cathy S., and Kathleen O., too, of course! There wouldn’t have been a performance without the three of them.

I got tears in my eyes in the last few moments of the performance as Mark asked us all to come and give our gifts. The children on the platform … those are our greatest gifts, and to see them standing there around the homemade nativity scene made up of stuffed animals and Rachel’s egg carton-turned-manager and all the other brought-from-home representations of the night of Christ’s birth … well, it was almost more than I could bear! Norman Rockwell would be put to shame.

So thank you, parents, for the gift of your children. And to those who put on the performance (I had nothing to do with it!), thank you for the gifts of your time and your talents. We are grateful.

After their special show, the kids were a bit too excited to sit in church. All ages got together in fellowship hall to make ornaments from pipe cleaners and bells and color Christmas pictures donated by Ms. Tracy. The kids apparently held a contest to see whose ornament was the best, but Cathy and I could only say that they were all winners! I will note, however, that Daniel J. (who has a age advantage over the kids given that he's 17!) is a wonderful artisan and made some very worthy-of-showcasing ornaments! 

The kids also received small gifts to take home with them. As the magi showed us with their offerings to Jesus, there's just something about answering one gift with another, even if one pales in comparison.

On a different note, there's a new swing on the playground! We're looking for parent input about it, so please let me (or John P.) know what you think about its safety, fun factor, etc. (And FYI: the plan is to center it in the future so it isn't so close to the poles).

That's it for now. Hope to see you Sunday!


Sunday in review, plus Advent, Week #1

In case you didn’t already know it, let me tell you: Mahdi REALLY likes to do push-ups. And he’s also really good at them!

How do I know this, you ask? Well, because in Sunday School we played “The Good Shepard Says,” which is just like Simon Says except, well, it’s the Good Shepard. The commands were most commonly to jump and down and to dance. But regardless of the command, Mahdi just did push-ups. Totally Jack-Palance impressive.

There was also a command to pick one’s nose, but only one kiddo fell for that one, and I’m not going to tell you which one. I will say neither of my kids were at church, so don’t look at them!

Per our usual, we did some dancing, but this time it was to Jingle Bell Rocks and Kidz Bop Christmas. I learned that there are no circumstances under which Mira will dance, but Sienna has some awesome moves, including one called the Banana Peel. Who knew?

The kids did do some learning as well, namely about the parable of the sheep and goats, in which Jesus teaches us that what we do for the least of these, we do for Him. This is a super important message, and I hope I was able to articulate it well in class. You might want to ask your child(ren) about it and clear up any lingering questions. This is one lesson I don’t want them to walk away from confused or empty-handed!

This coming Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. I don’t know about you, but I really dislike missing Advent Sundays. It’s such a wonderful thing, the eager anticipation of Christ. Seeing the candles lit each week as we work our way closer to His impending birth is powerful stuff! This Sunday is also our first Sunday intergenerational service, so only the Little Ones and Godly Play will meet. That said, I really hope the older kids/youth can make it to join with the adults in communion.

Here are some dates for your calendar. There are quite a few of them in this season of Advent, and all are well worth the time!

Dec. 2 — Advent Festival
Dec. 3 — Hanging of the Greens
Dec. 9 —  PNO/Kids’ Christmas Party (don't forget to RSVP!)
Dec. 10 — Kids’ Christmas performance during service
Dec. 12 — Charrette follow-up meeting (childcare provided)
Dec. 15 — Winter Relief
Dec. 16 — Winter Relief
Dec. 24 — Christingle

Hope to see you Sunday!


Sunday in Review (plus Advent at UCCA!)

OK, I know say it a lot, but this last Sunday was truly amazing. There were even guinea pigs for the kids to see, thanks to Ms. Anne! And of course the Thanksgiving Feast was fantastic, as was hanging out inside the warmth of fellowship hall while the gazillion-mile-per-hour wind threatened to blow the church away!

I was given the opportunity to lead the youth class for the first time since it started meeting, and rather than do a lesson, we sat around and chatted. I got caught up on the kids’ lives—it’s been a while since we’ve really talked!—discussed our Thanksgiving plans, and set forth a vision for UCCA CX youth (13+) in 2018. We have a game plan, and lots of bold ideas, but we also have an agreement with one another that if they (or we) are too busy with sports and school and clubs and life in general and the meetings and bold ideas don’t pan out, that’s fine. All we can do is try! I’m glad we trust and understand one another enough to put that out there rather than make false promises. That’s what living in community is all about! Understanding, and being understood.

Moving on to Save the Dates …. December is a very busy month at UCCA! We have some amazing events planned:

Dec. 2 — Advent Festival

Dec. 3 — Hanging of the Greens

Dec. 9 —  PNO/Kids’ Christmas Party (don't to get to RSVP!)

Dec. 10 — Kids’ Christmas performance

Dec. 12 — Charrette follow-up meeting (childcare provided)

Dec. 15 — Winter Relief

Dec. 16 — Winter Relief

Dec. 24 — Christingle

These are all great events, and I hope to see you at each and every one!

See you Sunday,




Veterans Day and our Youth

In 1918, at 1100 hours on the 11th day of the eleventh month, hostilities between nations fighting World War I ceased. It was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”. At the commemoration of its first anniversary in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day as Armistice Day and it was officially made a federal holiday by Congress in 1926: “Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations;”

After another World War and a short while after the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the 11th of November, instead, to be Veterans Day, as a celebration and thank you to all the men and women who served in the Armed Forces. 

As one of those veterans, I am very humbled when someone says, “Thank you for your service.” My immediate response is to awkwardly thank them for thanking me. My second thought is, “I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into at the young age of 18... so does that still count?” What I do remember (of the good times) revolves around people. Living on a ship for several months at a time brings plenty of opportunities to talk, if only to stay awake. We talked about our families, what we wanted to see during the next port call, and what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives. Spending hour on end with one another meant that you got to know the hopes, dreams, and motivations of each person. This is very similar to how I imagine a church should be like. We take time to get to know each other as we worship and work together. 

Over the past couple of weeks, our youth met with veterans to talk about their service in the armed forces. We met before, during, and after Sunday’s service. During Fellowship, several of the youth told the gathered congregation about what they learned during their conversations. We heard stories about getting through boot camp, going overseas to put out oil fires, going surfing on the West coast of Africa, and intercepting coded communications! There were many more stories to share then time permitted. I hope the youth and veterans that were not able to meet before Veterans Day get a chance to meet in the upcoming weeks. And for those that have more questions, to ask for a follow-up meeting. From generation to generation, we learn through telling and listening to stories. I hope this inter-generational Veterans Day Project is the beginning of a conversation that will help facilitate many more.

Thank you to our Veterans for your service to our nation and for your continued service in our church.

Irish Sirmons

Past, present, and future

Wow, did we have a Halloween party on Sunday! Twenty-one kids, homemade slime, scratch-off sheets, the best homemade cookies I’ve ever had (thanks, Michelle!) … really, it was a blast. Monica, Cathy, Michelle, Elizabeth, and Melissa did a great job keeping the slime craft moving along, and I have to say that the rendition of 5 Little Pumpkins that Michelle and I performed was really quite impressive. J  

Despite how much fun we had, Edwin seemed set on escaping Caton Hall, perhaps due to the lack of a car ramp, and Elias was shocked when the party ended without a single party game being played. I think perhaps he had envisioned a costumed version of Twister, which kind of does sound fun. Maybe next year!

Speaking of costumes, the kids took turns showing off theirs and telling us their Halloween plans; hopefully those plans were well executed last night and everyone came home safe, happy, and with lots of candy.

This coming Sunday our Little Ones and Godly Play students will meet, but Young Disciples and CX will be in the sanctuary for our intergenerational service with communion.

Don’t forget our upcoming PNO on the 18th! I haven’t received any RSVPs yet, which I need to make sure that there’s enough demand to keep the PNO on the November calendar.

In case you’re wondering … Ms. Tracy is healing up nicely, but is still on bed rest following her hip replacement surgery. She’s rocking physical therapy, though, and will be up and around in no time. Please hold her and her family in your prayers, and if you’d like to take her a meal or send her a meal via delivery, you can sign up here.  

See you Sunday!


This Little Light of Mine

It was a treat to have N and Y’s kids in Sunday School yesterday. We had a lot of fun talking about how those around us shine in special ways, and how we can shine in return. And then take all that shine out into the world!

Ms. Anne taught our Godly Play class as Ms. Michelle was in Ohio; Aaron said it was a great class and that Ms. Anne treated them all to mini-pumpkins. Thanks, Anne, for filling in!

Ms. Tracy had her last day in the Little Ones class until December, when she’ll be all healed up from her hip surgery. She was teary at the end of the day, knowing it would be a month before she’d be back. Please keep her and her family in your prayers, and keep an eye out for a Meal Train to hit your inbox as she’ll need some help over the next few months.

One of our youth, Melissa, turned THIRTEEN yesterday, believe it or not. Sooner or later we’re going to have a whole slew of pre-teens and teenagers, which isn’t something I like to spend too much time thinking about!  

The upcoming weeks hold a lot of activities for UCCA youth and adults alike, beginning with this Wednesday’s Living the Questions at 9:30am, then Thursday’s charrette planning session at 6:30pm at the Elks Lodge right across from the church. Childcare will be provided!

Other dates include:

Oct. 29th – all-youth Halloween party, as well as the 500th anniversary celebration of the Reformation. Come in costume!

November 10th, 11th, or 12th we will have a Veteran’s Day project. This is still in the works so watch your email for more information.

November 18th – Parents’ Night Out from 5pm to 8pm, Caton Hall, dinner provided. RSVP to Jamie.

I hope your kiddos remember to let their lights shine out into the world this week!

See you Sunday (in costume?),




CE Updates and Save the Dates

Not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but UCCA is bursting at the seams with kids these days! (This is especially noticeable when, say, Aaron and Rachel are cursing each other with wands during the Children’s Sermon.)

All of our wonderful teachers have been raving about how classes are going! Our new youth class is especially off to a strong start, so much so in fact that we’re adding in additional class time. If your pre-teen or teen is in the youth class, keep an eye on the weekly updates and/or church calendar for when classes will be held.

And, of course, we’ve added Ms. Jolyn to our Little One’s rotation. She is AMAZING! If you haven’t met her yet you’ll have plenty of chances in November, when she’ll be around every Sunday while Ms. Tracy is out due to hip surgery.

Dates to remember:

October 22nd – parents should plan to stick around for a potluck celebration of the Yasir family during fellowship hour, and then a church visioning session. We want to hear your vision for UCCA! Childcare will be provided.

October 26th – We will hold a church expansion charrette at the Elks Lodge. Childcare will be provided.

Oct. 29th – all-youth Halloween party, as well as the 500th anniversary celebration of the Reformation. Come in costume!

November 10th, 11th, or 12th we will have a Veteran’s Day project. This is still in the works so watch your email for more information.

November 18th – Parents’ Night Out from 5pm to 8pm, Caton Hall, dinner provided. RSVP to Jamie.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you Sunday!






Off and Running! (plus Save the Dates and Sign Ups!)

Sunday School has gotten off to an awesome start! The kids have huddled around a watermelon “campfire”; (hopefully) learned the power of forgiveness, even for their siblings; taken a garden tour; written Haikus; and created homemade invitations to distribute for our Family Fun day on October 7th.  And we’ve only met twice!!

Our new youth class has met once, and from the description Irish gave me, the class couldn’t have gone better. We have such inquisitive and intelligent youth in our midst! I’m grateful to have them, and grateful for those who meet with them every 2nd and 4th Sunday to talk about matters of faith. If you’re interested in being one of those people, you can sign up here.

Ms. Tracy is back in our Little Ones class along with Erine and Khorey. This last Sunday Khorey and I attempted to teach the kids the motions to Father Abraham, and I began teaching them how to sign “Jesus Loves Me.” While Cove and Floyd looked at us like we were nuts and Edwin wore a look of vague amusement, they were definitely listening and even dancing along with the music! In the words of Floyd, “Yep, more.” Indeed!

Our first PNO was also a great success, with 12 kids in attendance. They enjoyed pizza and made crafts, and in general ran amok (in a good way).

In other news, this Sunday is intergenerational Sunday. Godly Play and Little Ones will meet as usual, but there will not be a Young Disciples class. You can find out more about the power of our intergenerational service of communion here.

Interested in providing snacks for the kiddos on Sundays? Sign up here!

Upcoming events: Family Fun day is on October 7th at Hillsmere beach, 11am setup, 12pm start. For more information on Family Fun day, contact Lora or Kathy M.

Also on October 7th is the annual Blessing of the Pets, which begins at 10am at the church. Bring your pet(s) for a laying on of hands that’s super cute and slightly smelly.

October 14th is our next PNO, 5-8 at the church. RSVP directly to Jamie, please!

October 29th we’ll have a joint Halloween/Reformation celebration, so perhaps come dressed as a 16th-century theologian?

Hope to see you Sunday, and happy fall!


Chair of Christian Ed


Welcome back!

This Saturday, 9/16, we will have our first PNO of the new church year! Same as before - Caton Hall, dinner provided, 5pm - 8pm, staffed by Khorey and Erine. All ages are welcome, and a swing and Pack-n-Play are available for infants. If children under 2 will be in attendance, let me know so I can add in a third childcare provider. Please send me your RSVPs by Wednesday, 9/13.

This Sunday we'll be back to our regular Sunday School schedule, but with some changes:

Nursery is ages 0-3, drop off begins at 10:20. (This week's teachers are Erine and Tracy. Yes, Ms. Tracy is back!)

Godly Play is 4-6. Kids will begin in the sanctuary sitting with their teacher, then dismiss to classroom after the Children's Sermon. Kids should bring a small offering and their Bibles. If you need a Bible for your child, please let me know! (This week's teachers are Michelle and TA Melissa) 

Young Disciples is 7-11. Kids will begin in the sanctuary with their parents, then dismiss to the classroom after the Children's Sermon. Kids should bring a small offering and their Bibles. If you need a Bible for your child, please let me know! (This week's teachers are Jamie and TA Hannah)

The older youths' class is 12+, and will meet in the Butterfly Room on 2nd and 4th Sundays. They will begin in the sanctuary then dismiss to the classroom after the Children's Sermon. (Does not meet this week; next week will be led by Irish.)

All children are to remain in their classrooms until picked up by a parent.

Please consider signing up to bring a snack every once in a while for our kids to enjoy during class. At least one gluten-free snack and dairy-free snack should be provided; preferably these would be on par with the "regular" snacks. (i.e., if we have cookies for kids without allergies, we don't want carrot sticks for the kids with allergies, as this isn't "fair" in their estimation.)

Here is a link to sign up to bring snacks:


Thanks, and I'll see you Sunday!

Volcanoes, Save-the-Dates, and Lots of Sign-up Geniuses!

The kids had an awesome time learning about volcanoes from Jake and Lora Bleacher this last Sunday! I took some pictures that I’m sure will end up on the church FB page, so be sure to check that out later this week. The Blessing of the Backpacks was also a very special time, and the kids seemed to love the tags given to them by Pastor Ryan to hang on their backpacks. If you didn’t get a tag let me know and I will get you one!

 Jake B taught how volcanoes work and what they do with the older children.

Jake B taught how volcanoes work and what they do with the older children.

This coming Sunday, September 3rd, we will have our intergenerational service. Youth 6 and over will remain in the sanctuary. Childcare will be provided for those 6 and under in the Little Ones classroom. (ICYMI, you can find the blog post on the special nature of our intergenerational Sundays here.)

As we get closer to the start of Sunday School, please consider signing up to bring snacks for the youth on occasion. You can find the Sign-up Genius here.

Dates to remember:

September 10th we will have an end-of-summer party during the Sunday School hour.

September 16th will be our first PNO of the fall, 5pm-8pm, Caton Hall. Send RSVPs to Jamie no later than September 12th, please!

September 17th our new Sunday School year will begin!

Here’s a reminder of how the 2017-2018 Sunday School year will be structured:

This year the classrooms will be grouped into the following age ranges and locations:

Little Ones: 0-3, will meet in the nursery each week. Drop off begins at 10:20. Infants are welcome. The Bishop family has supplied the church with a playpen and infant swing—thank you, Nathan and Michelle!

Godly Play: 4-6, will meet in the Godly Play room after the Children’s Sermon each week. Prior to the Children’s Sermon they will sit in the sanctuary with their teacher. (Teachers are Cathy S. and Michelle B.)

Young Disciples: 7-10, will meet in Caton Hall after the Children’s Sermon all Sunday’s but Communion Sunday, which is held the first Sunday of each month. (Teachers are Jamie C-H. and Anne E.)

NEW CLASS, CX Youth: 11-up, will meet in the Butterfly Room every 2nd and 4th Sunday after the Children’s Sermon. They will walk to the Butterfly Room with their teacher. (Teachers are Monica R-W. and Irish S. If you are interested in volunteering to teach, please let me know ASAP. You can find the calendar for signing up to teach here.)

All children are to remain in their classrooms until picked up by a parent.

There will be a Children’s Sermon each week for the children to enjoy. I hope this makes them feel an integral part of each Sunday’s worship time!

October 7th Blessing of the Pets. Bring your pets to the church for a special blessing from Pastor Ryan! (10am-11am).

Also on October 7th we will have a special day of fun at the beach with some of the families we’ve gotten to know over the last year, such as the Abed and Morales families. More information to come, but mark your calendars now! (12pm-4pm, Hillsmere Beach)

Hope to see you Sunday!


The Most Important CE Blog You'll Read All Year!

Our Summer Fun classrooms are going wonderfully! There’s only one left, which will be led by Jake and Lora on August 27th. This coming Sunday, August 20th, the nursery will be open but there is no program planned for the older children. They will remain with their parents in the sanctuary.

Also on August 27th we will have our annual Blessing of the Backpacks as a send-off for the new school year! Children should bring their backpacks to church with them and to the front of the sanctuary during the Children’s Sermon.

September 10th we will have an end-of-summer party during the Sunday School hour, and on September 17th our new Sunday School year will begin!

This year the classrooms will be grouped into the following ages and locations:

Little Ones: 0-3, will meet in the nursery each week. Drop off begins at 10:20.

Godly Play: 4-6, will meet in the Godly Play room after the Children’s Sermon each week. Prior to the Children’s Sermon they will sit in the sanctuary with their teacher. (Teachers are Cathy S. and Michelle B.)

Young Disciples: 7-10, will meet in Caton Hall after the Children’s Sermon all Sunday’s but Communion Sunday, which is held the first Sunday of each month. (Teachers are Jamie CH and Anne E.)

NEW CLASS, CX Youth: 11-up, will meet in the Butterfly Room every 2nd and 4th Sunday after the Children’s Sermon. They will walk to the Butterfly Room with their teacher. (Teachers are Monica RW and Irish S. If you are interested in volunteering to teach, please let me know ASAP).

**All children are to remain in their classrooms until picked up by a parent.**

There will be a Children’s Sermon each week for the children to enjoy. I hope this makes them feel an integral part of each Sunday’s worship time!

Please let me know if you have any questions about our upcoming “semester.” I can’t wait to get started!


Chair of Christian Ed


First Sundays – A Special Time of Worship!

Hi all,

Please join us this Sunday for our once-a-month intergenerational service as all ages join together in the sanctuary for a child- and adult-friendly service during which we will take communion together as the Body of Christ.

Communion has become a rote practice for many, as the significance of the act is lost to the mundanity of the routine. But we want our youth to know just how important this act is! So, if you have a moment to explain communion to your child(ren) prior to our First Sunday Intergenerational Service days, that would be great! A simple way to explain Communion to a young child could look something like this:

Taking communion goes all the way back to the earliest days of the church. In fact, it was Jesus Himself who began the tradition of communion. Right before He was crucified, He had a meal with His disciples, known as the Last Supper. Jesus knew He wouldn’t be with His disciples much longer, and so He made a point of giving part of Himself to them so that they could remember Him. 

The Bible says this is how it happened: “And Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” 

From that time on, communion became a super important part of Christian worship. In the early days of the church, it wasn’t always easy to take communion or even to go to church at all, as not everyone wanted people to worship Jesus. But those who loved Jesus took communion anyway, even if they got in trouble for it, because they knew how amazing a thing it was to receive His gifts, and to do so together in community. Jesus did not intend for us to take communion alone, but instead to do so side-by-side with others, just as His disciples at the Last Supper did. Just as we take special meals together such as at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we are to take this most special of “meals” together as a whole church! So being in the church with the grown-ups for this time is really important and special!

Hope to see you and your little ones this Sunday for our time of Communion and worship!

Outcomes of Parent Meeting and Praying With Our Feet

On Wednesday evening, UCCA parents came together to eat pizza and discuss the upcoming fall season of Sunday School. As a team, those gathered decided UCCA youth would be best served by altering the current age and classroom breakdown:

Little Ones: 1–3

Godly Play: 4–6

Young Disciples: 7–10

TBD Youth Classroom: 11–13

I’m especially excited by the creation of the 11–13 classroom. That class will meet every second and third week, and we already have a handful of people eager to volunteer in the classroom!

Other topics discussed included the Children’s Sermon, creating a regular acolyte rotation, field trips, mission projects, and more!

This Sunday Suzie R. and Rick D. will lead the kids in the Summer Fun session, Praying with Your Feet. I think the kids will really enjoy this one!

Looking Ahead

Interested in bringing snacks for the kids one Sunday this fall? Sign up here.

Sign-ups for fellowship hour food, set-up, or clean-up can be found here.

The first PNO of the fall season will be on September 16th! You can RSVP here.

The first Sunday School class of the fall season is September 17th, which is also the day of our annual picnic. Mark your calendars!

See you Sunday,

Chair of Christian Education